Holidays and Travel with Asthma

Planning a trip or going on holiday is something that is not straight forward for somebody who suffers from any chronic illness, especially asthma. It is almost impossible to plan too far ahead with any confidence or certainty that you will be fit and healthy when the time comes. When planning trips and holidays I always try not to plan too far ahead and I always try to consider a number of things before planning a trip or holiday.

My asthma is usually a lot worse during the winter months and so I very rarely plan too many trips between November and February. If I have to book anywhere in advance I always try to book something that is cancellable / re-fundable even if this means paying a little bit extra. Obviously if I am planning a holiday I always consider what the weather / climate will be like while I am there and the terrain, for example a hilly or mountainous region may cause issues. Most of it is common sense really but there are a number of bullet points that you should always remember:

  • Insurance – if you are taking out travel insurance (eg for a holiday abroad), always remember to check your insurance and that you are covered for pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Always ensure that you have your reliever medication close by at all times, i.e in your hand luggage, not in your suitcase.
  • Always make sure that you take extra medication with you, just in case you are away for longer than expected. This includes taking spare inhalers. Where possible carry medication in its original packaging with labels or with a copy of your prescription to avoid any potential issues at airports etc.
  • Check how far the nearest hospital or medical centre is from where you are staying.
  • If travelling in Europe always carry your European Health Insurance Card.
  • Speak to your respiratory team prior to travel.
  • Carry your Asthma Action Plan and emergency contact details with you.
  • If you are flying and on oxygen, check with the airline first.
  • If you are unwell, don’t travel!

There is no reason why anybody with asthma can’t travel and enjoy a holiday. There are additional things to check and consider compared to a fit and healthy appointment but if you want to travel and are in good health then do it, don’t worry too much about things like a plane journey or a long car journey, just plan ahead, take precautions and be sensible.

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