The National Asthma Council Australia has a checklist of tips for would-be asthmatic travellers. These include:
- Make sure you have enough medication for your whole trip.
- Continue taking all your medication, especially preventer medication.
- Divide your asthma medication between your hand luggage and your suitcase, just in case one gets lost.
- Get your pharmacist or doctor to check your inhaler use.
- Take a peak flow meter to monitor the control of your asthma.
- Know where and how to get help in an emergency.
- If camping, be aware that cold air and wood fires may trigger asthma.
- If staying with friends, be aware of your asthma triggers, like cat allergens. Also, dust mite numbers are often higher in coastal areas or humid environments.
- Plan your trip so that you are not rushing and you have plenty of time with each departure.
- Exercise regularly and have plenty of rest.
As Australia heads into warmer weather and the school holiday season, many people are already making plans to travel with friends and family.
If you have asthma and are planning to travel, have a chat with your doctor about your travel plans, two to three weeks in advance. Depending on where you're holidaying, access to asthma treatment may be difficult, so make sure you are prepared, no matter what the circumstance.
Firstly, your doctor will be able to review your written Asthma Action Plan and if necessary, adjust it for your holiday plans. For those without a plan, what better time to get one from your GP! The Asthma Action Plan is a written plan of instructions that helps you recognise if your asthma is getting worse, and what action to take. Having such a plan will give you peace of mind because you know what to do in the event of an asthma attack. This is especially important for families and parents of children with asthma.
People spend a lot of time planning their holidays - selecting their location, getting tickets if necessary, packing the right clothes and everyone remembers to take sunscreen. In fact, people travelling overseas also make sure they have the right vaccinations.
However, people with asthma also need to think about how they will manage their condition while they're on holiday. Knowing what to do can make sure your asthma does not 'interrupt' your holiday. The last thing you want is to spend your holiday in a hospital! It is important to take enough asthma medications with you and make sure these are always accessible.
It is important to get a letter from a doctor listing the medications being taken and why. This information would be useful for an emergency and if travelling overseas, for customs.
For more information about asthma in general or hardcopies of the Holiday Checklist, First Aid For Asthma fridge magnet or Good Asthma Management for Everyone brochure, contact the National Asthma Council on 1800 032 495.
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