Your holidays are a time to rest, explore and enjoy. Our tips for travelling with asthma will help you get the most out of your trip, whether you will be relaxing on a beach or exploring a foreign culture.
How will travel affect my asthma?
Whether your asthma needs to be a major factor in your holiday planning depends on the severity of your condition. It also depends on what triggers your asthma symptoms. Some people with asthma find that their condition improves during their holidays, others may notice that it gets worse. Picking the best location for your break will help you avoid unpleasant symptoms during your trip.
If you find that you experience asthma symptoms when the air quality is poor or you are exposed to pollution, certain cities (especially in the Far East) may not be suitable holiday destinations. You may find it helpful to discuss your holidays with your asthma nurse before you make a booking.
Things to consider:
- Pollution - what is the air quality at your destination?
- What are the ozone levels?
- Temperature and weather conditions - will heat or humidity make your asthma worse?
Your GP or nurse can help you choose the holidays that are best for you.
If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, you will also need to think about your accommodation. When you research hotels or B&B's you may find it helpful to consider these questions:
- Will I have to walk a lot to get to the nearest town / the pool / the sea?
- Will I have to take the stairs to reach my bedroom or the dining room?
- Is the hotel located on a hill?
Find out as much as you can about your destination and your accommodation, so you know how to get around when you arrive.
Before You Travel
With a little preparation beforehand, you can ensure that your holidays will be the stress-free break they should be. Before you leave, you should arrange to see your GP or asthma nurse for a check-up. This way, you can feel confident that your condition is controlled and you won’t need a change of your medication while abroad. If your asthma is very severe, you may need your GP or nurse to confirm that you are fit to fly.
It is a good idea to take:
- contact details of your GP
- your medical history translated into the language spoken at your travel destination
- a written list of all medications you take
- contact details of a doctor at your holiday destination
As usual, you will need to take your medication while you’re away. It is best to take two inhalers of each kind and take them in separate bags - just in case your luggage gets lost or delayed. This way, you will never be without your inhaler. The same goes for other essential medications, such as your tablets (if you take any).
Some countries have strict rules about importing medication. Check whether you will be able to enter the country with your medication to avoid unnecessary stress. In some cases, you may need to take your prescriptions with you to confirm that the medications you carry are for your own use
If you need an additional inhaler, visit our online doctor service for an easy way to order your asthma medication online.
Taking a nebuliser
If you are taking a nebuliser with you, you will need to check the rules of your airline. Some airlines only permit battery-operated nebulisers to be used on board. Don’t forget that the sockets at your destination may be different - you may need a travel adaptor to connect your nebuliser to the mains when you arrive.
If you need any vaccines before you travel, let your travel nurse know that you suffer from asthma. Make sure you mention if you have recently taken steroids tablets to treat your condition. Asthma does not usually pose a problem with regards to travel vaccines or malaria prevention.
For more information about travelling with asthma, contact the Asthma UK helpline on 0800 121 62 44 (the line is open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). You may also find it helpful to take this number with you, in case you have any questions while you are abroad.