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Can I travel if I’ve got asthma?

Can I travel if I’ve got asthma?
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Take steps to travel safely when you have asthma

When you are living with the respiratory condition asthma travel abroad might seem like an adventure too far – even if your asthma is well managed. But most asthma experts encourage people to manage their condition so they can enjoy everything life has to offer. So do your research and prepare well – and get ready to enjoy your travels.

Planning for a trip abroad when you have asthma

We recommend researching your chosen destination thoroughly to see if you are likely to be exposed to conditions that might trigger your asthma. Look for information like pollen counts, pollution levels, dust levels from unpaved streets and average temperatures to get an idea of what you might face at your destination.

There may be some triggers that are hard to avoid. For example, travelling can be stressful, and you may suffer from interrupted sleep. And you should plan for exposure to new unpredictable, triggers too.

When you come for your travel health appointment with Canadian Travel Clinics, be sure to let your adviser know that you have a respiratory condition. It might be a good idea to show them your asthma action plan. They can then tailor the advice they give you.

You should also consult with your normal asthma care provider and let them know about your travel plans and what triggers you might face at your destination. They can make recommendations on avoiding or reducing the impact of these triggers. Altitude may worsen your symptoms, and you should be prepared for this. Make sure your care plan is fully up to date. And ask your care provider for a letter with instructions for treating you in an emergency.

Another useful thing to research is how you will get help in an emergency. Note the addresses and contact details of healthcare centres and pharmacies. And brief your travelling companions about how to help you if your asthma worsens.

Travel insurance when you have asthma

Travel insurance is crucial when you have asthma. Your provincial or state health insurance may not cover you when you are abroad and medical care may be very expensive in other countries. Start shopping around for travel insurance well before you leave. We’ve got some general advice about travel insurance to help you with this.

Accommodation and transport for asthma patients

As an asthma patient you will want to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke, and this may mean that you can’t use public transport at your destination. In the developing world you may find that people bring animals like pigs and chickens on to buses. So consider taking taxis or hiring a car instead.

Ask for rooms that are smoke-free, and that are away from the swimming pool and hot tub if mould is a trigger for your asthma. You may also want to check that the hotel is pet-free, too.

Packing for a trip abroad when you have asthma

Work out how much medication you will need for your entire trip, and add a few extra days. Don’t assume you will be able to get your normal drugs at your destination. Meds should be carried in their original packaging, and it may help to have a letter from your normal care provider listing what drugs you have. You should also bring your asthma action plan.

We recommend packing a set of your asthma meds and equipment in your hand luggage so that you have it with you. You should also pack a set of medication in your checked-in baggage, too.

If you normally carry things like medication, a medalert bracelet and a letter with instructions for emergencies, you should carry them while you travel, too.

What happens if my asthma flares up while I’m travelling?

As an expert in your condition, you’ll already know what to do if your asthma gets worse, and you should take your normal first aid steps. Let those travelling with you know if you are becoming unwell and tell them what you need. This may include seeking medical help at a hospital or health centre.

Should I cancel my trip if my asthma worsens?

Experts recommend not travelling if your asthma is unstable. If your normal methods of asthma control are not working, then you should consider postponing your trip. We recommend talking this decision over with your usual healthcare provider. Or get advice from Asthma Canada, which has a helpline.

I’m looking for a travel clinic in Toronto

Look no further than Canadian Travel Clinics if you need travel vaccinations in Toronto. We can offer evening and early morning appointments for your convenience. Book online now.