Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” He wasn’t wrong, because the act of travel not only provides you with unique experiences, but it profoundly changes your perspectives on the world. By having a pint with the locals in a small Scottish town, feeling the sand between your toes in Tahiti, or watching a magnificent sunrise in Kenya, you’ll have experiences that cannot be replicated through TV or the internet. But how does asthma change all that?
The answer is, it doesn’t necessarily have to. It’s true, traveling with asthma can be somewhat challenging. Some people are afflicted with a more severe version and run a very real risk of being hospitalized if triggered. Others only have a mild condition and are triggered by something specific, such as hay fever. Regardless of where you fall on the asthma spectrum, you can still travel, you just need to take a few sensible precautions. Grab your map and medications, and we’ll share a few handy travel tips.
- You probably take your inhaler everywhere you go, and there’s no reason to change that habit while you’re on holiday. Be sure to have it with you wherever you go, since the last thing you need is to have an attack and have no medication. A wise move is to pack a couple of spares, and put them in your handheld luggage and your checked luggage. For air travel, you may need to pack your inhaler in a see-through plastic bag when you go through the airport security checkpoint.
- Before you leave, make an appointment with your doctor. You want to get checked out and get the thumbs up that you’re healthy enough for travel. If you have an asthma specialist, it’s worth your while to make an appointment with them as well. Your doctor can also write you a prescription refill if needed.
- Speaking of prescriptions, be sure to take them with you. If they are stolen, you run out, or simply lose them, it will be far easier to get a refill or replacement. According to the TSA, you can bring unlimited amounts of medicines in solid form, as long as it’s screened. If you have liquid meds, they are allowed “in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight.”
- If you have travel insurance, it’s critical that you declare your asthma as a pre-existing medical condition. If not, you won’t be covered. That’s a problem, considering that should you suffer an asthma attack while you’re traveling, and you need a ventilator or medical steroids as part of your treatment, you might get hit with a ridiculously expensive bill.
- Not everyone is affected by asthma the same way. Make sure you know what triggers it and avoid those conditions whenever possible. If cigarette smoke is a trigger, remember that in many parts of the world, smoking is still common in hotels, bars and restaurants. If pollen is a trigger, you’ll want to stay away from areas with a heavy concentration. By doing a little research ahead of time, you can be sure you’re prepared.