What advice is there for traveling with asthma?

The following is good advice for all those with chronic illnesses. In addition to your usual medications, bring a copy of your prescriptions, a copy of your travel insurance documents and your asthma travel plan that you have developed with your physician. For those with asthma, pollution in third-world countries can be a particular problem. A visit with your physician to make sure you have an extra rescue inhaler and that your asthma is under optimal control is strongly advised.

Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, MD
Allergist & Immunologist

Here are some tips for traveling if you have asthma:

  • Always keep your "rescue" medications in your carry on, not in your checked bag.
  • Travel with an anti-allergen pillow cover if you have indoor allergies.
  • Avoid sitting near a passenger with "strong perfumes" whenever possible.
  • Inform the airline staff if you have pet-induced asthma to avoid any surprises if a passenger is traveling with his or her pet(s)—up to 20 percent of those with asthma have pet allergies.
  • Keep your health care provider/allergist's telephone contact information and list of all medications with you before you travel.
  • Check with your doctor if you will be traveling to areas above 5,000 feet.
  • Continue to take your daily medications on a regular basis, "asthma doesn't go on vacation."
  • Travel during early morning hours when air pollution is often less of a problem.
If you suffer from asthma of any severity it is always important to be prepared. Whenever you travel you should be sure to bring all of your medications. It is important to ensure that you have enough to last the entire duration of the trip. You will need to consider both daily and as-needed medications. Even if you do not use your as-needed medications, such as albuterol, at home, it is still important to have them with you when you travel. It would also be beneficial to bring any paperwork or information you have, such as an asthma action plan, to ensure others understand what is going on if you have an asthma attack.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.