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Every year on 5 May, World Asthma Day is observed to increase awareness about asthma and how to keep it under control. World Asthma Day event is annually organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The theme for World Asthma Day 2020 is 'Enough Asthma Deaths'.
Asthma is a common respiratory disease that occurs when the airways in the lungs become inflamed, narrow and swell up leading to shortness of breath. An asthma attack can occur anywhere if they are exposed to allergens that trigger asthma.
Travelling can trigger an asthma attack, according to a study. A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that asthmatic travellers who frequently use bronchodilators before travelling or go for trekking are at an increased risk of asthma attacks . Hence, it is very important for asthmatic patients to follow precautionary measures to lower their risk of an asthma attack while they are travelling.
Things To Do Before You Plan A Trip
Pack all your asthma medications and make sure that you have enough of each medicine so that you don't run out of it. Also, carry your prescriptions with you while you are travelling.
2. Go for a physical check-up
Before you go on a trip, visit your doctor and get yourself physically examined. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your asthma. Ask about travel vaccinations and things you should avoid to prevent an asthma attack while travelling.
3. Carry your devices
Make sure that you carry your inhaler and peak flow meter with you while you travel. A peak flow meter is a portable device that measures the airflow of your lungs.
4. Maintain a diet plan
If you have any food allergies, write it down in a diary to avoid eating those foods. For example, if you are allergic to nuts you can avoid eating foods that contain nuts.
5. Schedule your allergy shots
If you are going on a long trip, consult a doctor on when to take an allergy shot. Allergy shots can stop or reduce allergies.
6. Go with a friend or family member
It is advisable to go on a trip with a friend or a family member because they will know what to do if you have an asthma attack. In case of emergencies, your friend or a family member can take quick immediate steps to help you during an asthma attack.
7. Plan for an emergency
Ask your doctor for an asthma action plan, this will have all the names of the medicines, dosage information and your doctor's phone number.
How To Choose A Holiday Location If You Are An Asthma Patient?
Check for hotels that have non-smoking policy and select hotels in an area where there is not much air pollution-avoid choosing hotels which are located near a busy road.
If you are allergic to pets, check for hotels that do not allow pets.
For some people with asthma, weather conditions such as heat, cold or humidity may worsen asthma symptoms. So, choose a travel destination by keeping the weather in mind.
Avoid travelling to places at high altitudes as it could worsen your asthma symptoms, especially if you are planning to go on a trek or visiting a country which has a cold climate.
Pollen triggers asthma and you may want to avoid travelling to countries that have high pollen levels that may cause pollen allergies.
Ways To Avoid Asthma During Travel
• Travelling by car - Ensure that your car is clean to lower the chances of dust mites or moulds that may trigger your asthma. If air pollution triggers your asthma symptoms, close the car windows.
• Travelling by flight - If you manage your asthma symptoms well, you will have no problems travelling by flight. However, your asthma symptoms may worsen due to air pressure, so consult your doctor before travelling by air. Pack your own food when you travel by air.
• Travelling by cruise - Inform your cruise operators beforehand that you are an asthma patient and what things can trigger your asthma, especially the foods you are allergic to.
Additional Tips To Follow While Travelling
• In case of emergencies, know the locations to seek medical treatment immediately.
• Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke.
• Drink plenty of fluids.
• Avoid going to places during the flu season.
• Use hand sanitisers often.
• If you are eating at a restaurant, inform the staff if you are allergic to any kind of food.