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Traveling with Asthma

There are some extra challenges when traveling with asthma. The suggestions that follow can help you avoid asthma symptoms and make your travel easier.

Be prepared if your asthma should worsen while you're traveling. Make sure you know where to go for medical care. Consider delaying your trip if your asthma is unstable when you plan to leave. 

Avoiding triggers

Avoid asthma triggers by planning ahead:

  • Plan your vacation at times and places where pollen counts are low if pollen allergies trigger your asthma.

  • Avoid places with high levels of air pollution. For example, stay away from very smoggy cities.

  • Reserve a nonsmoking hotel room. And ask about rooms away from damp or wet areas.

  • If scented candles, aerosol sprays, or pets trigger your symptoms, tell friends or relatives before you visit so they can make their homes more asthma-friendly. For example, if possible, sleep in a room where pets aren't allowed.

  • If traveling by car in areas with pollution or smog, keep the windows closed and the air conditioning or heater running.

  • Stay away from smokers and areas where smoking is allowed.

  • To help prevent yourself from getting a cold or other infection, wash your hands often and try not to touch your mouth or nose. Use hand cleaner or sanitizer if you can't wash your hands with soap and water.

What to take with you

Here are suggestions about what to take on your travels: 

  • Take a copy of your asthma action plan. If you don't have one or if yours isn't up-to-date, talk with your healthcare provider.

  • Keep controller and rescue medicines with you in your purse or carry-on bag, not in checked luggage. Take more than you think you'll need, since you may have delay or lose your luggage.

  • Take your health insurance information card, your provider's phone number, and a list of your medicines.

  • Don't forget your peak-flow meter and your portable nebulizer, if you use either one.

  • Take an allergy-proof cover for your pillow (and even one for the mattress).

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace with information about your asthma.

  • Take hand cleaner or sanitizer with you. Keep it in your purse, travel bag, or back pack.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Brown, Kim, APRN
  • Little, Frederic, MD