Asthma is a common childhood condition, affecting about 9 million U.S. kids under 18. While there is no cure for asthma, you can reduce the frequency of asthma attacks and manage symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath with an effective asthma care management plan.
This means family vacations and exotic travel are not out of the question. With a little extra planning, your family can take off on an adventure and create memories to last a lifetime.
But before you plan your trip, make sure your child’s asthma is under control. If not, visit with your doctor to figure out how to modify your child’s asthma care plan so their asthma is well-managed before you embark on that vacation.
Dr. Margaret Lubega and her staff at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, offer these tips on how to manage your child’s asthma while traveling so everyone has a good time.
Before you go
- Fill all of your child’s asthma medication prescriptions, and stock up on any over-the-counter medications you regularly use. Be sure to pack the medications, both long-lasting and quick-relief ones, in your carry-on bag if you’re traveling by plane or handy in your purse if you’re taking a road trip.
- If your child uses a nebulizer, consider purchasing a travel-sized or portable one. If your destination is a foreign country, be sure to have the correct electrical adapter if needed.
- Bring your asthma care management plan and a list of all the medications and the proper doses your child uses. Note the generic name in case you need to purchase more medicine.
- Check in with your doctor before you leave to get any suggestions or recommendations for your child. You may also want to ask your doctor to write out your child’s diagnosis and treatment medications to make airport security and customs easier to get through.
- If you’re staying with friends, ask them to do their best to eliminate any of your child’s asthma triggers, such as dust mites or mold, to the best of their ability. Don’t stay with friends who have furry pets! Consider packing a set of sheets and pillowcases and your child’s blanket if necessary.
- If you’re staying at a hotel, pick one that does not allow animals and request a smoke-free room or an allergy-proof room, if they have them. Again, consider packing your child’s sheets and a blanket to ensure you have hypoallergenic bedding.
While you’re traveling
- Check the pollen count and weather forecast wherever you are. If your vacation entails adventure such as hiking or biking, plan activities for when the pollen count is low and the outside temperature is not too cold or hot.
- Don’t plan too much. Give yourself and your child time to rest, and always pack quick-relief medication with you whenever you go out.
- If you’re traveling by car, keep the air conditioning on and the windows closed. If your family is traveling by airplane, wipe down the armrests and tray tables and encourage your child to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Learn the location of the nearest hospital or urgent care center at your destination.
- If your vacation takes you to a different time zone, consult with your doctor if you should try to give your child their medications at the same time in your home time zone or adjust it to the new time zone.
For more advice on how to manage your child’s asthma while traveling, call Dr. Lubega’s office or make an appointment online.