Traveling and Asthma
A week at the beach with your best friend's family? Or how about sleepover camp? If you have asthma, you'll be packing more than your clothes for these adventures.
But asthma doesn't have to get in the way of your fun. Here's how to be prepared when you're out and about.
What Should I Pack?
- Medicines and supplies. Having your medicine with you is very important. You'll want to pack both your quick-relief medicines (also called rescue or fast-acting medicines) and long-term control medicines (also called controller or maintenance medicines).
Keep your medicines handy at all times. So if you're traveling by car, keep them where you can get to them, not in the trunk. If you're traveling by plane or train, keep them with you in your carry-on bag. If you don't, and your luggage is lost, you won't have your medicine. Even if your luggage isn't lost, not having it with you on the plane or train means you can't take it when you need it.
When you're packing your medicine, pack more than you need. It doesn't hurt to have extra. Your mom or dad can help you decide how much is enough.
- Asthma action plan, and more. Bring a copy of your asthma action plan with you. This plan will tell you what to do if you have breathing trouble and it has your doctor's phone number on it, in case you need to call. If you use a peak flow meter to keep track of how you're doing, be sure to pack it, too.
How Can I Avoid My Asthma Triggers?
Staying at a hotel
Ask for a sunny, dry room away from the hotel pool to avoid contact with mold. If animals trigger your asthma, ask for a room that has never had pets in it. Also, request a nonsmoking room. It also might help to bring your blanket and pillow from home.
Staying with friends and family
Tell friends and family about your asthma triggers before you get there. For instance, your grandma can limit dust mites and mold by dusting and vacuuming carefully, especially in the room you'll sleep in. If anyone smokes, ask them to do so outside and away from your sleeping area.
Keep your triggers in mind if you'll be outside a lot. So, don't do lots of walking or hiking when the air pollution or pollen counts are high or if the weather is very cold. If you're camping, you should sit away from any campfires. Wherever you go, carry your quick-relief medicine with you.
What If I'm Going to Sleepover Camp?
If you'll be going somewhere by yourself — like sleepover camp — have your parents talk to the camp counselors and other adults there about your asthma. Your mom or dad can tell them about:
- your medicine and when you need to take it
- your triggers and how to avoid them
- what to do if you have a flare-up
- emergency contacts and phone numbers
All of this information should be on your asthma action plan. Have your parent make a copy to give to the counselors.
If you think your asthma care would be too hard for you to manage at camp, there may be a solution. In many parts of the country, the American Lung Association has camps for kids with asthma. At the camps, doctors and nurses are on staff. That way, if your asthma flares up, you will get the care you need so that you can go back to having fun!