Travelling with asthma and allergies
We know how stressful it can be to suffer from allergic reactions or asthma attacks when you travel. That's especially true in the middle of flights, but it also applies at airports and when you reach your destination. Nobody's vacation or business trips should be ruined by avoidable health problems. That's why we've prepared some helpful tips when travelling with asthma and allergies to make life easier when you need to get away.
Prepare well before departure
It's always important to prepare properly before you even get to the airport. That way, you'll be in a much better position to respond if allergies flare up or you feel an asthma attack coming on. Ensuring that all of your medications are full and ready to use is vital, and it makes sense to label any bottles clearly if they aren't already easy to identify. If your attacks are serious, obtaining a medical identification bracelet could be a good move, and it's also advisable to have a list prepared which sets out your condition and medication. That way, staff can learn everything they need to know if they need to treat you on the plane. Finally, if you suffer from asthma you can ask your doctor to carry out a 'fitness to fly' test. This will assess whether the lower cabin pressure on-board flights will trigger a reaction and whether you'll need extra kit like a nebuliser or, in some cases, in-flight oxygen.
What are the rules about carrying asthma or allergy medicines on board?
Generally speaking, passengers are allowed to take any 'essential medicines' on flights with them, and this applies worldwide. Asthma inhalers are usually absolutely fine, as they aren't regarded as fluids. So feel free to use them if you are worried about experiencing an attack and keep them close to hand throughout your flight. Epi-Pens and other auto-injectors for anaphylaxis are also fine, but fluid medications may be controlled. For instance, the TSA mandates that prescription medications must be transported in containers with capacities of 100 ml or more (3.4 ounces). And in all cases, you will need to let security staff know which medications you are carrying. That's where a checklist and clear labels come in handy. But as a rule, don't worry. If you need medicine on-board, you will be allowed to take them.
Eating on board: how to avoid allergy issues
Airplane cabins are the last place anyone would want to encounter food allergy problems. Fortunately, almost all airlines are now allergy-aware and will happily prepare foods that avoid dangerous ingredients. However, you will need to inform the airline before you fly, and if allergy friendly dishes aren't available you should probably choose a different carrier entirely. Not all companies make allowances for allergy sufferers, but any do. For example, British Airways now makes in-flight announcements and ask passengers sitting near those with nut allergies not to consume nuts during flights. Delta Air Lines also creates 'buffer zones' to keep peanuts far away from allergy sufferers. A good idea is to consult lists of the best airlines and consider booking with them if they cover your preferred route.
Will allergies and asthma affect my travel insurance?
Unfortunately, this is usually the case. Travel insurers will almost always ask passengers to declare allergies and asthma on their applications, and you may need to pay higher premiums as a result. But there's a lot of diversity among insurers, and many of them are set up to fine-tune travel packages to mix value and solid cover. Shop around to make sure you have worst-case scenarios covered without paying over the odds.
What about travelling to countries where the language barrier could be an issue?
In many cases, travellers will be visiting countries which don't share their native tongue. That can cause extra anxiety among allergy or asthma sufferers, but there's no reason why medical conditions should get in the way of exploring the world. Instead, prepare a list of your medications and an explanation of your condition in the local language (Google Translate can help here, and you could even contact the nation's embassy to double-check that the language is correct). It's also important to learn essential phrases. For instance, learning to say 'I have asthma' and 'I cannot breathe' could alert locals immediately if you suffer an attack. And if you have a food allergy, try to research dishes which avoid problem foods. Creating a 'chef card' listing ingredients you need to avoid can also help restaurants serve dishes which don't pose any danger.
Other factors to think about when travelling abroad with allergies and asthma
Language isn't the only issue that can complicate life for allergy and asthma sufferers when they head on vacation. The climate is another factor which can affect the way your body reacts. For instance, people who are travelling from a very hot country to a colder destination may experience more intense asthma symptoms without preparing. Hay fever sufferers can suddenly find that local pollen brings on an attack, while higher levels of air pollution can also aggravate all kinds of conditions. None of this should dampen your enthusiasm to fly, but if you have health concerns you need to take everything into account.
But with a little planning and common sense, you'll soon be all set to book a flight with CheapTickets to your dream destination.
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