A successful family vacation offers activities for everyone. Popular destinations include family camps, all-inclusive beach resorts, water parks, family- oriented cruises, theme parks or even cross-country road trips to visit historical sites. When traveling with children who have asthma, however, visiting new places brings changes in climate and exposure to triggers that may increase the risk of asthma attacks.
For the family living with asthma, traveling requires extra planning. Affecting 9 million youngsters in this country, asthma is the most common chronic condition among children, and it can interfere with family activities including vacations. When traveling with a child with asthma, parents should check the weather- -as extreme hot and cold temperatures can trigger an attack–as well as get pollution, pollen and mold counts of their chosen destination. It is also a good idea to locate the closest medical facilities and make sure all family members know what to do if an asthma attack occurs. Choosing lodging can also be tricky.
Reserve a nonsmoking room at a pet-free property. Some places offer allergyproof rooms or at least hypoallergenic bedding. If not, request your room be thoroughly aired out and vacuumed, and bring your own hypoallergenic bedding. Keep your child’s triggers in mind when planning activities. Avoid the outdoors when air pollution or pollen counts are high or if the weather is extreme. You can always find a fun indoor activity like a museum, arcade or show to avoid extreme weather. When outdoors, choose a physical activity that is realistic for your child to do. If planning hikes, climbs or bicycle touring, build in time for rest and remember to stay well hydrated.
Some basic tips include:
- Pre-Vacation Checkup: Visit your child’s doctor to make sure asthma symptoms are under control before you leave.
- Careful Packing: Pack an up-to-date asthma action plan, as well as your child’s asthma medicines and devices in your carry-on bag. The FAA allows passengers to carry on medications and respiratory-related equipment, such as a nebulizer. Just make sure to notify the airline in advance to be accommodated properly.
- Have Backups: Bring an extra set of written prescriptions in case of medication loss or travel problems that may extend your trip.
- Clearly Label: Store medicines in original containers so all prescription information is handy for emergency refills.
There is no cure for asthma, and for many children, proper asthma management requires long-term treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed guidelines to help physicians manage asthma. These guidelines may be considered together with other information by your child’s doctor to determine individual patient treatment needs. For patients who need a controller medication for persistent asthma, the NIH guidelines recommend inhaled corticosteroids as the preferred therapy.
Pulmicort Respules is an example of an inhaled corticosteroid. Along with knowing and avoiding triggers, using ICS regularly as prescribed by your child’s doctor helps keep asthma attacks from starting. A successful vacation is within reach. For families of the almost 9 million children in America who have asthma, vacation travel can require extra planning. (Contributed by www.napsnet.com