Don’t Let Asthma Spoil Your Summer Getaway

For the more than two million Ontarians who have asthma, preparing for a summer vacation means more than just choosing a destination, booking a ticket and packing a suitcase.

Whether you are going abroad, renting a cottage or going camping, good asthma management should be a priority item on your holiday planning checklist – and that includes making sure that your asthma is under control before you leave.

Although modern asthma medications are extremely effective, research shows that more than half of all asthma patients experience poor asthma control, leading to significant symptoms like coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Go to asthmacheck.ca to find out whether you need to speak to a health-care provider about getting your asthma back under control.

Next item on your asthma management vacation checklist is finding out what triggers you might encounter on your trip. Think about the mattress your child sleeps on at camp or the musty lifejackets stored in the garden shed; they’re harmless to most of us, but to a person with asthma they are potentially dangerous triggers.

Learn what triggers you will be exposed to at your holiday destination. Are the sleeping quarters mouldy or dusty? Is smoking allowed? Is air pollution a problem? Will there be pets? The most common triggers are dust mites, mould, pet allergens, pollen, tobacco and campfire smoke, air pollution and viral infections. It is important to be aware of potential triggers and to know how to avoid them.

It’s also vital to continue taking any daily controller medications that have been prescribed by your doctor. Carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and make sure you have enough to last for the whole trip. Keep all medications in their original, labelled containers.

Know how to recognize the signs of worsening asthma and what to do about it. Talk to your doctor before your trip and ask for a written Asthma Action Plan with instructions on what to do if problems develop. Also be sure you have adequate medical insurance and know where the nearest hospital is located.

Don’t let your asthma hold you back this summer! Follow these tips and experience the worry-free holiday you’ve been dreaming of.

If you have any questions, call the Lung Association Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864), email info@on.lung.ca, or visit www.on.lung.ca.