By Laurie Ross

Dreaming of your summer vacation – but also wondering how to keep asthma and allergies under control? Plan ahead to turn your dream into reality.

2 Months Out

  • • Schedule a checkup with your physician and discuss your travel plans:
    • Review your symptoms. How often are they occurring? How well are you sleeping at night? If your asthma isn’t in control, talk about revising your treatment plan.
    • Request prescription refills.
    • Ask the best way to contact the doctor if you need help while away. Can you email? What about telemedicine?
    • If you or your child use a nebulizer, ask your doctor for a prescription for a small, battery-powered unit that’s easy to carry.
  • Research hotels at your destination. Do they offer allergy-friendly rooms, with air cleaners and dust-mite-proof bedding? Ask for pet-free and non-smoking rooms. Book rooms away from pools and parking lots to reduce exposure to chemicals and exhaust.

1 Month Out

  • Put your paperwork together – scan it onto your smartphone or a mobile device. Bring copies of your asthma and/or anaphylaxis emergency plans. Make sure you have your doctor’s contact information.
  • List the medications you and your family members take – brand names, generic names and dosages, in case you need to replace them during your trip.
  • Review your health insurance information. Check if there’s out-of-town coverage and consider travel insurance if necessary.

2 Weeks Out

  • Make sure you have refilled all your daily, quick relief and emergency medications and have backups, especially if traveling abroad.
  • Talk with your pharmacist about the best way to store medications during travel. Do any need to be refrigerated? Protected in Ziploc bags? Instructions for most medicines recommend storing them at room temperature (59-77 degrees F).
  • Check and clean any medical devices you use, like a nebulizer, peak flow meter or holding chamber/spacer.
  • Research hospitals and pharmacies at your travel destination and along your route. Store their addresses and phone numbers in your smartphone.

1 Week Out

  • Do you need a new backpack, fanny pack or purse to carry emergency meds like albuterol or epinephrine? Small travel pouches may be suitable.
  • If flying with food allergies, contact the airline to ask about special accommodations such as early boarding to wipe down seats or flight-specific replacement of peanut snacks. Some information can be found on airline websites (print out to show airport staff); other times you may have to call customer service.
  • If travelling by car, give your vehicle a thorough cleaning.

Departure Day

  • Pack enough food and water to last in case of travel delays. You don’t want to be stuck on an airplane runway or delayed train without your medicine or other supplies.
  • If flying by plane, train or bus, put all your medications in carry-on luggage and keep them with youat your seat instead of the
    overhead bin.
  • Wear comfy clothes; take along a good book, music, snacks and games for the kids. And most of all – enjoy your trip!

Reviewed by Purvi Parikh, MD