Managing Your Child's Asthma While Traveling

When your child has asthma, you need to be ready at a moment’s notice if they have trouble breathing. Our team at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center, led by board-certified family physician Dr. Ugonma Okparaocha, is your partner in your child’s health through their teen years.  

Following are some commonsense tips to make your traveling smooth when your child has asthma

1. Have a checkup for your child shortly before traveling 

You don’t want an unpleasant surprise on a trip that’s supposed to be full of family fun. Call our office to make an appointment so your child can be seen before you leave on vacation. We can review your child’s asthma action plan and make sure you have all the supplies you need. 

Dr. Okparaocha reviews your child’s asthma history and can provide adjustments in medication as needed for the trip.  

2. Use a packing checklist 

If you haven’t already, develop a packing checklist to keep on your phone so you can pull it up any time. List all needed supplies and medication such as inhalers, nebulizers, and spacers. 

An older child can get involved in the packing process, but be sure you double-check their efforts before leaving the house.

If the trip involves air travel, make sure you pack the meds in your carry-on bag so you can reach them easily during the flight. It’s a good idea to have extras of critical items your child may need just in case you lose something on the trip. 

3. Keep your child’s medication routine 

Your child may be on daily medication. Set a recurring alarm to make sure your child takes their meds every day. Traveling can produce sensory overload so they could easily deviate from their routine and forget about their medication. 

4. Identify your child’s asthma triggers   

Is your travel destination likely to have asthma triggers, including possible new triggers such as pollution or new pollens? Talk to Dr. Okparaocha about the climate you’ll experience during your vacation. She may provide a new prescription for a “just in case” scenario. 

5. Stay hydrated 

Air in the plane can irritate your child’s airway. Make sure your child stays hydrated, as being dehydrated can trigger your child’s symptoms. 

6. Take breaks along the way 

You need to take breaks if you’re traveling long distance in the car. Look for non-smoking sections at rest stops. Some rest stops have picnic tables so you can stay outside. 

7. Ask in advance about accommodations for asthma 

Call the airline or hotel and let them know you’ll be traveling with a child who has asthma. Find out how they can accommodate your child if the need arises. Make sure the hotel has a no-smoking policy, and ask about cleaning supplies that could trigger your child’s asthma. 

8. Pick a seat

Your child probably likes to sit by the window in a plane. Select a window seat in advance and ask for a seat near the front of the plane for better air quality. 

9. Keep an eye on your child

Change in routine, overstimulation, excitement, and a new environment could trigger your child’s asthma. Stay ahead of asthma problems by initiating the action plan if you see signs of an asthma attack. 

Call Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland, or request an appointment online today if you’re scheduled to travel soon so we can help you prepare for a trip that’s not marred by asthma symptoms.

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