Summer is the time of year that many of us hit the road seeking the perfect place for relaxation, sight-seeing, culinary adventure and discovering unknown places. But if you suffer from chronic lung disease or allergies, traveling to new places could mean unknown potentials for health problems, which can lead to encounters with unfamiliar physicians and sometimes—depending where you are traveling– unknown healthcare practices. By preparing for the unexpected and traveling smart, you can avoid serious issues related to your lung health.

  • Before you go, visit your allergist or lung specialist to discuss where you are going and talk about potential triggers such as climate, air pollution and pollen. Ask how you can prepare for these prior to the trip.
  • Call your insurance provider to find out what will be covered if you seek treatment “out-of-network.”
  • Find the name and number of an allergist/pulmonologist in the area.
  • If traveling by air check TSA regulations for carrying medication and medical equipment. Keep medication and equipment you would need immediately in your carry-on, and keep it with you, not stored in the overhead compartment.
  • Pack the necessary supplies to take care of your allergies/asthma/COPD, such as EpiPen, inhalers, spacers, nebulizers, peak flow meters, all medication and a car charger for the nebulizer if you have one.
  • Know the chemical and brand names of your medications, especially when traveling abroad. For example, albuterol is called salbutamol internationally.
  • If traveling by car, clean the inside well prior to your trip. Use air conditioning if it’s warm out and keep it set on recirculation mode to keep outside air out. Try to travel early morning or late evening if possible. Air quality is better and traffic is lighter at these times, and less traffic means less irritating exhaust fumes.

Now that you’re prepared, breathe a big sigh of relief and hit the road!