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Asthma During Summer: How to Prevent Flare-ups on Vacation

Asthma During Summer: How to Prevent Flare-ups on Vacation

Asthma shouldn’t stop your child from sleeping over at a friend’s house, heading away to camp, or going on a much-anticipated family vacation. In fact, with proper daily management, an up-to-date asthma action plan, and careful preparation, they can enjoy all the benefits of spending time away from home — but without the worry of an asthma flare-up.

As your vacation date approaches, make sure your child’s asthma is well-controlled. If it’s been getting worse — or if you want to go over their asthma action plan — see our seasoned team of providers at Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma before you travel. 

Whether you feel comfortable and confident heading into your vacation, or your child needs a visit with our team and a change of medication before you’re ready to go, here are our top tips for preventing asthma flare-ups when you’re traveling this summer. 

Review your child’s asthma action plan 

Before you travel, it’s always a good idea to go over your child’s asthma action plan with them (and bring a copy in their asthma kit). This detailed, written plan aims to keep the condition controlled and prevent severe flare-ups, or asthma attacks. It’s divided into three clear “action zones” that tell your child how to manage their asthma, depending on how they feel:

Green zone 

In this zone, your child is doing well. They don’t have any coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or breath difficulties. They can participate in their usual activities, provided they take their daily medications as prescribed and avoid asthma triggers

Yellow zone

If your child is experiencing one or more asthma symptoms, they’re in the yellow zone. They may be able to participate in some, but not all, activities, and they must follow specific directions for taking additional medication until they return to the green zone.

Red zone

In this zone, your child is experiencing severe asthma symptoms. They’re either very short of breath, their quick-relief medication hasn’t helped, or their symptoms are the same or worse after 24 hours in the yellow zone. Red zone symptoms are a medical emergency.

The goal is to stay in the green zone as much as possible, get out of the yellow zone as quickly as possible, and avoid the red zone whenever possible. 

Pack your child’s complete asthma kit

Unless your child’s asthma is very mild, their asthma management plan probably includes at least two asthma medications: A long-term control medication they take daily, and quick-relief medicine they use when their asthma gets worse. 

Keep both medications in an easily accessible location — not buried in the trunk of your car or in your checked luggage. Bring more medication than you think your child will need for the duration of your trip, and always carry some when you’re away from your accommodations. 

Don’t forget to bring your child’s peak flow meter if they use one. If they also use a nebulizer, you may consider purchasing a portable model that can be charged in the car. If you plan to travel abroad, make sure you have the right adaptors. 

Minimize asthma triggers as you travel

Vacation asthma control begins the moment you start traveling. Asthma triggers can be anywhere, so always be sure you have their quick-relief medicine on hand. 

Car travel

If mold, dust, or similar substances trigger your child’s asthma, clear the air in your car by running the AC for at least 10 minutes, with the windows open, before you hit the road. If you’re traveling in an area with significant air pollution or high pollen counts, use the AC and keep your windows closed.

Air travel

The air on planes tends to be dry, so encourage your child to drink water throughout the flight. If using a nebulizer during your flight is problematic (ask your airline in advance), an inhaler with a spacer can be as effective in helping your child breathe in their medicine.

Managing asthma at your destination 

Your child’s specific asthma triggers should guide your avoidance strategies to help prevent a severe flare-up. Often, this means watching the weather, changing plans when necessary, and controlling their accommodation environment as much as possible: 

To learn more or to get help scheduling an asthma action plan, call 918-283-4660 or book an appointment online with Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma today. We’re located in Claremore, Oklahoma.

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