Going away on holiday should be a very exciting time; the expectation of nice weather, the time to relax, the amazing food and all the sites to see. You can’t really ask for much more, right?
Well, when you live with a chronic health condition like asthma, the excitement can sometimes be overshadowed by feelings of apprehension, stress and fear. It’s often because you are going somewhere new and away from your local area. You might feel as though there are 101 questions running through your mind and it can be totally overwhelming.
It can be enough to put you off travelling altogether.
How to make an action plan
Recently, when I was preparing to go away, I decided to sit down and write down all the questions that I had:
- What if I get ill when I’m on holiday?
- What if my flight is delayed and I’m late getting home?
- What if my luggage is lost?
- What if I need to see a doctor?
- What if I need to go to hospital?
I then decided to look back at my questions and worked out a plan for my next trip. Here are my key tips:
1. Organise your medication
First off, I made sure I had all my medication: the usual stuff that goes with most people on holiday, as well as my emergency medication. I’ve also found that it’s always best to take some extras with you as a precaution, in the event that you might lose a tablet or if your trip is unexpectedly extended. I also like to carry a letter from my doctor as well as a repeat prescription, just in case it is required at any stage.
I never put my medication in the hold and always keep it in my hand luggage. Sometimes I do get worried when security sees the amount of medication that I have to carry with me, but I would much prefer to have extras than run short and possibly become unwell.
2. Locate the nearest pharmacy, doctor’s surgery or hospital
Depending on where I’m going, I will always look online to see where these are located in relation to my accommodation. I feel that if I’m prepared with this information and need help, I won’t have to panic.
Also if I’m in a country where English isn’t widely spoken, I make sure I have cards outlining my personal details, allergies and a brief note about my condition in the local language. There’s nothing worse than coming up against a language barrier and having to use translation apps, which can sometimes be inaccurate and frustrating.
3. Try to protect yourself from other infections
The nature of my health and medication means that I am immunosuppressed, so public spaces and public transport can come with the potential risk of catching an infection from someone nearby.
I’d say a lot of people in general fear contracting a bug while they are travelling, and it’s the last thing you want when you arrive at your destination. I personally aim to try and protect myself as much as possible against this threat, by following these easy steps:
- Carry hand sanitiser in case you come into contact and use regularly.
- Carry disinfectant spray to reduce the risk of picking up bacteria or viruses from seats, tables, seatbelts etc.
- Try wearing a protective mask with a carbon filter (I’m not sure it gives full protection but it can help reduce the risk).
For me, I’ve found that these steps have evolved over time as I travel. Trying and testing various ways to protect myself while travelling has ultimately made my travel experience more enjoyable. And who doesn’t want to kick back and enjoy their holiday?
UK/MED/19/0126 June 2019