As families get set for the holiday season, the National Asthma Council is encouraging parents of kids with asthma to take precautions.
The high temperatures during summer also have an adverse effect on the lung function of children with asthma. The recent study by University of Queensland and published in European Respiratory Journal found that these negative effects are most severe in children in southern states who are unused to hot weather. A range of preventive measures could be adopted during hot weather for children with asthma, and these need to be factored into travel and holiday plans.
“With many families going away on holidays at this time of the year, it’s easy for normal medicine routines to get disrupted,” the National Asthma Council Chief Executive Officer Kristine Whorlow said.
“It’s important for parents to plan ahead to ensure puffers or other medicines are taken, even when on the road or rushing off to visit friends and relatives.”
Ms Whorlow said the change of environment while away from home could also trigger asthma symptoms in children. “As well as packing your child’s usual medicines, also think about what other problems you might encounter while travelling with allergies. It might be a good idea to take your child’s hay fever tablets or nasal spray too.”
The National Asthma Council Australia has the following tips to keep kids’ asthma symptoms at bay during the holiday season:
– Check-up before you check-in: Make sure your child’s asthma is going as well as possible before you leave. Your child doesn’t need to be sick to have an asthma check-up with your doctor, and it’s a good opportunity to get an up-to-date copy of their prescription.
– Plan what to pack: Try to bring with you all the medication your child will need while you’re away, as well as some extra. Getting a new prescription filled at your destination could be difficult or time-consuming.
– Don’t let the asthma routine slip: Keeping up your child’s medicine routine is really important, even on holidays. Don’t forget to take the preventer inhaler as normal, even when heading off to the beach or a day out.
– Keep your child’s reliever handy: A reliever puffer can’t help if it’s in a suitcase at the bottom of the car boot or even in the hold of the plane. Make sure your child’s reliever puffer is in easy reach while travelling and also while you’re out enjoying your holiday.
– Look after your child’s puffer: Puffers work best below 25 degrees, so look after them in the hot weather. Avoid keeping your child’s puffer on the windowsill, in the glove box or out in the sun.
–Have an action plan: Consult with your doctor to develop an asthma action plan so you know what to do when asthma symptoms worsen. The asthma action plan can also be stored on your smartphone and easily accessed from anywhere via the Asthma Buddy iPhone and Android app. Visit www.nationalasthma.org.au for more information.
– Check your insurance: Check that any travel medical insurance you take out will cover your child’s asthma, usually under ‘pre-existing conditions’. Policies vary, so it’s best to contact your travel agent for advice.
With one in 10 children suffering from asthma, Ms Whorlow said taking simple precautions could reduce symptoms, helping families make the most of their holiday time together.