Skiing and winter sports and activities are becoming increasingly popular but people with asthma should consider altitude sickness and other factors when planning their trip. However, if you are physically fit with well controlled asthma and you prepare adequately for your holidays, you should not be restricted in your activity.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your asthma won’t hold you back during your Ski/Winter break:
- Visit your doctor in advance of your departure to ensure your asthma is under control before you leave.
- Ask your doctor to provide you with a letter which details your medical history and severity of your asthma and your treatment.
- Take your written asthma diary and action plan, which can be downloaded from asthma.ie website. Ensure your medication is carried in your hand luggage and that you have spare supplies stored in your suitcase.
- It may be beneficial to have a medication delivery system such as a spacer in case of an emergency. This is especially important for children.
- Don’t forget about insurance! Most standard travel insurance policies will not pay claims if an asthma attack is triggered by the altitude changes or extreme cold when skiing on holiday. The key is to buy a specific winter sports travel insurance policy and to make sure your fully declare your asthma, even if it is fully controlled and you haven’t had an attack for a few years.
- In freezing conditions, prescribed inhalers may not work properly. They should be warmed (e.g. in the hands) before use.
- Cold air can exacerbate your asthma so cover your face with a balaclava, neck gaiter, or scarf and carry your reliever inhaler while on the slopes.
- Fit healthy people with well controlled asthma should have no problems coping with high altitudes provided that they ascend slowly and recognise and accept their limitations, and adjust their medication.
For more information on managing your asthma in cold weather conditions or to develop an Asthma Action Plan please contact the Asthma Society of IrelandAdviceline Team on 1850 44 54 64.