The Asthma Society of Ireland issues advice and launches their new pollen tracker to help people with asthma, and allergies cope during holidays.
The Asthma Society of Ireland is appealing to people with asthma going on holiday this summer to take precautions and ensure their asthma and allergies are well controlled. To help the thousands who will holiday at home or abroad avoid any complications this summer, the Asthma Society has issued advice and a holiday checklist, enabling them to control their condition and have an enjoyable holiday.
To compliment their checklist, the Asthma Society has also launched a pollen tracker on its website, www.asthmasociety.ie . The daily pollen forecast is available indicating the levels of pollen in each province. The pollen levels range from low, moderate, high to very high. The pollen tracker is available on the website until mid November and is supported by Dyson.
The Asthma Society of Ireland advocates planning ahead. If holidays are planned at home checking the daily pollen forecast can be an effective tool in helping to control your hay fever. Planning ahead is particularly important where the holiday involves a foreign country. While most asthma and allergy triggers can be difficult to completely avoid, with the correct precautions the impact on health can be limited, allowing for an enjoyable holiday.
Frances Guiney, Director of Patient services for the Asthma Society of Ireland said “It is sensible to avoid trigger factors, but not always possible to predict hazards in advance. Damp or moldy housing, exposure to pollens, house dust mites or certain weather conditions can all exacerbate asthma and allergies. Air pollution is a problem in some countries.”
Ms. Guiney commented further “However a GP visit provides an opportunity to have your treatment reviewed and discuss a management plan so you know how to manage your asthma on a day to day basis and how to deal with an emergency situation. A letter from him/her outlining the diagnosis and treatment may be useful in advising local physicians in the event of an attack. Regular preventative treatment should help to avoid most problems. Stepping down treatment before holidays should be avoided.”
Use this holiday checklist to help ensure you are prepared for a pleasant holiday:
- Ensure that you have travel insurance and check that your policy will cover asthma.
- If you are travelling in Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), visit www.ehic.ie for further info and to apply for a card.
- Before you leave find out where the nearest doctor, hospital and ambulance service is located.
- Carry a letter from your GP that could then be used by medical practitioners in case of emergency.
- Ensure that you have an Asthma Attack Card and that you know what to do in case of an emergency. Smartphone users can save the 5 Step Rule emergency information infographic directly to their phone by visiting the mobile website m.asthmasociety.ie
- Check the pollen forecast for your destination:
- if you are travelling in Europe, visit www.polleninfo.org
- if you are travelling in Ireland, you can view the daily pollen tracker on www.asthmasociety.ie, supported by Dyson. The tracker grades pollen levels as low, moderate, high, or very high and gives a daily forecast for each province. The pollen forecast, which is supported by Dyson, will also be available on Asthma Coach, our iPhone asthma management app (available from the App Store in August 2012)
- Take sufficient quantities of inhalers, tablets and emergency medicines to last the duration of your holiday and ensure that any medication you bring on your holidayis in date.
- It is advisable to take all your asthma medication with you as hand luggage, but please check with your airline in advance of flying due to security restrictions.
- Spacers make aerosol inhalers easier to use and more effective and are useful for both adults and children in emergency situations.
- If you are travelling with children with asthma, ensure that you pack a children’s spacer, which is easily accessible, with all appropriate medication.
- For those patients with anaphylaxis, adhere to current medical advice and carry two pens with you. Patients should seek immediate medical attention following administration.
- If you are taking part in any extreme sports, you may require a medical examination. Visit www.asthmasociety.ie and check out the ‘Reach Your Peak’ booklet for more information on sports and exercise.
For further information visit www.asthmasociety.ie , or to speak confidentially to an asthma specialist nurse, call our Asthma Adviceline on 1850 44 54 64.
₁. The Asthma Society of Ireland
Asthma is an inflammatory condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma have airways that are extra sensitive to substances (or triggers) which irritate them. Common triggers include cold and flu, cigarette smoke, exercise and allergic responses to pollen, furry or feathery animals or house-dust mites.
When the airways come into contact with an asthma trigger, the muscle around the walls of the airways tightens so that the airways become narrower. The lining of the airways swell and produce sticky mucus. As the airways narrow, it becomes difficult for the air to move in and out. That is why people with asthma wheeze and find breathing difficult.
Whilst there is no cure, asthma can be controlled by avoiding ‘triggers’ and by the use of ‘reliever’ and ‘controller’ medication. Relievers are medicines that people with asthma take immediately when asthma symptoms appear. Controllers help calm the airways and stop them from being so sensitive.
Talk to your GP or asthma nurse about which treatment is most suitable for you.
About the Asthma Society of Ireland
The Asthma Society of Ireland is the national charity representing the more than 470,000 adults and children with asthma in Ireland.
We support asthma patients and their families by providing a wide rage of high quality information and education services free of charge. We raise awareness about asthma and the importance of good asthma management with patient and the wider public, and actively engage with healthcare professionals, government departments and third party organisations to keep asthma high on the agenda. The Asthma Society also supports research and innovative projects which investigate the causes and treatment of asthma.
The Asthma Society’s goal is to optimise asthma control for all patients through services, awareness, advocacy, research and development; enabling all patients to enjoy optimal asthma control and quality of life.