A Particular Concern

Allergies and asthma

Before travelling

Practically no contra-indications exist for people with allergies or asthma. Even if your condition is serious, it should not keep you from travelling. You must simply meet two conditions: know and understand your own body and its reactions, and follow to the letter your doctor’s prescriptions. Your asthma or allergy must be perfectly controlled before travelling; Make an appointment with your doctor one week before your departure. This allows enough time to adjust to a possible treatment change relative to your trip.

In addition to every traveller’s indispensable medical kit, take enough of your habitual treatment with you and plan additional rations as well. Ask your doctor for medication in case of possible aggravations: antihistamines, corticoids, even adrenaline to react quickly in a difficult situation. He/she can also prescribe antibiotics that you can take with you, especially if you are travelling to countries where the pharmacies have few provisions. Be careful! All self-administered medication is dangerous and should be kept for emergencies when it’s impossible to have an immediate opinion from a medical professional.

Travellers with asthma must always travel with their normal spray. Knowing and controlling use of a flow meter allows you to anticipate problems in many cases.

Travelling with cardio-vascular disease

Before departure

Hardly any travel contra-indications exist for those with heart trouble, hypertension, pacemakers or coronary thrombosis. Even if your illness is serious, this should not stop you from travelling. You must meet three conditions: know and understand your own body and its reactions, follow to the letter your doctor’s prescriptions and, especially, know how to adapt your travel plans to your physical abilities and your illness.

Therefore the first obligatory step to your trip is to visit your heart specialist. This consultation should take place several weeks before you leave, or whenever you decide where you are going. At this time your cardiologist will evaluate the “acceptable” risks relative to your trip, and conduct a complete health test or certain tests like an electrocardiogram, a heart scan, physical fitness test, etc. He/she will also measure the compatibility of your habitual medications with the treatments you might have to follow during your trip (malaria pills, medication for diarrhoea, anti-inflammatories…) and the diet you will need to adapt to your condition. Your doctor will then tell you which situations to avoid: cold, heat, humidity, and high altitudes…

Take advantage of this occasion to review the main cardio-vascular risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco, cholesterol…). Ask your doctor to remind you of the symptoms, manifestations and warning signs relative to your illness. If you are familiar with these, you will be able to react appropriately and quickly by consulting a doctor in case of a problem, and on the contrary, you will be able to avoid useless worry and anxiety when facing benign symptoms.

Remember that for most cardio-vascular diseases stress and precipitation make a poor mix. Be ready on the day of your departure, and arrive early at the station or airport.

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