Travel safely in times of Covid 19 Pandemic

These are our suggestions for what to do in case of travel in this moment of discomfort due to the Covid 19 pandemic for those already affected by respiratory issues such as asthma or allergies to pollens.

First of all, we recommend that you find in advance for the name and address of a doctor or a clinic who may intervene in the event of a worsening of the clinical picture or acute respiratory crises and the telephone number and location of the nearest hospital. Considering that you know already the places you are going to visit Whether this would be your own region / country or a foreign one, today with the help of the Internet this should not be a difficult task to accomplish and might help you to dramatically reduce the time of intervention if you happen to unfortunately catch the disease.

Prepare and carry the following documentation with you:

  1. health card and any exemption card if you are allowed to
  2. summary of your / your family members medical history issued by family doctor
  3. list of any foods or drugs to which you are allergic or intolerant.

Prepare a written plan, with instructions on what to do every day in case of aggravation of symptoms and in case of emergency. If you are taking medications it is also worth to draw up a list of prescribed medicines and an indication of when and how you should take the medicines you need (calculate a little more for the unexpected) and, in any case, if you want to be a step ahead and do not want to deal with long queues in hospitals obtain an additional set of prescriptions from your local doctor for those medications beforehand so that if you need additional ones you just need to visit the nearest pharmacy (this apply if you are traveling locally only).

It may be helpful to carry a portable blood pressure device with you if you have high blood pressure and a spacer (if recommended by your doctor), a peak expiratory flow meter (PEF) or nebulizer (if recommended by your doctor) for those with affected from severe respiratory diseases.

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In case of travel abroad, you must also carry with you:

International Health Insurance Card – (or provisional replacement certificate), which allows the citizen temporarily staying abroad to receive “medically necessary” treatment in any of the countries covered by the insurance plan. Ask for information from your local doctor if you like to review the list of available health insurances and their coverage plans.

A very important thing we can recommend to you is to write the active ingredient and the dosage of the package (mg per capsule or tablet etc.) next to the name of each medicine, since not all medicines have the same name, the same composition or the same presentation in the various countries you will visit.

If English is not your first language and you are visiting foreign countries, have your doctor’s prescribed recommendations on what to do, especially in an emergency, translated into English as doctors and pharmacists internationally do speak English.

PLEASE NOTE: It is advisable to take out a travel insurance, as not all countries bear the full cost of medical treatment (check your health insurance for this). An illness or an accident abroad can lead to additional travel, accommodation and travel costs, for which you should be insured separately from your “health insurance”.

Where to go on vacation for people with asthma or other respiratory issues?

There are no particular recommendations to follow. Generally, those with asthma or allergies or COPD or other chronic diseases choose their holiday location based on the experience of previous years. It is suggested to choose locations with a temperate and dry climate. The sea is particularly recommended for children with atopic dermatitis (who must always strictly follow the instructions of the treating doctor, especially in relation to sun exposure). In the case of people suffering from severe hypertension, avoid places at high altitudes. However, it is known that allergy sufferers to mites often improve if they spend their holidays in the mountains, above 1,500-1,800 meters, given that there are no mites at this altitude. Pollen allergy sufferers must avoid going on vacation in areas or periods of the year that are particularly at risk.

When traveling by car

Traveling by car presents no problems, except for those who are allergic to pollen, since allergic reactions could occur if you cross areas where there are a lot of pollen in the air with the windows open. Anyone who has a cat or dog at home can have high allergen levels in their car and, as a result, cause a crisis for those who are allergic. It is advisable to avoid traveling in particularly sultry periods or in heavy traffic such as in the days of summer exodus. If you are forced to travel during such periods, patients with respiratory and / or heart problems are advised to choose the train to travel without running the risk of being stationary in the car parked on the motorway, due to long queues of stationary vehicles and with the engines running.

By train, plane or ship

By train or plane, the air may be too fresh for incorrect adjustment of the air conditioning system. It is advisable, therefore, to bring a jacket or a blanket with you to cover yourself and defend yourself from sudden changes in temperature.

Can physical activity be practiced?

Physical activity is always recommended, but must be carried out in suitable climatic conditions. Those with asthma or allergy, if under control, can practice all kinds of sports in properly air-conditioned environments or outdoors, when the outside temperatures are tolerable and the air is not polluted by pollen or fine dust and others pollutants from vehicular traffic. In any case, sports that take place in environments or in extreme conditions (hang gliding, parachuting, high altitude mountaineering, motor sports and underwater sports) should be avoided.

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