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Flying with severe asthma

I have flown with asthma with discomfort and lots of coughing during takeoff and landing. I am curious since my asthma is now classified as severe what I could do
I have also read that severe asthma when flying can produce pulmonary emboli.


  1. Hi bodie, and thanks for your post. As you may be aware we cannot provide medical advice or diagnostics over the internet (for your own safety), but your concern(s) certainly warrant a response.
    Perhaps, you are feeling more anxious / stressed during takeoff and landing. That may be causing you the discomfort and coughing that you shared with us here. You may want to discuss this with your physician. The doctor should be able to assess your flying situation and come up with a remedy, pharmaceutical or otherwise. What do you think?
    Professionally speaking, I have not heard of a connection between asthma and a predisposition to pulmonary embolism. Perhaps other clinicians in the community will weigh in on this. You also may want to ask your physician about this if it is troubling you.
    However, I do know that, for long flights, it is recommended that passengers get up and stretch their legs often. This can help prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), from being sedentary for the duration of the flight. Do you think this is something you'd want to mention to your private personal doctor?
    Wishing you well,
    Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    1. I understand there are few severe asthmatics. I have talked with my pulmonologist and while he hadn’t heard of pulmonary emboli I believe the cdc site mentions this. Was wondering if other severe asthmatics fly

      1. I didn't find anything from the CDC either, but I did come across this interesting study (from some time ago) with a large sample size. I only read the abstract, but maybe it'll be of interest to this conversation:

        https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/43/3/801#:~:text=The%20risk%20of%20developing%20pulmonary,compared%20to%20the%20general%20population.

        Of course, one study is one study, but I'm curious to hear what everyone thinks. -Melissa, asthma.net team


      2. Hi Melissa, and thanks for joining in the conversation. I found the article you shared both interesting and revealing. Since the article is from 2014 and focuses on an Asian population and, it seems to reconcile with but one other (Western) study from 2013, there doesn't seem to be any other work on this topic done since that time. As well, there is no clear indication of the mechanism between an asthma diagnosis and thromboembolism!
        Like you, it makes me even more curious as to the anecdotal comment made in his post.
        Perhaps we will still hear back from bodie.
        I also would hope some of our colleagues might weigh in on this subject matter.
        Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    2. Hi . I was interested to read your post. I have severe asthma and I've never had any problems while flying. I do move around in my seat and get up and walk around on long-haul flights, but I think that's just good advice for everyone. I do long-haul relatively often as I live in Australia but I'm originally from the UK so I go back to visit family when I can.


      I'm not a medical professional, so only speaking from personal experience 😀

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