A suitcase packed for traveling with an inhaler and medication on top

Asthma Triggers While Traveling

I was excited to be visiting a different city for a work conference. The last time I visited, my asthma was significantly less well controlled and I may have even been recovering from an exacerbation. I was really looking forward to exploring such a great city with well controlled lungs.

An unexpected trigger

The 1 factor that I had not considered was how smoky and how many kinds of smoke that were present in this city. Everywhere I went outside of the buildings where my conference was being held had smoke...and unavoidable smoke. This was sending me into an immediate panic. How was I going to survive an entire week in this environment?

I am highly susceptible to smoke of all varieties. It is one of my worst asthma triggers. It brings on wheeze, shortness of breath, and coughing, which I feel almost instantly. Considerably, these are not triggers that I deal with on a regular basis. I was caught off guard by how bad the exposure was.

I was going to need to get creative solutions on how to survive the rest of my work trip. I was not finding any reprieve in my indoor space. The hotel was an older property. I think it was supposed to be charming, but I am sure there was a lot of mold and sewer smells. This was not helping me with other allergens that are related to my asthma, however, it just seemed to add to the confounding challenges.

Proactively managing asthma triggers while traveling

I was under some constraints with my conference schedule, however, I tried to switch rooms. I had a similar challenge in another room, so I did my best to minimize any further allergens and triggers.

I was proactive in my preventive allergy medications to minimize the risks that seem to be everywhere. I decided to support my asthma by bumping up my controller medicines and taking rescue medications at the first sign of need. I am a poor perceiver, and at times I do not recognize that I need a rescue medication. I had lived with subpar asthma control for such time that there are times that I do not recall that I have much better control and quality of life now. I took these proactive steps in an attempt to still be able to go outside, enjoy the city, or at least run out for a meal.

When I packed for this trip I did bring extra asthma medications and what I thought were medications for most situations. What I could not prepare for was the sheer volume of twitchy airways which have limited mitigation strategies. I recall my specialist explaining to me that if your airways are twitchy there are minimal strategies. Although, they mentioned that there are recent studies that are looking at the effect of biologics on airway hyper-reactivity.

What was your travel experience like?

Have you traveled and experienced a run in with your asthma triggers that had you looking for coping mechanisms and a way to also enjoy exploring a new city? I would love to hear your strategies or pre-planning that helped you. Share your story with the community by clicking the button below.

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