Asthma is a Chronic Lung Condition that is typified by swelling and narrowing airways, limiting the inflow of air into the lungs. This very uncomfortable condition causes the patient to wheeze when they breathe and may also causes shortness of breath and coughing.
Asthma patients are essentially Allergic to certain substance in the air, which cause reactions in the airways, making them swell up and narrow.
It is a fairly common condition, ranging from being a minor nuisance to a major, sometimes even life threatening problem. While it is untreatable, the symptoms can be managed.
To get a quote by telephone or email, contact us on 0800 047 5065 (FREE) or 01273 773 017
We provide cover for Residents of the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands.
- 1. What are you covered for ?
- 2. What questions we will ask you for your quote ?
- 3. Symptoms and Causes of Asthma
- 4. Treatment for Asthma
- 5. Travelling with Asthma
- 6. Physical Activity, Adventure Sports with Asthma
- 7. Winter Sports
- 8. Sky Diving and Bungee Jumping
- 9. Scuba Diving
- 10. What to do if I need to make a claim
- 11. Useful Websites and Information
1. What are you covered for ?
Cancellation - should you purchase a policy with your Asthma declared and you are unable to travel because of problems relating to your condition then you are covered for the cost of your trip (less the Excess).
Medical Expenses - Your insurance covers you for loss of prescribed Medication while you are away and the cost of the replacements (see below name of your medications in different languages). Any necessary emergency treatment you require while you are away in a suitable clinic or hospital that you need because of your Asthma.
Repatriation back to the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland should the Emergency Assistance Company require it due to problems arising from your Asthma.
2. What questions we will ask for your quote ?
When obtaining a quote for Travel Insurance to cover this condition, you will be asked a number of questions. These will only take a moment and will provide you with an accurate quote.
- Have you ever had a Diagnosis made of chronic airways disease (eg chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema) ?
- How old were you when this Diagnosis was made ?
- How long ago was the date of onset of your breathing problem ?
- How many medicines do you take for your respiratory condition (count each inhaler as one medicine) ?
- How many hospital admissions have you had for your respiratory condition in the last year ?
- Have you needed treatment in an intensive care unit for this condition ?
- Can you always walk 200yds on the flat without becoming short of breath ?
- Have you ever been prescribed oxygen for use at home ?
- Have you ever been a smoker ?
- Do you use Nebulisers as part of routine maintenance of asthma control ?
If you are travelling with others, we can include them on the policy, even if they do not have Asthma or any other Medical Condition.
3. Symptoms and Causes of Asthma
When a patient comes into contact with an Asthma trigger, their condition can become irritated leading to a tightening of the muscles around the walls of the airways. The lining of the airway also becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Consequently the airways become narrower causing breathing difficulties. A sticky mucus or phlegm can also build up which then causes a further narrowing of the airway. This is commonly referred to as an Asthma Attack.
Asthma triggers include air pollutants, colds and viruses, pollen, household dust mites, smoke and some foods.
What causes Asthma is not known but you are more likely to be a sufferer if you have a family history of Asthma, Eczema or other Allergies. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from Asthma, and smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk. Environmental pollution is another contributing factor. Adult Asthma may develop following a viral infection.
Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. Rapid changes in climate can bring on attacks, for example travelling in an air conditioned plane and then coming out into a tropical climate can trigger an attack. Asthma attacks often happen after a thunderstorm, this is because the grass pollen get ruptured and particles are released into the atmosphere. Check the Weather before you go.
4. Treatment for Asthma
Though there is currently no cure for Asthma, most people manage to lead an unrestricted life by managing their condition through effective treatments. Treatments for Asthma include:
- Reliever and Preventer Inhalers (which deliver medication directly to the lungs)
- Spacers (more common for children)
- leukotriene Receptor Antagonists
- Oral Steroids
- Nebulisers (for severe asthma attacks)
- Bronchial Thermoplasty (for severe asthma)
5. Travelling with Asthma
Asthma should not restrict your holiday plans, but you need to plan ahead to minimise any problems. It is, however, not advisable to travel during an Asthma flare up.
- Discuss your travel plans with your Doctor and research where you can get medical help and extra medicine when you arrive at your destination.
- Pack enough Medication and inhalers to cover you for the entirety of your trip and include an extra supply in case of loss or a delay. Also remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), if you are travelling in Europe.
- Take your reliever inhaler onto the flight as hand luggage. If taking a long haul flight you may also need your preventer inhaler and medication. If possible take all your medication onto the flight as hand luggage because Asthma medication would become less effective if it was to freeze in the hold. Contact your Airline to discuss the current security situation regarding hand luggage. Remember to carry supporting documentation from your Doctor detailing why you need to carry your medicine onto the flight.
- Know what to do during an Asthma Attack, and do not ignore any gradually worsening symptoms. If you are travelling with a companion make them aware of your condition and inform them about what they can do to help you during an Asthma attack.
- Travelling to highly polluted cities may trigger a flare up so it is important to be aware of the conditions at your destination.
- Travelling to mountainous and cold destinations may require an increase in Medication, consult your Doctor.
- If you know that you have certain triggers for your Asthma, such as animals, smoke or feather pillows, check ahead to see if you are likely to encounter them at your accommodation.
- If you are affected by pollen, plan your trip at a time when pollen levels are low. Keep in mind that you may react to pollens that you have not previously encountered in the UK.
- If you have severe Asthma and need assistance at the airport. Let your Airline know at least 48 hours before your flight.
- If you use a Nebuliser, keep in mind that other countries may have different power points. If your Nebuliser is battery powered and you intend to take it on the plane, check with your Airline in advance.
- If you have not already had a flu shot, be sure to get one before flying, as air travel will increase your risk of getting the flu.
6. Physical Activity, Adventure Sports with Asthma
If you are exercising or taking part in Adventure Sports there are a number of factors to keep in mind:
- Keep your reliever inhaler on you at all times and ease into exercise, particularly if you have previously been inactive.
- Ensure that your Travel Insurance covers the activity you plan to do.
- If pollen is a trigger for your Asthma, try to avoid outdoor activity when pollen counts are high and take medication to control your hay fever.
- On high pollution days exercise earlier in the day when there is better air quality and avoid exercising near main roads.
- Avoid people with colds, coughs or the flu.
7. Winter Sports
- Mountain air is cold and dry and can cause bronchospasm when exercising. Combined with high altitude shortness of breath is quite likely and you may experience Asthma Symptoms or an Asthma Attack, particularly if doing strenuous exercise.
- If your Asthma is allergen related, mountain air may be a relief as there are no allergens at high altitude.
- Avoid Skiing, Climbing and Riding chair lifts alone and make people in your party aware of your condition.
- Keep your inhaler close to hand, but warm and dry. In freezing conditions it may not work properly, in which case, it can be warmed in you hands before using.
- Keep warm by wearing layers. A mask or scarf over your mouth and nose will conserve the moisture exhaled, helping prevent bronchospasm.
- Do not use the fireplace in your Accommodation and use the ventilation fan when cooking or showering.
- The dry air irritates your bronchial tubes, combined with exercises, it is important that you remain hydrated.
- If you have not been Skiing or Snowboarding previously and exercise induces your Asthma, do some fitness and strength training before your trip. Consider taking lessons and advise your instructor of your Asthma.
- Exercising at altitude will affect everyone differently as will differing regions. Find out as much as you can about the region you are visiting. If you are going above 3,000 metres, speak to your GP in advance, as your medication might need increasing.
8. Sky Diving and Bungee Jumping
- You should consult with you GP in advance.
- Keep in mind that you may next have access you your reliever inhaler for sometime before, during and after your jump.
- You should only jump if you Asthma is well controlled.
- If you are severely affected by pollen, keep in mind that you may land in fields with high pollen counts after your skydive.
- If you are taking oral steroids for your asthma you may be at a higher risk osteoporotic fractures.
- The cold, dry air at altitude can cause bronchospasm. If exercising in the cold or altitude affects your asthma then you should not jump.
9. Scuba Diving
- In general you are able to dive if you have allergy induced Asthma but not if you have exercise, cold or emotion induced asthma.
- Your Asthma must be well controlled. You should not dive if you have needed to use your reliever inhaler within the previous 48 hours or if you have had any other chest symptoms.
10. What to do if I need to make a claim
If your policy number starts with: GTG
Claims: 0203 829 3815 www.travel-claims.net
If your policy number starts with: IWE
Claims: 0203 829 3817 www.travel-claims.net
If your policy number starts with: ADV
Claims: 01733 416 099
If your policy number starts with: TPL
Claims: 02392 419 866
If your policy number starts with: FST
Claims: 02392 419 879
If your policy number starts with: MAP
Claims: 0330 400 1235
If your policy number starts with: HCC
Claims: 01702 553 443
11. Useful Websites and Information
Asthma UK Helpline: 0300 222 5800