Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Flying with asthma?
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Flying with asthma?

Has anyone with asthma ever had a problem with flying?  I have just recently been diagnosed with it (I'm 50) and we usually fly a couple times a year, but I'm concerned now that it may affect my breathing or make it become more labored because of the recirculated air.  Has anyone else with asthma experienced any problems while on a plane?  I'm scared to death to fly now after hearing that.  Thanks for your help.
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It is unusual for someone with asthma to have a problem flying as long as they are stable when they go on the plane.  If someone is having breathing difficulty prior to flying, it may become worse on a plane, which is pressurized to the same as 5,000 to 8,000 feet in altitude.
8 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Friend,
Work with your doctor--my husband and I and our two children have had asthma all our lives and never had any particular problems with flying with asthma and re-circulated air (we often take several flights a year and the flights are generally 5+ hours apiece).  Of course, you need to work out any precautions you need to take with your doctors.  Like most  asthmatic, I carry a rescue inhaler of albuterol with them all the time (including on the airplane), for use as directed by their doctors (but I've never needed for any of us it on the dozens of flights we've taken).  As with anyone traveling, it's important to hand carry all your medications on the airplane and bring enough medicine for your entire trip, as well as a little extra.  It's also useful to bring a written prescription for all your medications as well.
Best of luck!
Aloha,
Starion
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Avatar_n_tn
You all have asthma?  And none of you has ever had a problem with your breathing becoming more labored on the plane?  Well, that puts my mind at ease, thank-you.  Are you all considered 'mild' or more severe asthmatics?  Someone told me that someone with moderate or severe asthma would probably have a little more trouble controlling their asthma, especially on a plane.  The only other person I asked was somemone who would be considered mild and doesn't even use a controller, just a rescue inhaler when she needs it.  And she flies all the time and has never had a problem, but then she doesn't have many to begin with so don't know if hers is a reliable answer.  My doctor has said he considers me mild also - no wheezing, no coughing, etc - and I only use Advair as the rescue inhalers didn't seem to help much (combivent).  And the one time I tried Albuterol, I became terribly dizzy and didn't like it at all.  Do you all also use a controller?  I apologize for all the questions but I just want to make sure I'm comfortable with flying before I actually get back on a plane again.  Thanks so much for your help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have chronic sinusitis and rhinitis. I have beem feeling very run down, and achy. A week ago the Dr. said that I had a sinus infection in addtion I got some sort of cold/flu. Now I am having pain in my lungs, in the front of my upper chest and my lower in my back. Dr. said I may have reactive airway disease, aka Asthma. Is pain in the lungs even a symptom? I smoke about 10 cigarettes a day and have been wheening off. Cancer crossed my mind though I dont have those symptoms either. In fact I have been searching the web trying to make sense of my symptoms. I wonder if I have pleurisy? Any ideas?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, all 4 of us have asthma.  My asthma is severe and chronic.  I also have emphysema.  I'm on several daily medications for it--Serevent, inhaled steroid and ipatropium bromide.  I also have allergies and am taking allergy shots and zyrtec & nasal steroids for that as well.  I only need rescue albuterol a few times a year and when I have flare-ups, usually in connection with upper respiratory infections and colds.  I have continued to fly since my diagnosis with emphysema 20 months ago, with all my doctors approval and have NEVER had any problems (other than the inconvenience of hauling ALL my medications with me on the plane in a rolling backpack).
My children and husband have mild intermittent asthma.  My husband takes an inhaled steroid once every evening.  My children only take Singulair and nasal steroids.
None of us have EVER had any problems while flying, but once again, it's important for YOU to feel comfortable and work with your doctor.
We've flown all our married lives--since 1986--and have never had any asthma symptoms on any flights.  All flights from our home in Hawaii tend to be at least 5+ hours.
Hope this is helpful, but once again, I must stress that you need to talk to YOUR DOCTOR!
Aloha,
Starion--thriving in HI
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Cindieg,
The LungLine nurses only answer questions posted as a separate thread.  If you want your question answerred by them, I would suggest you re-post it as a new thread.  Best of luck!
If you want to see a lung specialist, they are called pulmonologists in the US & respirologists in other countries.  All agree that smoking makes any respiratory condition worse--short term & long term.
Aloha,
Starion
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank-you both for your help, you have no idea how much better I feel now.  You have managed to ease my fears.  What would we all do without this site?  Thanks for caring........
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Kelli,
Glad to have been of help.  If you work closely with your doctor in keeping your asthma under optimum control, asthma really should NOT prevent you from carrying out a fully active and normal life.  Best of luck to you--and do review the www.NationalJewish.org MedFacts, Understanding series and Asthma Wizard materials for more information.
Aloha,
Starion
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