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The Asthmatic Backpacker: Recommendations and Pitfalls to Avoid

Medical Equipment Calibration | For asthmatics, certain precautions are necessary when going on extended travelling holidays to foreign countries. Countries around the world not only have completely different cultures and ways of life but different allergenic environments; in which the likelihood of seizures can be promoted. Read on to discover a short guide to enjoying the thrill of backpacking without being short of breath.

Following some simple rules and tips allow asthmatics to travel normally. This can include remembering to pack an asthma travel kit and evaluating your transportation, choice of residence or place of the journey.

The Travel Kit

A travel kit contains the common medications of asthmatics: bronchodilators and anti-inflammatories, plus an up-to-date asthma action plan, and any asthma-related devices. For young children with asthma, an inhalation chamber (for inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators) is often needed.

It’s usually best to carry all your medicines with you in your hand luggage; in case your checked-in luggage goes missing, or your medicines are damaged in the baggage hold. You’ll need to put your inhalers and medicines into the clear sealable plastic bags that are provided when you go through airport security. Staff may also need to carry out additional checks on these items – for example, spraying a puff into the air.

Travel Kit Checklist:

      • Always carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you.
      • When you’re travelling always carry a spare reliever inhaler (usually blue) in your hand luggage, in case you run out or your checked-in baggage goes missing.
      • Make sure you take enough inhalers and tablets with you to last the holiday plus an extra week’s supply.
      • Remember to keep your medicines in their original packaging with the prescribing details label attached.

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It may also be useful to take a peak flow meter or Spirometer to assess respiratory discomfort and adjust your treatment. As with all portable medical devices, Spirometers need thorough and comprehensive medical equipment calibration and testing on a regular basis. Failure to adequately test a Spirometer puts it at risk of failure or of false readings being displayed from the equipment, which can have disastrous results.

When travelling abroad, ensure that your GP or physician has provided you with a sufficient quantity of medicines and a prescription to identify what medications you require should you need to buy/order more in the country you are visiting.


Before travelling abroad, you should learn about the necessary and recommended vaccines. Patients allergic to ovalbumin (egg protein) can not be vaccinated against yellow fever, influenza or tick-borne encephalitis. In the case of absolute necessity for vaccination, in particular against yellow fever, consideration should be given to prior desensitization.

In addition, older asthmatic patients can be vaccinated preventively against pneumococcus.


Air travel does not pose any particular problem except with directional ventilations. However, it is important if you are suffering from a cold or nasal obstruction when flying, to be attentive of your condition as the symptoms combined with a difference in pressurisation can lead to lower blood oxygen saturation.

In trains, watch out for animals, tobacco, and ventilation under the windows. The train compartments will be regularly dusted during long journeys; therefore, caution should be maintained for severe asthmatics as this may be a likely trigger factor for attacks.

Regardless of the means of transport, be aware of ventilation and ventilation vents, forced air appliances, and sudden temperature changes due to air conditioners.

The Location

Extreme climates, extreme heat, extreme cold, high winds and altitudes above 2,500 meters should be avoided if possible due to the effect they can have on the lungs of an asthmatic. Equally, It is always better to avoid travelling in the countryside between May and August because of high pollen rates.

It is important to have considered these situations with your GP beforehand; who will then be able to adapt your treatment to these conditions. Before departure, research and make a note of the various emergency services, doctors, and your embassy.

The Holiday House

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Holiday homes that are open only for the summer are likely to be full of dust. As for old, disjointed floors, they are possible nests of mites. If possible, ask for rooms to be ventilated and well dehumidified (heating in winter) a few days before arrival.

In rental houses, pay attention to old bedding, duvets and feather bolsters. Do not forget to bring with you an anti-dust mite cover, an acaricide bomb, and a synthetic pillow

Do Not Forget

Before leaving, do not neglect travel insurance, the certificates of vaccination and the usual medical prescriptions to guard against any eventuality.

Forest Medical Equipment Calibration

We undertake thorough Medical Equipment Calibration to fully test your machines and ensure that they are safe and suitable for use. In one visit, our fully trained engineers are able to quickly yet thoroughly test and calibrate all of your equipment. Once all tests and calibrations have been completed, you’ll receive a full results pack; allowing you to claim 3 QOF points and satisfy your CQC requirements. We will beat any genuine quotation by at least 15% and can promise you that all testing carried out will be accurate and will ensure that your Spirometer is completely accurate in the readings that it takes.

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