It’s a great time of year to take a vacation, but it’s also the right time of year to catch a big whiff of allergens. Nobody wants to get sidelined by a super-sized sneezing fit, so it’s a good idea to plan and prepare if you or a family member has allergies.
Get Prepared with Proper Planning
There are considerations you can take to be proactive and make sure you’re prepared for your trip.
- Talk with your doctor to see if they have suggestions of anything you should avoid or any special precautions to take.
- Do your research: pollen seasons might vary in different places. Make sure you choose the right place to go. For example, you might consider going south to the beach or north to the mountains if you have a pollen allergy.
- You want to be picky when you book your room. It’s best to find a hotel with bare floors, as carpets trap allergens. Also, make sure the room has air conditioning, as that will filter out pollen and mold.
What Should You Pack?
When packing your bag, you want to include these items to ensure an allergy-free trip:
- Antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, skin creams, tissues, and cough drops. If you make sure all your medicines are in their original bottles, you should be spared hassle with airport security. We recommend keeping the kit in your carry-on bag.
- Epinephrine. If you have a serious food or insect allergy, pack two in case of emergencies.
- Information about your allergies. A pocket notebook with information about your allergies can save your life in an emergency.
Be Prepared for Weeds, Grass, or Tree Pollen
A great tool against weeds, grass, or tree pollen is air conditioning. After determining where you’re going, check the pollen count for that location. If you’re driving to your destination, run your air conditioner in your car for 10 minutes before leaving and make sure the vents are working correctly. It’s a good idea to leave in the early morning or late evening to encounter less traffic and air pollution. Consider using the air conditioner in your hotel room, as this can reduce indoor pollen exposure by more than 90%.
Pets: Planning Ahead Prevents Problems
We all love to visit friends and family, but what if you’re allergic to the new puppy they just got? Planning ahead can help you avoid problems. If there’s a pet at your destination that would trigger your allergies, it might be worth it to stay at a nearby hotel to give yourself an overnight break from the dander. Make sure that you stay at a hotel that does not permit pets!
While it may not always be possible to avoid the increased exposure to pet dander, you should make sure you bring your medication and be prepared to step outside if you need a break.
Defeat the Dust Mites
It may be strange to bring your own pillow on vacation, but this is the best way to make sure that you are not picking up stored dust mites. A hypoallergenic cover is very useful as well. You might even consider bringing your own mattress cover.
Find Alternates for Food Allergies
At home, you have control over your ingredients, but on the road or in restaurants, even if you don’t order food containing peanuts…you could be exposed to it. Remember to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask what ingredients they use in their dish. Also, consider lodging that has a kitchen or kitchenette, wash dishes before you use them, and always bring an EpiPen or two in case of a severe reaction.
Don’t Be Bugged by Bugs
Another reason to include your EpiPen in the bag you packed is if you are allergic to insect stings from yellow jackets, hornets, honeybees, or wasps. You should use common-sense avoidance measures like avoiding picnic areas and not walking barefoot through a park. Remember, to a bee, you might smell like a flower.
Perfect Plane Preparations
Traveling by plane can be a fun but stressful adventure. By taking these basic steps, you can handle your plane ride safely:
- Be sure your medications are in the carry-on bag with the doctor’s instructions and pharmacy phone numbers.
- Map out the hospitals nearest your hotels, so you know how to get there in case of severe allergic reactions.
- Pressurized cabin air is very dry. A saline spray or mist helps keep seasonal allergies in check.
- If you’re flying internationally, you might consider using Google Translate to write out your allergies, prescriptions, and instructions in the language spoken in your destination. Likewise, write out harmful ingredients in that language so you can show them when ordering your food.
Follow these precautions and have a safe, happy, and allergy-free holiday vacation. If you have questions or need some further advice, feel free to call Allergy & Asthma Care of Florida at 352-622-1129. We’d love to help you!