Traveling with Annoying Summer Allergies
the arrival of spring and good weather, millions
of eager travelers will be hitting the nation's
roads and airports for their vacation destination.
But for the seasonal allergy sufferer, traveling
can produce a new set of obstacles. Approximately
50 million Americans suffer from allergies,
according to the American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).
"Although you cannot completely allergy
proof your vacation, there are steps you can
take to minimize your allergy symptoms,"
said Leonard Bielory, MD, FAAAAI, and member
of the AAAAI's Aerobiology Committee. "The
first step is proper planning; the last thing
you want on your vacation is a trip to the emergency
department due to your symptoms getting out
If your allergies are active, consider taking
a trip to your allergist/immunologist for a
pre-trip physical. An allergist/immunologist
is the best qualified professional trained in
the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of allergic
diseases. Research has shown that patients under
the care of an allergist/immunologist miss less
work and school and have significantly less
visits to the emergency department.
Whether traveling by car, train, bus or plane,
the AAAAI suggests these simple steps to help
allergy sufferers to have a safe and reaction
Allergens such as dust mites, indoor molds and
pollen are often found in the carpeting, upholstery
and ventilation systems of vehicles. Before
hitting the road, be sure to:
Turn on air conditioner and air out your car
10 minutes before you start your trip to get
rid of allergens that might be inside.
Travel in the early morning or late evening
to avoid heavy traffic and when air quality
is the poorest.
Keep windows closed when driving to prevent
pollen and other allergens from entering the
car. Use air conditioning.
The recycled air found in airplane cabins can
trigger allergy symptoms. In addition, food
allergies can be another concern. Airline food
comes from a vendor and no one on board may
be able to tell you the specific ingredients
of the food. Before the seat belt light turns
on, make sure to:
Carry an EpiPen in case you have a severe reaction
while in flight and make air line staff aware
of your medication prior to check in.
Use a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages moist. Air in planes is very dry and can aggravate allergy symptoms.
Pack allergy medications in your carry-on bag
and not in your checked luggage, just in case
it doesn't make it to your destination or if
you need it on the plane.
Account for the change in time zones when calculating
While in flight, chew gum, sip liquids and swallow
often to relieve sinus pressure.
Dust mites, molds and other allergy triggers
can be found in hotel carpeting, mattresses
and upholstered furniture. Before checking into
your room, make sure to:
Request an allergy-proof room or ask for a room
that is located in a dry, sunny area, away from
Inquire about the hotel's pet policy and request
a room that is pet-free.
Check to see if the hotel offers synthetic pillows,
or bring dust-proof covers for pillows and mattresses,
or personal bedding.
Check to see if the hotel can change the air
filter on your air conditioner prior to your
arrival, and use the air conditioner instead
of opening the windows.
Avoid using the hotel closet or drawers if you
are allergic to mold spores. These areas are
great breeding grounds.
An allergist/immunologist can help provide
you with an effective management plan while
away from home. Also, it may be helpful
to find the name of an allergist/immunologist
in your destination area in the event your
symptoms become more severe. The AAAAI offers
a Physician Referral and Information line,
(800) 822-2762, or Physician Referral System
on the Web site, www.aaaai.org.