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Traveling with Summer Allergies

Traveling with Annoying Summer Allergies

With 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 of control."

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 free vacation:

By Land
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.

    By Air
    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 medication dosages.

    • 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 the pool.

    • 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,

      (Source: AAAAI)

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