Traveling with Allergies

With hectic schedules and constant traveling during the holiday season, it's easy to forget to take proper care when dealing with allergies and asthma. Remembering to take medication and avoiding potential triggers is necessary to keep symptoms under control. To make sure that your next trip is relaxing and enjoyable, plan ahead for the environmental changes that may affect your allergies or asthma.

Here are some suggestions:

Before beginning a long car trip, try turning on the air or heater and open the windows for at least 10 minutes before getting in the car. This will help remove dust mites and/or molds that may be in the system. Because cigarette smoke or outdoor air irritants can make allergy and asthma symptoms worse, go in early morning or late evening when the air is better. If you use a nebulizer for your asthma, get one that fits into your car's cigarette lighter or use a battery pack.

While all local flights are smoke-free, many flights to other countries are not. If traveling overseas, make sure you are seated as far as possible from the smoking section. If you have severe asthma and sometimes need oxygen, you must arrange for this with the airline well before the flight.

When making cruise reservations, ask about the medical staff and the medical care available on the ship. Remember, in cold, damp weather, you may be exposed to more house dust mites and indoor molds. Cold air in cold, dry places can also be an irritant for people with asthma.

Hotel rooms often have large amounts of dust mites and molds in carpeting, mattresses and cloth furniture. When making reservations, ask if there are allergy-proof rooms available. If you are sensitive to molds, ask for a sunny, dry room away from areas near indoor pools. If you have allergies to any animals, ask for a room that has been pet-free. Bring your own dust-proof, zippered covers for pillows and mattresses. If staying in a cottage or cabin in the woods or near a beach, make sure to have it cleaned and aired-out before you arrive to cut back on the amount of dust mites and mold.

Last but certainly not least, be sure you have all necessary medications including EPI-pens as well as maintenance and emergency inhalers.

No matter where your travels take you this holiday season, we hope you have a safe and allergy-free trip!