Allergies on Vacation
If you or your child has allergies or asthma, planning can help you keep sneezes, sniffles, wheezing, and attacks under control while you're on vacation.
“This is particularly important whenever you’re away from home,” says Richard A. Nicklas, M.D., an allergy specialist in Washington, D.C. Dr. Nicklas is also a spokesman for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. You can’t always predict when you will have a reaction in a new place, he says. Make sure you have your medicines with you in case you need them.
Tips for travel
The following steps can help you and your family travel safely:
Meet with your doctor before you go. Let him or her know where you’re going and what medical care is available there. Work with your doctor to make sure you have what you need. Know what to do in case of an emergency reaction.
Pack your allergy medicines in your carry-on luggage. Be sure to check with your airline ahead of time to make sure this is allowed.
Check pollen forecasts for your vacation city. “Good vacation bets are the beach or mountains any time of the year,” says Dr. Nicklas. The wind coming off the ocean usually has few if any allergens. Dust mites can't live in the mountains. You can find current pollen and mold spore counts at http://www.aaaai.org. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also lists the worst U.S. cities for people with seasonal allergies. The list can be found at http://www.allergyactionplan.com.
Take extra care when you travel overseas. Carry your medicines in their original containers to ease your way through customs. If you use a portable nebulizer, find out if you will need to bring an electrical adapter.
Ask for an allergy-proof room at your hotel. If that's not available, ask for a nonsmoking room with air conditioning. If you’re sensitive to molds, ask for a room away from an indoor pool or hot tub.
Be especially alert if you have food allergies. You'll probably find foods that contain tiny amounts of allergens.
Plan for emergencies
If you have a potentially dangerous food allergy, your doctor may tell you to take along an epinephrine shot for emergencies. You should have one with you at all times.
If you’re traveling by air, an epinephrine shot is permitted on board. It must have a printed label from the pharmacy or drug maker stating the name of the medicine or the maker.
“You also should carry a letter from your doctor stating your medical condition and the need for you to carry your medication on board,” advises Dr. Nicklas.