Preparation and prevention pave the way to successful travel for the millions who have allergies and asthma. We have the following tips to help you keep your symptoms under control while you're on vacation.
- Consider an allergen-free destination. Beaches and mountains are excellent year-round destinations for allergy sufferers. Ocean breezes are generally free of allergens, dust mites are fewer at elevations above 2,500 feet, and mold spores can't survive in snow.
- Check weather and pollen forecasts and plan accordingly. For example, if you're allergic to ragweed, New York can be significantly better in early August compared to later in the month.
- Pack allergy and asthma gear. If you’re flying, bring medications in carry-on luggage, in their original packaging. Include quick-relief medications for asthma and two epinephrine auto-injectors if you or a family member has food or insect sting allergies. Don't forget topical hydrocortisone cream, an antihistamine, and your peak flow meter and nebulizer. Consider packing your own mite-proof pillowcases and bring baby wipes for cleaning trays and tables if you have food allergies.
- Talk to your allergist. Checking in with your allergist before departure is especially important if you'll be traveling abroad and may need vaccinations or immunizations. Discuss where you're going and what activities you may do. For example, locations with elevations above 5,000 feet may make breathing difficult and cold weather can be a trigger for asthma patients. People with asthma should also talk with an allergist before engaging in activities such as scuba diving.
- Check access to medical care. If you are going to a remote location or on a cruise, ask in advance about the type of medical care available.