Summer has officially arrived; vacation, that special time of year is scheduled for many. This time away could be a family vacation traveling by car or by plane to visit relatives or friends within the U.S. or it could be that special trip abroad. Perhaps it is an exciting solo trip for your child to attend a camp away from home.
If you have allergies and asthma, advance preparation will help insure that you have a pleasant trip that includes controlled allergy and asthma symptoms and prevention of serious allergic reactions.
- Anticipate your allergy needs; check the pollen counts for the geographic area that you will be visiting. The following website lists a U.S. map with pollen counts by date: www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx
If you previously lived in a geographic area and had increased allergy symptoms during a specific time of year try to avoid visiting during those times. An example would be the person who grew up in the Midwest with a history of severe allergy symptoms every August and September during the ragweed season. Returning to the turf of your youth during August and September would likely cause you to remember why ragweed season was not an ideal visiting season for you.
- Take adequate medications along even though you are not taking them daily now. Make sure your medications are in-date and in adequate supply if for some reason your trip home is delayed. Keep all medications with you; do not pack medications including your inhalers or emergency medications in your luggage that will be checked through with your baggage at the airport.
- If you are allergic to cats, dogs and other indoor animals, check to make sure the homes that you are visiting are pet free or that you will have a pet free sleeping room. This would also apply to hotels where animals are allowed in the sleeping rooms.
- If exposure to mold causes you to have increased allergy and asthma symptoms, avoid basement sleeping rooms as they are often a source of mold, especially if carpet is installed over a concrete floor.
- Travelers who are severely allergic to foods or insect stings should have 2 of their emergency epinephrine self-injectors available at all times.
- Severe food allergies: carry safe snacks, create and carry a business-sized card to give to the waiter that lists your food allergies and state that your food must be cooked in a clean and safe area to avoid cross contamination. For a sample of cards in several languages visit www.faiusa.org and enter in the search line “food allergy cards”.
- Check with your Dr. when planning for your vacation, are your allergies and asthma in control, are you taking the appropriate medications to control and prevent your allergy and asthma symptoms? Should you start medications before you begin your trip that will help control your allergies and asthma? Do you have a written daily care plan and do you have an emergency plan?
Your preparation will assure that you and your family will have that special vacation that you deserve.