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10 Tips for Traveling With Allergies and Asthma

If you’ve been successful in controlling your allergies or asthma for a while, odds are you’re taking your meds regularly, using your inhalers as prescribed, and steering clear of allergen-producing zones or activities when necessary.

And when you’re traveling, you may throw all these measures out the window as your daily routine and environment changes. Your destination site may not have the same first-rate filtration system attached to their heating or air conditioning units that you have at home. And it isn’t likely your hotel will supply those nifty, allergen-resistant pillow covers that keep dust mites, bed bugs, and other skin allergens from spoiling your sleep.

So, what’s the answer? Should you skip the trip? Nah. Dr. Rahimi is happy to provide 10 common sense tips for traveling with allergies and asthma that will help keep your symptoms  under control during your journey.

  1. Phone ahead.

Making your reservations online is time-saving, but booking a flight or a hotel room via the internet is not always the best way to get or give information when you have allergies or asthma. It usually takes a phone call to get your point across.

If, for instance, animal dander is your nemesis, explain your allergy, and ask about pet-free zones on the plane or in the hotel. Make sure they include an allergy alert on your paperwork. Ask for a sunny, south-facing room if you’re sensitive to mold and mildew. Request that your room be tagged with an allergy alert regarding cleaning products.

  1. Update your immunizations.

When you travel, you’re exposed to a lot of new viruses and bugs and, with allergies and asthma, are much more susceptible to these germs. Schedule a checkup with Dr. Rahimi several weeks before your trip to make sure your flu shot and other immunizations are up-to-date.

  1. Change rooms or seats when necessary.

Don’t try to tough it out through a flight, train ride, or hotel stay. Ask for a seat or room change immediately if you feel your allergy symptoms or asthma issues kicking in or notice a hint of cigarette smoke when you enter your hotel room.

  1. Pack your meds carefully, and keep them close.

Bring along all your medications, even those you only take occasionally or “as needed.” Bring backups if you can. Keep them in their original packaging. If you’re traveling by plane, train or ship, place them in a clear storage bag inside your carry-on luggage.

Also make a list that includes the medications you take, the dose and frequency, and the doctor who prescribes them. Continue to take your medications as prescribed throughout your trip.

  1. Take your meds along when you’re sightseeing.

It’s easy to leave an inhaler or other important medication behind when you’re planning a day out and about, so get in the habit of carrying them with you as you explore.

  1. Travel with your own nifty, allergen-resistant pillow cover.

Slip one or several of these easy-to-fold pillow covers in your suitcase. They take up little room and help keep you breathing easy through the night.

  1. Enjoy the drive with the windows closed and the air conditioner humming.

If you’re planning a road trip, remember that lush landscapes with towering trees and glorious wildflowers can produce enough allergens to make you cry. Your car’s air conditioning can act as a filter, but be sure to set it to recirculate the air within the car rather than drawing air in from outside.   

  1. For food allergies, use chef’s allergy alert cards when you dine out.

These cards are available for a small fee from a variety of online locations and contain space to identify your food allergies. Hand them to your wait staff or hotel concierge staff to pass on to the chef.

  1. Pack your own snacks.

Whether you’re jogging through the airport to catch a flight or spending the afternoon window shopping in a cozy, seaside town, it’s sometimes hard to find food that mixes well with your allergies. Packing your own snacks can satisfy your hunger and keep your symptoms from flaring.

  1. Consider buying a medical alert bracelet.

These relatively inexpensive bracelets can alert bystanders and medical professionals regarding your allergies or asthma should you have an emergency.

If you’re planning a trip and wonder how it might affect your allergies or asthma, schedule a visit today with Dr. Rahimi for guidance.

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