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Summer vacations are a chance to take a break from our usual routines, explore new places, and check exciting experiences off our bucket lists. However, being surprised by allergies can leave you wishing you had stayed home instead of enjoying the sights. Careful planning before your trip and strategizing while you’re there can help stop allergies from overtaking your vacation. Here are three tips for preventing your allergy symptoms from spoiling your summer travel plans:

1. Location, location, location.

Not all destinations are equally allergenic. Research your potential destination’s summer mold and pollen counts before you book your trip. If an area is swamped by pollen or overrun with mold spores in the summer months, it may be better to save that trip for another season.

For example, if you’ve had the urge to explore the other parts of the South, summer may not be the best time to visit. Warmer temperatures and humid climates in states like Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia extend trees and plants’ pollination seasons, making these locales allergy hotspots in summer.

Some allergy-friendly locations during the summer can include the mountains. The cooler, drier air in the higher altitudes of mountain regions such as the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians, or Sierra Nevada, help keep pollen counts down. Coastal locations such as Santa Cruz, Honolulu, Miami, or Key West are also a good bet for travelers with plant allergies, as sea winds blow pollen farther inland. However, the damper climate can also mean higher counts for mold, which can trigger some people’s allergies.

2. Choose a hypoallergenic hotel.

Many major hotel chains now offer hypoallergenic rooms for guests with asthma or allergies. These rooms tend to cost a bit more but are outfitted with hypoallergenic bedding and linens and often use a separate ventilation system to avoid cross-contamination with standard rooms. These rooms are also deep-cleaned regularly to prevent allergen buildup.

If your destination lacks hotels with hypoallergenic rooms, or such accommodations aren’t within your budget, asking for a pet and smoke-free room away from the pool can help reduce the chances of your room triggering your allergies. Bringing your hypoallergenic pillow cover from home can also help keep the dust in your pillows from irritating your allergies.

3. Plan activities around pollen and mold counts.

It’s common to plan vacation activities beforehand, but employing a little extra strategy during this planning can help keep your allergies in check on your trip. Make a list of indoor and outdoor activities and sights to see at your destination. Give yourself enough options that you could spend the entire trip outside or inside depending on the weather. Once you reach your destination, check the pollen and mold counts for each day. If the counts are high, choose one of your indoor activities to minimize your exposure. Save outdoor activities for days when the pollen counts are lowest.

If there’s an outdoor activity on a certain day that you absolutely can’t miss, pack an extra outfit for that day. After the event, stop at your hotel for a shower and wardrobe change before the next activity to keep allergens off of your hair and skin.

While these three tips can help keep your allergies under control while on vacation, your allergies will still be waiting for you at home. These preventative measures can provide temporary relief of your symptoms but to find a long-term solution you need to seek treatment from a certified allergist. Dr. Pasha helps patients break the cycle of managing their symptoms every allergy season by identifying and treating allergies at their source. Leave allergies behind once and for all, let our ENT specialist help you today.