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’d 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 some tips for preventing your allergy symptoms from spoiling your travel plans.
[Related: How to Sleep Better While Traveling]
Remember: Location, Location, Location
Not all destinations are equally allergenic.
When traveling with allergies, research your potential destination’s summer mold and pollen counts before you book. If pollen swamps or mold spores overrun an area in the summer, it may be better to save that trip for another season.
For example, if you’ve had the urge to explore more southern states, 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 summertime allergy hotspots.
Some allergy-friendly locations for summer travel can include the mountains. The cooler, drier air in the higher altitudes of mountainous regions — such as the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians or Sierra Nevada — helps keep pollen counts down.
Coastal locations like Santa Cruz, Honolulu, Miami or Key West are also good bets for travelers with plant allergies — sea winds blow pollen farther inland. However, the damper climate can also mean higher mold counts, which can trigger allergies.
[Related: How To Avoid Hotel Room Allergies]
Choose a Hypoallergenic Hotel
It’s a pleasant surprise! Many major hotel chains now offer hypoallergenic rooms for guests with asthma or those traveling with allergies.
These rooms do tend to cost a bit more. However, hotels outfit them with hypoallergenic bedding and linens, and they often use a separate ventilation system to avoid cross-contamination with standard rooms. Hotel staff also deep-clean these rooms regularly to prevent allergen buildup.
If your destination lacks hotels with hypoallergenic rooms, or if your budget doesn’t fit such accommodations, ask for a pet- and smoke-free room away from the pool. Keeping a bit of distance can reduce the chances of the room triggering your allergies.
Bringing your hypoallergenic pillow cover from home can also help keep the dust in your pillows from irritating your allergies.
Use Air Conditioning
If you’re traveling with allergies and headed somewhere warm, use air conditioning to beat the heat. Rolling down or opening windows will only increase your chances of pollen exposure.
In the car, run the air conditioner for 10 minutes before you leave, and make sure the vents work properly before driving. At your hotel or lodgings, keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on to reduce indoor pollen exposure.
Bring Your Own Sheets and Pillow
Another way to avoid triggering your allergies while on vacation is to bring your own bedding. Dust mites are a common issue in certain motels and hotels. To avoid those nasty dust mites, pack your own hypoallergenic pillow, pillowcase and sheets.
[Related: Traveling With a CPAP Machine]
Stock Up on Medication
Depending on where you’re traveling, you might not have easy access to a pharmacy or doctor. In that case, make sure to stock up and have a large supply of your allergy medicine — including saline spray — available for the duration of your trip.
If you’re going on an airplane, the pressurized cabin air can irritate your sinuses. Pack items like antihistamines, inhalers and saline spray in your carry-on bag. That way, you’ll have them on hand when you need them in the air.
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.
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 you’ll be there. If the counts are high, choose one of your indoor activities to minimize your exposure. Naturally, save outdoor activities for days when 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 activity, stop at your hotel for a shower and wardrobe refresh before the next event to keep allergens off your hair and skin.
[Related: Guide to Seasonal Allergy Triggers]
Contact a Certified Allergist
While these six tips can help keep your allergies under control while on vacation, your allergies will still be waiting for you at home. Sorry for the downer.
These preventive measures can provide temporary relief of your symptoms while traveling with allergies, but you need to seek treatment from a certified allergist to find a long-term solution.
At Pasha Snoring & Sinus Center, Dr. Pasha helps patients break the cycle of managing their symptoms every allergy season by identifying and treating allergies at their source. Let our ENT specialist help you today, and leave allergies behind once and for all!
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