Traveling With Allergies? Pack a Plan, Too

Respiratory group offers tips to limit unwelcome companions such as pollen, pollution

MONDAY, May 28, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- If you have allergies or asthma, you need to plan ahead when you travel this summer in order to minimize situations that may trigger an attack and ruin your vacation, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

The academy offers the following advice:

  • Before embarking on a long road trip, turn on the car's air conditioner or heater and open the windows for at least 10 minutes before you get in the car. This will help clear out dust mites or molds that may be in the car's climate control system.
  • If you have pollen or mold allergies, close the car windows and use the air conditioning while you travel.
  • You can reduce your exposure to air pollution by traveling early in the morning or in the evening, when air quality is better and there's less heavy traffic.
  • Try to get allergy-proof rooms at hotels. If you're sensitive to molds, get a sunny, dry room away from indoor pools.
  • If you have food allergies, be extremely cautious about eating airline or restaurant food, which may not list the ingredients. Always carry injectable epinephrine is case you have a severe allergic reaction.
  • If you're going on a long vacation, consider seeing an allergist/immunologist for a pre-trip physical.
  • Air travel can cause significant pain for people with sinusitis, or a sinus or ear infection. If possible, delay flying. If you suffer severe sinus or ear pain while flying, take a short-acting oral decongestant or use a nasal spray decongestant about an hour before takeoff.
  • The air in planes can be very dry, so use saline nasal spray once every hour to keep you nasal membranes moist.
  • When packing for a trip, be sure to include all necessary medications. Bring more than you think you'll need and store them in their original containers.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has more about asthma and allergy prevention.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, May 2007
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