Whether it’s an overseas vacation, a trip to the beach, or a getaway in the country, safe summer travel for people with asthma and allergies starts with sound planning.
Prior to your trip, schedule a checkup with your primary care physician or board-certified allergist and discuss your travel plans. Ask if there are steps you can take to prevent symptoms, review your asthma or anaphylaxis action plan, and request prescription refills.
“Asthma flares and allergic reactions can occur without warning, and managing these conditions during travel can add stress to a time meant for relaxation,” says Tonya Winders, president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “If your asthma and allergies are managed well at home, apply the same approach on vacation. Realistic and practical planning, such as packing extra medication or calling restaurants to find out if they accommodate food allergies, can help prepare you for potential medical emergencies and ease anxiety.”
Pack medical equipment, such as a nebulizer and peak flow meter, along with medication. Bring important healthcare documents, including your action plan, health insurance information, and your doctor’s telephone number. Also, research where hospitals and pharmacies are located at your travel destination.
“If you or your child have food allergies, plan your travel meals and snacks, and pack extra food in case of delays,” says Amanda Painter, a volunteer with The Network’s Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE) program in Maryville, Tennessee and South Chapter Coordinator for the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee. “On car trips, packing a picnic lunch provides the added benefit of giving kids a chance to run around and release energy. We also try to stay at hotels with a kitchen and a refrigerator to store safe snacks and meals.”
More travel tips from The Network:
Planes and Trains
- Request special accommodations for food allergies when making your reservation and again when you board. Request an allergen-free meal or bring one with you. When you arrive at your seat, clean the tray table and arm rests with a sanitary wipe.
- Pack emergency medications such as bronchodilator inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors in carry-on luggage and keep it with you instead of storing it in overhead bins.
- Drink plenty of water during air travel, as dry air on planes can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms.
- Ask to sit as far away as possible from passengers traveling with their pets.
- Give the inside of your vehicle a thorough cleaning prior to your trip.
- Travel during early morning or late evening hours when air quality is better and traffic is lighter.
- Use air conditioning and keep it on recycle so that outside air doesn’t come in.
When choosing a hotel, ask about allergy-friendly rooms. Many now offer state-of-the-art air purifiers, mattress and pillow encasings, and cleaning products to remove harmful allergens and irritants such as bacteria, dust mites, and airborne mold, according to PURE Solutions, a Buffalo, New York-based company that develops PURE Rooms around the world.
Allergy & Asthma Network has partnered with PURE Solutions to provide travel information for people with allergies and asthma on The Network’s website: AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org/category/travel-tips.
- Choose a hotel that is smoke-free and pet-free, and if a PURE Room is not available, request a nonsmoking or no-pet room.
- Avoid first-floor rooms where you might be exposed to car fumes from the parking lot, and request a room away from the hotel pool to avoid harsh chemicals used in pool cleaning.
- Don’t hesitate to ask to be moved to a cleaner room if you find signs of dust, pet hair, mold, or other allergens.
Search for hotels that have allergy-friendly rooms or book one at pureroom.com.
Learn more about traveling with food allergies at joinfacet.com/facet-advocate-blog/road-trip-tips-traveling-with-food-allergies.
Source: Allergy & Asthma Network