Whether your summer vacation plans include the beach, a road trip or camping, one thing’s for sure — suffering from allergy and asthma symptoms can quickly interrupt a good time.
If you’re among the millions of people with allergies or asthma, a little preparation will help make sure that sneezing and wheezing don’t derail your vacation fun.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and its member allergists — doctors who specialize in treating allergies and asthma — offer the following checklist to keep the conditions at bay while you’re on vacation:
Destination makes a difference. The beach and mountains are excellent year-round destinations for allergy sufferers. Ocean breezes are generally free of allergens, dust mites are fewer at elevations above 2,500 feet and mold spores can’t survive in snow.
Pack it to go. In addition to your favorite flip-flops, consider packing these items to keep conditions in check: medications in their original bottles; quick-relief medications for asthma and an epinephrine auto-injector if you or a family member has food or insect-sting allergies; topical cortisone cream; an antihistamine; mite-proof pillowcases; your peak flow meter and nebulizer; baby wipes for cleaning; and information on your food allergies translated for chefs in foreign countries.
Ask the doctor. Get your allergy shot before your vacation, or ask your allergist for a referral. Also discuss your destination and activity plan with your allergist before departure.
Home away from home. Request a non-smoking, pet-free hotel room and rental car. Air conditioners and portable air cleaners with HEPA filters, and tile, wood or seamless vinyl floors reduce airborne allergens. If you have food allergies, consider reserving a room with a kitchen.
Camp bound kids. If your kids are headed for camp, write down and inform staff ahead of time about their asthma and allergies. Send a list of medications and dosing instructions, including an action plan and notarized permission slip authorizing emergency care. Warn staff against giving an asthmatic child aspirin, which can trigger a life-threatening reaction. For air travel, pack medications and devices in a carry-on bag.
Visit Allergy And Asthma Relief for more information and to complete a free self-test to assess the severity of your asthma or allergies and receive a personalized “Relief Plan.”