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For the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, leaving the controlled environment of home for vacation could result in unintended consequences.
Keep healthy during a trip by planning ahead and understanding what triggers your allergy symptoms.
Before you go
Once you’ve settled on a vacation destination, prepare by refilling prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs and talk to your doctor about your plans, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Experts at the AAFA suggest researching your health insurance coverage, if applicable, in case you need medical treatment while out of town.
"Allergies can ruin a vacation or business trip at the least or be life-threatening at worst," Kenneth Mendez, AAFA’s President and CEO said in an email. "The thought of traveling with allergies may seem overwhelming, but there are steps you can take to ensure a safe and pleasant journey."
All medications should remain in their original packaging and should be stored in a purse or carry-on bag. If you are traveling by airplane, do not check any medicine or medical devices and remember to take them out of a bag that is gate checked at the last minute, said Dr. Yoon Kim, an allergist and immunologist with Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.
Kim also suggests packing your own linens as a way to control your sleeping environment while away. You could also ask the hotel about allergy-friendly rooms or floors.
“You can always bring your own pillowcases and dust mite covers,” Kim said. “They are not heavy things to pack.”
If you are using your own car to drive to your destination, Kim recommends changing air filters before a long trip and using air conditioning if possible.
For car rentals, Kim said to call ahead to request pet-free, smoke-free accommodations. Trains and airplanes should already be smoke-free in the United States, but cabins might not be pet-free. If you are concerned, contact the transportation company ahead of time to make special arrangements.
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During your trip
Do a quick inquiry of your surroundings to locate urgent care facilities, pharmacies and hospitals.
“You may want to check the pollen counts in the area and try to do indoor activities on high pollen count days,” Kim said. “Do outdoor activities when the pollen counts are lower.”
Keep in mind that your allergies may actually improve, depending on where you travel. However, Kim recommends continuing medications as prescribed, even if you don’t have symptoms.
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.
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