Packing for Allergies: 8 Essential Tips for Travelling with Allergy Symptoms
1) Pack allergy medications
Refill prescriptions and/or over-the-counter medications for allergy symptoms like sinus pain and pressure. If you’ll be flying, a decongestant like Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) and saline sprays can be helpful to keep your nasal membranes moist.
Pack your medications, keeping their original labels on, and bring duplicate prescriptions if possible in case you lose any. When checking-in for your flight, make sure these medicines are in your carry-on luggage to prevent them from getting lost in transit.
You may be aware of the TSA rule of limiting liquids and creams to 3.4 oz. containers that altogether fit into a quart-sized zip-lock bag. Medically necessary liquids and creams are not subject to this restriction, but they will still need to be screened, so be sure to inform the TSA officer of any medications you may be carrying.
Not sure which medications to take with you? Check out this allergy medication decision tool. Common over-the-counter medications for seasonal allergies include Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), and Allegra (fexofenadine).
2) Pack health documents
Along with your medications, pack your health insurance card and documentation of your current medications, allergies, and other medical conditions. Carry these with you always while you’re on your trip.
3) Check the weather forecast
High pollen count and other weather conditions can exacerbate your allergy symptoms. Know what to expect by checking websites like www.weatherchannel.com (go to “More Forecasts” and select “Allergy Tracker”), www.pollen.com (US), and www.pollencount.com (Europe).
4) Pack anti-bacterial wipes
Pack travel-sized anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down tray tables, seat rests, and other surfaces that may contain allergens and harmful bacteria. And while on your trip, wash your hands and face after being outside in a pollen-rich environment.
When the immune system senses an allergen like pollen, immune cells produce antibodies that trigger the release of histamine and symptoms like sneezing, itching, and wheezing.
Traveling by car? Vacuum and wipe down the inside of your automobile to help get rid of dust mites, pollen, and mold in its upholstery and ventilation. If you have a newer car model, make sure the cabin filters are clean. Before you start driving, flush out any dust or mold inside the vents by rolling down the car’s windows and running the air conditioner for 10 minutes. Then, when you’re on the road, roll up your windows if you’re driving through high-pollen or polluted areas.
5) Specify your hotel room
When making hotel reservations, in addition to requesting a non-smoking room, ask for a room away from the pool and in a dry, sunny area to avoid mold and mildew.
6) Use hypoallergenic bedding
Pack a hypoallergenic pillowcase as hotel rooms can harbor dust mites, mold, and pet dander. Some hotels also carry hypoallergenic bedding, so be sure to ask when you make your reservation.
7) Stay hydrated
Stay hydrated, especially while traveling by plane. Air travel often means breathing dry, recycled air. In addition, avoid drinking booze on a flight, as alcohol can trigger your allergies.
8) Know where healthcare is
In case any emergencies come up, be prepared with addresses of the hospital, primary care clinic, and pharmacy closest to where you’ll be staying and keep your doctor’s contact information on hand for when you need to refill any prescriptions while on trip.
Last thing — enjoy your trip! With just a little foresight, you’ll be able to minimize the chances that your allergies will become a hassle and fully relish your vacation time.
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