Whether it’s an overseas vacation, a trip to the beach or a getaway in the country, safe 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.
Asthma flares and allergic reactions can occur without warning, and managing these conditions during travel can add stress to a time meant for relaxation. 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.
If you or your child have food allergies, plan your travel meals and snacks, and pack extra food in case of delays. On car trips, packing a picnic lunch provides the added benefit of giving kids a chance to run around and release energy. Try to stay at hotels with a kitchen and a refrigerator to store safe snacks and meals.
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.
Automobiles. 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.
Lodging. 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. 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.
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