March 23, 2015 –
For those who suffer from seasonal or food allergies, traveling is not always such a simple task. Whether you’re planning a trip overseas or just a few states away, preparing to travel with allergies ahead of time can save you a great deal of time and frustration. Here are a few tips from Houston ENT doctors on how to make your life easier if allergies always seem to get in the way of your travel plans.
Carry an Allergy Card
When traveling with allergies, keeping an ID card of some kind containing a list of your allergies is often a very good idea, especially when traveling overseas. This card should also have your doctor’s name and phone number listed as well in case he or she needs to be contacted. In case of emergencies, always have an epinephrine injector ready along with a notice that indicates what it’s used for.
Prepare for Language Barriers
Be ready for the possibility of being in a region where English is not widely spoken. Consider compiling a list of words in the local language that correspond to food allergies you have or search online for any number of services that can print out a card for you. Google Translate can also come in very handy in certain circumstances. However, it’s often best to acquire the assistance of a local guide or translator who is willing to assist you during your stay. Even knowing just a few simple phrases can make a huge difference if allergies are a problem. Consider memorizing a few sentences that can easily summarize your allergy problems or give instructions to anyone regarding where to find your EpiPen injector if you get into trouble.
Bring Extra Medication
Anaphylaxis occurs when allergic reactions become dangerous, closing up the throat and making it difficult to breath. Carry additional epinephrine autoinjectors just in case you need more than one along with a doctor’s note to make the jobs of customs officials a little easier. Aside from epinephrine injectors, you may also want to take along antihistamine, decongestants, eye drops or any other medications you will need. It is important to bear in mind that all medications must be kept in their original containers before boarding any flights. Improperly packaged medication is not allowed by the Transportation Security Administration and it can be quite a roadblock to prepare all the medicine you will need only to discover you can’t take any of it with you on the trip.
Prepare for the Environment
If pollen, grass or other environmental allergens are your primary concern, do a little research to know what to expect in the area you are visiting. You may also consider scheduling an appointment with an allergist in order to determine what types of pollen may cause allergic reactions. Bring along a saline nasal solution when traveling to areas with increased levels of pollen. Another good tip is to wash your hair and completely change clothes before bed each night to ensure pollen doesn’t linger around in your hotel room or cling to your luggage.
Find a Local Allergy Specialist
One thing that can really help you plan out your vacation would be to research any local allergy specialists in the area you will be visiting. Knowing who to get in contact with and where to go if there ever was an emergency is a great precautionary measure to take. Consulting with a local specialist can be beneficial as they will be more familiar with the allergens in the region. Finding a doctor that accommodates same day appointments or speaks your native language would be best.
Check Ahead Before Eating Out
Don’t hesitate to call various restaurants in the area you will be visiting to see what menu items you can eat or if the staff is equipped to handle customers with your food allergies. Higher end restaurants will likely have more experience handling customers with food allergies and can accommodate your needs much more easily. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how food is prepared or what kind of possible allergens may exist in the kitchen. If you’re in doubt, it’s usually best to select a different place to eat.
Select an Allergy-Friendly Hotel Accommodation
The best hotel for you should offer hypoallergenic pillows and provide clean rooms that provide a safe refuge from environmental allergens. Check to make sure your room is located away from the smoking rooms and, for those sensitive to mold, ask for a room situated away from the pool area. Finally, ask about the hotel’s pet policy. Even if a room was thoroughly cleaned before your arrival, pet dander may still be in the room and can potentially cause some problems. It’s best to have these concerns addressed long before you land so you can rest easy after the long flight.
Overall, preparation is key to enjoying your vacation and ensuring you have everything you could possibly need before boarding the flight can make a huge difference. By keeping these tips in mind before going on your next adventure, allergies won’t be a constant obstacle to contend with, allowing you to enjoy the sights and sounds of your next destination without any worries.
By: Jennifer Matthews
Houston Sinus & Allergy specializes in treating nasal and sinus conditions and providing allergy care. They do have walk-in appointments available for travelers who may be visiting the area.