Don’t Let Pollen Ruin Your Spring Vacation

Road leads to SunsetWith the spring travel season in full swing, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has released its annual “2013 Spring Allergy Capitals” list. For the past 10 years, the AAFA has ranked the worst 100 continental U.S. cities for people with allergies. This year, Jackson, MS, takes top honors on the list. However, several popular vacation destinations made their way into the top 25, including Louisville, New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Chattanooga, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Knoxville. Furthermore, a Discovery Fit & Health article points out that the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern states are generally worse in the springtime for those with allergy sensitivities.

While these areas may be the worst offenders, no vacation destination can truly be allergy-free. Why? Well, just like many of us, pollen is pretty good at traveling. These tiny airborne particles can travel by wind, as well as by settling on the bodies of insects and other animals. Pollen can even be an unwelcome travel companion by settling on your clothes, in your hair, and even on your skin. Plus, regardless of your travel plans, there’s always the possibility of encountering mold and other allergens.

Fortunately, these simple tips can help you reduce pollen exposure and allergy symptoms so you can enjoy your vacation from beginning to end:

  1. Plan to vacation at a beach or on a cruise, if possible. These getaways tend to be easier on allergy sufferers.
  2. Monitor the pollen counts of your intended destination before and during your vacation.
  3. Don’t forget your medications and saline solution. Pack an emergency bag in your carry-on, just in case, and remember to bring any prescriptions for security purposes.
  4. Book an “allergy-free” room. To ensure guests’ comfort, many hotels now offer rooms designed specifically with the needs of those with allergies and chemical sensitivities in mind. For more information, check out our infographic about allergy-friendly hotel chains.
  5. Avoid outdoor activities during peak pollen hours. Pollen counts are typically at their worst between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sleep in, enjoy a relaxing breakfast, and then start your daily activities once the pollen begins to settle.
  6. Request a room away from the pool. Sure, it’s great to wake up and head straight to the pool, but the humidity that surrounds pools can cause mold growth.
  7. Keep your windows closed. Nothing says, “I’m on vacation,” like open windows and a breeze; however, these same actions can allow allergens to enter your vacation home or car.
  8. Bathe and wash your hair nightly. Just like at home, doing these things washes away pollen and other allergens, preventing them from remaining on bed sheets and in other areas of your room.

These are just a few tips to make your vacation as relaxing as possible, despite the onslaught of pollen that also accompanies warm spring weather.

What are your tips for traveling with allergies? Tell us about them in the comments.

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