Each year, millions of people — including some of the nation’s 50 million allergy-sufferers — hit the road for business trips and vacations. As if traveling itself isn’t stressful enough, allergy-sufferers often experience added tension from having to manage their conditions on the go and when staying in unfamiliar settings.
Steven Hong, president of Sylvane.com, knows this stress all too well. “When I’m going on a trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure, I have to remember to prepare for unexpected allergy triggers wherever I go,” he says. Hong suffers from a variety of indoor and outdoor allergies, including dust mite, tree pollen, grass, and ragweed allergies. “Aggravated symptoms can make any trip very unpleasant. Therefore, it’s important to prepare ahead of time to help cut your risk of an allergy attack.”
To help others like him keep allergies under control during travel, Hong offers these 5 tips for preparation and relief.
- Study up on the air quality forecasts before you depart. Weather.com provides pollen count, allergen, and air quality forecast maps that are updated daily. Check the statistics for your destination before you leave and pack the appropriate types of allergy relief. When possible, try to schedule your trip at times when the air quality in your destination is highest, and have a look at our guide to hypoallergenic hotel chains.
- Take specific precautions depending on your mode of transportation.
- When traveling by car, open the windows and run the air conditioner about 10 minutes before you get inside. This will help get rid of any dust mites or mold spores that have taken up residence inside the air conditioning system. When driving, keep the windows closed to lock out pollen and other allergens and set the car’s air conditioner to re-circulate air internally instead of pulling air in from the outside.
- When traveling by plane, remember to pack all allergy medications in your carry-on bag in case you need them during the flight. If you suffer from nasal allergies, which can become aggravated by dry cabin air, pack a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages moist. To relieve sinus pressure during the flight, chew gum, drink liquids, and swallow frequently.
- When traveling by ship, research air quality and possible allergy triggers in your destination(s) ahead of time and prepare accordingly. If you are heading to a warm, humid climate, you may encounter high levels of congestion-causing pollen and mold. On the contrary, the dry air found in colder climates might irritate existing respiratory conditions. You may also want to ask about the availability of adequate medical care onboard if you experience heightened symptoms.
- Get dust mite-free rest anywhere with protective bedding. Hotel beds are notorious breeding grounds for dust mites. The same goes for beds in guest bedrooms that may not be used very frequently. One way to protect against these microscopic allergy-triggers is to bring your own dust mite proof bedding. AllerSoft allergy bedding includes pillow covers and mattress covers designed to stop dust mites already living inside pillows and mattresses from breaking through and invading you while you sleep. These linens can easily be rolled up to fit snugly in a suitcase.
- Zap away allergens and germs with a travel-size UV sanitizer. Keep your immediate surroundings clean and allergen-free with a handheld ultraviolet sanitizer, such as the Verilux UV-C Sanitizing Travel Wand. The wand uses natural UV-C light, not irritating chemicals, to kill germs, bacteria, viruses, dust mites, and mold spores. Use it to zap away germs and allergens from hotel bedding, toilet seats, countertops, bathroom fixtures, and more. The slim wand measures 12 in. in length and slides easily into a large purse or suitcase.
- Filter out unfamiliar irritants with a compact air purifier. Clean the air wherever you are with a personal-size air purifier, such as the BlueAir AirPod. Use this 1.8-lb. unit in your hotel room or guest room to filter out airborne allergens, cigarette smoke, and chemical irritants. The travel-friendly air cleaner uses a silent HEPA filter to capture even the smallest particles with little noise disturbance. For extra filtration, run the room’s air conditioner when possible to help clean the air through the system’s air filter.
“In addition to these tips, it’s important to consult with your doctor or allergist before your trip to find out their recommendations for handling your symptoms while you travel,” Hong says. “He or she can also recommend an allergist who practices in your destination should you find yourself in need of medical attention.”
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