For many people, the best time to go on a vacation is also the season when allergies are most common. Be it pollen, dust, or any other type of trigger; different allergens can ruin a perfectly beautiful day and turn what could have been a sweet holiday sour.
When it comes to allergies, proper management is key. So, if you or any of your loved ones have a sensitivity to animal dander, dust, pollen, or certain types of foods, it would be wise to work this into your vacation planning to avoid uncomfortable situations.
If you’re not sure how to do this, below are six secrets you must learn to plan an allergy-free vacation:
1. Know Your Allergens
If you don’t already do, it pays to determine what triggers your allergic reaction. Is it dust or pollen? Are you allergic to animal dander or maybe you need to avoid certain types of food?
Whatever it may be, it would be best to know the specific triggers that cause your allergic reactions. To do so, there are two types of sensitivity tests you can undergo:
Also called the “scratch test,” a skin test entails exposing an allergic person to small amounts of allergens.
Then, a medical practitioner will prick or scratch the outer layer of the skin. This area is later labeled based on what allergen was used. If it reddens and swells up into what looks like a mosquito bite, it means that the patient is allergic to that specific substance.
The skin test only takes roughly 15 minutes to produce results and is considered the most common sensitivity test available.
If a skin test cannot be done, doctors may recommend a blood test. Essentially, this test measures the total number of antibodies (IgE) present in the blood. These are the antibodies responsible for causing allergic reactions.
There are also IgE tests that measure the antibody level according to a specific allergen. The higher the IgE antibodies present in the blood, the higher the chances a person has an allergy.
But unlike skin tests, blood tests can yield results only after a few days.
2. Plan Around Your Allergy Triggers
After determining the cause, the next step is to know what you’ll potentially encounter during your vacation. A doctor should be able to recommend special precautions for you, but the following tips on the common allergy triggers can also help:
Even if you don’t have a pet, there will always be a chance that you’ll encounter one when going somewhere you don’t frequent. While you cannot avoid animals all the time, you can reduce these encounters by choosing a pet-free hotel.
Besides that, you can choose to fly with airlines that limit the number of animals allowed inside the cabin. You can also call ahead and ask for a seat away from passengers bringing their pets. Now, all you have to worry about is the service animals brought on the flight.
If you talk to them about your allergy, they may also allow you to board early to clean the space where you’ll be sitting. When doing so, remember to wipe down as many surfaces as you can with wet wipes, including the seat, tray table, armrests, and the handles on the overhead bins.
This also applies to other modes of transport like boats, trains, or even car rentals.
Pollen and Dust
If you’re allergic to pollen, checking forecasts specific to your destination may be necessary, as pollen season varies depending on where you are in the world. Only then can you plan your trip around your allergy trigger.
If your vacation involves a road trip, make sure that the vehicle air vent remains closed throughout the journey. This way, you’ll breathe recirculated air, keeping pollen and dust outside.
It would also be better to bring a portable vacuum to the car as these allergens can also cling to your clothing.
3. Dress for Protection
Speaking of clothing, some apparel can also help you avoid allergic reactions while on the go.
Whenever possible, wear slacks, long sleeves, and closed-toe shoes to lessen contact with irritants. Also, think about wearing glasses to shield your eyes from potential allergens. A scarf is also useful for covering your face when needed.
If you have access to a shower after going out, make sure you take a bath to wash away dust, pollen, animal dander, or any other irritant that may have caught on your skin.
4. Think About the Pillows
If you’re staying overnight or sleeping during your travels, you should also think about the pillows and other beddings you’ll use.
It would be best to bring your own blankets and travel pillows to avoid using those provided by airlines.
Some hotels also use feather pillows, which can mean hell for people with allergies. If this is the case, ask for those with synthetic fillers as they are hypoallergenic. You can also bring a plastic (to be used between the pillow and its case) and your own pillowcase from home.
5. Pick Your Destination Wisely
Whenever possible, choose destinations with fewer allergy triggers.
For example, pollen levels tend to be lower near bodies of water, like rivers, lakes, and beaches. Mountains and other elevated places approximately 2,500 feet above sea level are also great places to visit if you have dust allergies as dust mites don’t thrive there.
6. Always Bring Your Allergy Medication
If there’s one thing you have to be wary of regarding allergies, it’s the fact that they may come at any time and any place, no matter how much planning you do. This is especially true when you’re out on vacation somewhere you’re not familiar with.
In these cases, bringing your allergy medication is the best way to manage your allergies.
When flying to your vacation destination, avoid placing your allergy relief tablets and allergy shots in the overhead bin. Instead, place them inside your hand-carry bag and underneath the seat in front of you. Then, talk to the flight attendant about your allergy and show them the medicine should anything happen.
Relax to the Fullest
Vacations are meant to serve as a chance for you to de-stress and relax. But if you have allergies, it can be difficult to do so, especially when you’re on a holiday during allergy season. That is, of course, unless you know the secrets to an allergy-free vacation so you can enjoy your vacation.