Traveling can be a great way to spend vacations and see the world. Spending time away from home, while rejuvenating, can also be concerning when you have allergies. Below are some tips for handling food and environmental allergies while away from home.
When traveling internationally, food allergies can be of particular concern.
Carry an allergy ID:
It is recommended to always have an allergy ID card on you. Information on this card should include your allergens, doctor’s office contact information and a list of any medications. This should include if you carry an epinephrine autoinjector on you.
As discussed in our previous dining out with allergies blog, this card can be presented to the chef when dining out while traveling.
Translate your allergies:
Language barriers can be especially difficult when you have an allergy. Take the time before your trip to translate your allergens into the primary languages of the countries you are visiting. It helps to have the allergens written down in that language and to practice how to say them. There are several online translators that can help you with the translation such as Google Translate.
Carry your medications:
Always carry your epinephrine autoinjector on you wherever you travel. Make sure it is included in your carry on if you are traveling by plane. Pack back-ups with you as well. When abroad, know what the local pharmacies are called and where the closest one is located to where you are staying. In addition to the closest pharmacy, knowing the closest hospital or doctors office can be helpful in an emergency.
Pack your own snacks:
There might be a point during your trip where you just do not feel comfortable eating due to allergy concerns. In those situations, it can be convenient to have your own snacks. Some hotels allow you to ship items to them prior to your arrival. Check with where you are staying and you could possibly ship a box of snacks for your visit.
Understand your environmental allergen:
You cannot always control the environment of where you are going. But you can use online pollen forecasts to help you plan your trip. Knowing when “high pollen” season is can help you pick the best time of year to visit your destination. You can also use these forecasts to determine if vacation day-to-day activities should be indoors or outdoors.
Control the pollen:
If pollen levels are going to be particularly heavy during your trip, wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep pollen out of your face. Shower at night to wash pollen off your body and hair, before bed. Use a nasal saline spray to flush pollen out of your nose.
Carry your medications (again):
Just with food allergies, bring all necessary medications with you on your trip. This includes decongestants and antihistamines. Really anything that you take when at home to control your environmental allergies, you should bring with you.
Bottom line – do not let food or environmental allergies keep you from getting out and exploring this big, beautiful world!