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As fun as travel is, it can also come with its own stresses. If you have allergies or asthma, you may be worried about taking care of those conditions on top of everything else. In this blog, we’ll help ease your mind by talking about how best to care for allergies and asthma while you’re traveling.
What medicines do I need when I travel?
The best thing to do before you travel is make sure you take your medicines with you. If you receive immunotherapy, you may want to schedule a treatment appointment before you leave. If you’re taking a long vacation that might interfere with your normal immunotherapy schedule, make sure to discuss with your doctor how best to handle your treatment.
Otherwise, a doctor visit before your trip isn’t necessary. Daily use of over-the-counter medicines like Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort will deal with all your allergy symptoms, and you can’t get addicted to them.
If you need an inhaler for asthma, it could be a good idea to get your prescription refilled before you go so you don’t run out of medicine while you’re away. If you require equipment like a nebulizer, make sure you take it with you. Portable ones that run on batteries or that can be plugged into the 12-volt outlet in your car are available. This way, you can still use your nebulizer even if you are camping or somewhere else without electricity.
What prevention techniques can I use when I’m traveling?
If you have pollen or mold allergies and you are traveling by car, it might be a good idea to replace your air filters and clean the ventilation system. When you’re driving, keep the windows rolled up and let your air conditioner filter out the pollen, CEENTA ENT doctor Hunter Hoover, MD, said.
Despite what most people think, the air on planes is very clean. Planes use hospital-quality air filters that can protect you from not just allergens, but many other illnesses, too. In fact, it’s a great idea to keep your personal ventilator open, since it will keep the air directly around you circulating.
That said, people wearing strong perfumes and other scents could aggravate your breathing, since you’re sitting in such close proximity to them. If you find yourself reacting to someone’s scent, ask a flight attendant if you can switch seats.
If you are staying in a hotel room, try to avoid smoking rooms, since cigarette smoke can irritate your airway and cause an asthma flareup. If you have special hypoallergenic pillows, it might be best to bring them with you and use them instead of hotel pillows. However, if you have dust-mite-proof pillow cases, just bring those with you. If you use them, it doesn’t matter what pillows you sleep on.
You don’t need to worry about reacting to new allergens when you’re in a new environment, though. Allergies aren’t triggered the first time you interact with something like pollen. You have to be exposed to it repeatedly for your immune system to react to it and for allergies to develop. Also, if you’re away from home you won’t, for the most part, be around anything new long enough to develop allergies to it. As an added bonus, Dr. Hoover said, leaving your normal environment may make your allergies better because you’re around your normal allergens less.
“So just relax and enjoy your trip,” Dr. Hoover said.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Hoover practices in our SouthPark office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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