Dreaming of your summer vacation? Wondering how to keep asthma and allergies under control? Put some planning behind the dream.
Review your symptoms – how often are they occurring? How well are you sleeping at night? Are you having trouble exercising? If your allergies or asthma aren’t under control, talk about revising your treatment plan. The first step to being healthy on vacation is being healthy at home.
Discuss your travel plans and possible exposure to allergens, irritants or climate changes. Ask if there are steps you can take to prevent symptoms.
Find out the best way to contact your allergy specialist if you need help while away. Our office has a patient portal, allowing you to send us a secure email from anywhere. Request prescription refills.
If you or your child uses a nebulizer, either on a regular basis or during asthma flares, request a prescription for a small, battery-powered unit that's easy to carry. These are available through many online allergy supply stores and some medical equipment stores.
Research hotels at your destination. Do they allow pets? What's the air conditioning like? Do they offer allergy-friendly rooms, with air cleaners and dust-mite-proof bedding? Book rooms away from pools and parking lots, to reduce exposure to chemicals and exhaust.
Get a copy of your Asthma Action Plan or Anaphylaxis Emergency Action Plan – one for your suitcase, one to carry with you, more if you might need it for caregivers. Make sure it has your doctor's contact information. Review how to use your EpiPen and make sure it is current and has not expired.
List of all the medications you and your family members take – brand names, generic names and dosages, in case you need to replace them during your trip.
Review your health insurance information. Check the out-of-town coverage and consider travel insurance if necessary.
Make sure you have refilled all your daily, quick relief and emergency medications and have backups and extras, especially if you are traveling abroad. If you need permission from your insurance company to fill prescriptions early, your pharmacist may be able to help.
Talk with your pharmacist about the best way to store medications during travel. Do any need to be refrigerated? Protected in Ziploc bags? Instructions for most medicines recommend storing them at room temperature (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). Most medicines, including inhalers, can withstand short periods of time in heat or cold – and they do this more efficiently when they're fresh, rather than nearing their expiration date.
Research hospitals and pharmacies at your travel destination and along your route. Print out online maps showing their location and keep them with your medical papers; also store information on your phone or GPS device.
Plan how you intend to pack your medications and medical equipment so it can always be nearby. If flying, put all your medications in your carry-on luggage and keep them with you at your seat instead of the overhead bin.
If flying with food allergies, contact the airline to ask about special accommodations such as early boarding to wipe down seats or flight-specific replacement of peanut snacks. Some information can be found on airline websites (print this out to show airport staff); other times you may have to call customer service.
Pack enough food and water to last in case of travel delays. You don't want to be stuck on an airplane runway or delayed train without your medicine or other supplies.
If you have any questions about how to manage your allergies and/or asthma or if you are not sure what steps you should be taking to keep allergies from disrupting your summer travel plans, please let us know. We are here to help keep you healthy and allergy free, all summer long.Download July 2016 Newsletter (opens in PDF)