Healthy Traveling for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers
Since allergies and asthma respond to your environment, it is important to plan ahead for trips that include environmental changes.
Dust mites, mold, pollen, VOCs, and other allergens can be found in automobiles, buses, and trains. Toxic VOC levels are especially high in new cars. Before embarking on a road trip, air out your automobile to reduce allergen and VOC levels. If you're allergic to an outdoor allergen like pollen or mold, keep your car windows up and run the air conditioner. For the cleanest possible air in your automobile, use a portable HEPA air purifier with a VOC filter.
Cigarette smoke and air pollution exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms as well. Try to travel in the early morning or late evening since this is when the outdoor air quality is best. If you have asthma and use a nebulizer, take a portable one that plugs into your cigarette lighterand don't forget your peak flow meter.
When traveling by air, be sure to prearrange supplemental oxygen if you think you may need it, and if you have food allergies (or even if you don't), be extremely cautious when eating airline food. Carry your epinephrine auto-injector in case of anaphylaxis.
Air quality on airplanes is notoriously poor and often includes germs as well as contaminants like heated oils, hydraulic fluids, and pesticides. Filter your airplane air with the Plane Clean Air Filter; it removes at least 99.5% of all bacteria, viruses, and allergens from your air stream.
Air travel can be especially tough on the sinuses and ears. Decongestants and even the act of chewing gum can help relieve pressure and pain. Airplane air is very dry, and saline nasal spray will help keep your nasal passages moist. If you're planning a cruise, find out about medical care onboard the ship before you leave.
Hotel rooms often house booming dust mite populations, so if you're allergic to dust mites, you'll want to bring your own dust mite covers. A portable HEPA air purifier would also help. If you're allergic to mold, ask for a sunny, dry room away from swimming pools. Some hotels now have allergy-proof rooms that you can request.
When traveling to different a climate, be aware that the allergens in the air will change with the climate. Dust mites, mold, and pollen thrive in warm, damp environments. Cold, dry environments may trigger asthma.
Return to the Allergy Relief Learning Center