People with allergies are often reluctant to travel because of the uncertainty of their new conditions. Will they be exposed to certain pollens that will trigger allergies? If they have food allergies, will they be able to steer clear of trigger foods when they are eating at new restaurants? If they do react, can they get adequate medical help?
Fortunately, if you have allergies, there are a number of precautions that you can take to make traveling safer. Here are some ideas to make your next vacation or business trip worry-free:
- Pack your medications. Before you leave the house, make sure that you have enough medication to last through your entire trip. Pack your meds in your carry-on luggage so you can access them easily. If you have liquid medications, make sure that the size of the bottle complies with TSA regulations.
- Check the expiration dates of your medications before you start your trip. You may find it difficult to refill your prescription—especially if you are in a foreign country. Request refills before you leave if you are getting low.
- If you will be traveling with an adrenaline injector, make sure that you are familiar with its use. It’s also a good idea to travel with a companion who has been educated on how to use the injector. And make sure that you have a backup injector just in case yours fails.
- If you have severe allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet.
- If you are traveling to a place where English is not commonly spoken, learn a few essential phrases in the country’s primary language. If you are concerned about committing them to memory, write them on cards. For example, you could write down a question for your waiter to help you find out if certain menu items contain foods that trigger your allergies.
- If you have food allergies, stick to familiar foods. If you don’t recognize what you are served, exercise caution.
- Take some non-perishable snacks when you travel. This will give you something to eat when you cannot find food that you are familiar with.
- 9-1-1 doesn’t work in all countries. Find out how to contact the emergency medical service in the area you are visiting. You never know when you might need it.
Planning ahead will give you peace of mind and allow you to travel without incident. If you are receiving allergy immunotherapy and travel frequently, you might find it difficult to get your allergy shots regularly. For people on the go, an alternative known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is often the best option. SLIT works a lot like allergy shots only the allergy serum is dispensed under the tongue rather than injected into the skin. Allergy drops are safer than shots so they can be taken on the go rather than at the doctor’s office.