MIAMI, FL – JULY 2013 – It is estimated by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that more than 20 million Americans have asthma and 50 million have allergies. Those who suffer from asthma and allergies can still enjoy a healthy summer vacation by planning ahead. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care (FCAAC) has created some tips to make sure you “breathe easier” during your summer travels.
If you are traveling by car, know that outdoor air pollution can make symptoms worse. Try to drive during the early morning or late evening when the air quality is often better and you can avoid heavy traffic. If you have pollen or mold allergies, close your windows and turn on the air-conditioning to “do not re-circulate” mode. If you use a nebulizer for your asthma, get a portable nebulizer.
If traveling by plane, use saline nasal spray once every hour to keep membranes in your nose moist because the air in planes is very dry, it will make you feel much more comfortable. If you have nasal allergies when flying, swallow or yawn in order to open up your ears and reduce the pressure that exists, and wear earplugs while you fly to keep air from getting inside your eardrum.
If you have asthma and plan to scuba dive, run, or try a strenuous sport don’t over-tax your body because it may be hard for your lungs to take. Be careful if you are thinking of going up mountains higher than 5,000 feet, as oxygen levels decrease.
Hotel rooms often have a lot of dust mites and molds in carpeting, mattresses and upholstered furniture. Fumes from cleaning products may also cause problems. Ask for a “green” room if available. If you are allergic to dust mites, you may want to bring your own dust-proof, zippered covers. If you are sensitive to molds, request a sunny, dry room away from areas near indoor pools. Also, if you have allergies to any animals, ask about the hotel’s pet policy, and request a room that has been pet-free.
Before slipping into comfy hotel sheets make sure to check for bed bugs. If bitten by bed bugs they will make itchy, red, swollen welts on your body and can cause severe allergic reactions. Make sure to pull off the bottom, fitted sheet and check the mattress with your eyes and fingers. Examine the headboard, drawers and frames on walls to check for live bugs. If you see white powder in the drawers or headboard, it could mean the room was recently exterminated for bed bugs. If you suspect bed bugs in your room call hotel management immediately.
If you are heading camping this summer make sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and use mosquito repellant to avoid allergic reactions to mosquitos, poison oak, poison ivy and insect stings. You can also take an antihistamine to reduce symptoms of mosquito allergy. If you come into contact with poison ivy or oak, wash the exposed area with soap and water immediately. If you get stung by an insect, treat local reaction with ice packs and oral antihistamines; if it becomes a severe allergic reaction seek immediate medical care.
If your asthma or allergies have been acting up recently, get a checkup before you leave home so your doctor can adjust your medicine and try to get your condition back under control. In addition, bring your allergist’s phone number with you in case of an emergency. Many people who travel with asthma or allergies also recommend taking the time in advance to research the name and contact information of an allergist local to your destination, just in case you run into any serious problems away from home. By taking these essential steps, you’ll be able to travel with allergies and asthma without experiencing any unnecessary complications.
“Asthma and allergies should not stop you from a safe and fun vacation. Always follow your physician’s recommendations and plan your vacation according to them,” said Dr. Adriana Bonansea-Frances.
About Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been in business for more than 38 years and has board certified physicians with extensive experience in treating both adults and children. FCAAC has 18 centers throughout South Florida, serving communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Centers specialize in the testing and treatment of adults and children who suffer from allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system. Among the most common allergies treated are allergic skin diseases, food, drug and pet allergies. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care Research conducts clinical trials on new medications. The goal of the FCAAC team is to provide professional and quality care resulting in total patient satisfaction.
Editor’s Note: If you would be interested in interviewing Dr. Frances please let us know.