hornet-on-flowerThe summer season offers a great time to travel to places you couldn’t otherwise visit during the cold winter months. But before you start packing your bags, you should know that summer also brings with it an array of allergens, from the fully bloomed trees and green grass you see outside your window to the food you may eat during travels.

Preventing summer allergies when traveling can be challenging if you don’t know what types of allergens are actually out there. Let’s discuss some of the common causes of allergies during summer months.

One of the most common and notorious allergens is pollen. In fact, its presence can be felt no matter what season or time of year it is.

Being airborne, you can’t actually prevent pollen from triggering another allergic reactions.

  • For travelers, one option is to compromise by staying somewhere indoors when pollen count is at high levels.
  • Also, wearing large sunglasses and wide hats may help lessen the chances of pollen getting in your nose and eyes.

Insect stings
Insect stings can also trigger allergies. Mosquitoes, bees, hornets, and wasps thrive during the late weeks of summer until early fall.  If you’re traveling, you’ll most likely encounter one or two of these stingers.

  • While stings are much less common than other allergens, a bad sting can be life-threatening.
  • As much as possible, keep your body covered by wearing full sleeved clothes and avoid going outside with bare skin.
  • A good practice is to wear footwear at all times rather than walk barefoot in grassy terrains.

Poison Ivy
Poison ivy is another culprit for allergic attacks during the warmer months. Sensitivity to poison ivy and related plants are very common, yet most people have adapted to the environments where poison ivy are prevalent. If they do get it, they are able to seek treatment immediately without the condition getting serious.

Avoid Fruits That Can Cause Cross Reactions
Summer is synonymous with the thirst-quenching fruit juices like watermelon and coconut.

  • Unfortunately, some people who are allergic to specific pollen particles can suffer from a cross reaction after intake of these foods.
  • Melon, apple, and celery are some of the most common fruits known to cause this cross reaction.
  • If you’re on the road and are planning on trying some local fruits, make sure you consider the presence of allergens inside the fruit to avoid any unwanted effects and reactions.

Travel With Windows Closed To Reduce Exposure
When traveling, whether it be in a rental car or bus, some people keep their vehicle’s windows closed and the air conditioner continuously running.

  • This is a good practice to reduce exposure to allergens.
  • Make sure you maintain the car’s filter to maximize its efficiency in keeping the allergens outside and the indoor air fresh and clean.

Ask For Allergy Free Units In Hotels
If you are allergic to mold and are planning to stay in a hotel a good option would be to ask for a room that gets sufficient sunlight and is away from the swimming pool.

  • You could ask the hotel if they have any allergy-free units.
  • These rooms are outfitted with a mattress and synthetic pillow sheets, as well as bare floors without any tapestries.

Additional Tips
Many experienced travelers also pack certain things that will protect them from allergens during their travels. These include:

  • Allergy medication like antihistamine tablets and eye drops,
  • Copies of prescription medication in case they need refills, and
  • Saline nasal spray to keep their nostrils moist during the trip. Saline nasal spray helps lessen the pollen collected from your nostrils, which ultimately lessens sneezing and a runny nose.

Use these tips and tricks as you travel around the globe to keep yourself and your travel buddies safe and free from allergies.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michele Holincheck, FNP