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If someone in your family has asthma or allergies, planning a trip requires some extra planning to keep sneezing, coughing, and wheezing to a minimum.
Allergies are reactions by the immune system to something in the environment that the body perceives as harmful. That trigger substance is your allergen. When an allergen comes in contact with your immune system, the body launches defenses in the form of an antibody particle called IgE. IgE battles the invading allergen by creating a variety of symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, or watery eyes. In a serious allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, the mouth or lips may become swollen, and the airways may close down, making it difficult to breathe.
Consider these tips to help plan around your allergies:
Pollens - If you have a seasonal allergy to particular plants, you’ll want to travel at times when pollen counts at your intended vacation spot are low. For example, ragweed tends to pollinate in August, so if you are allergic to ragweed, avoid planning a trip to an area where ragweed is prevalent during that month.
Molds and dust - A trip to the ocean or to the mountains may be a good choice for people with mold or dust allergy. Mold is killed by freezing temperatures such as those found in the mountains at certain times of year. Breezes coming off the ocean help keep beaches free from pollens and other allergens including dust.
Insects – If you are allergic to insect venom such as bee or wasp stings, a camping trip or other outdoor adventure may not be your best choice. If you decide to make the trip, plan for cooler temperatures and times of year when plants are not blooming so insect activity will be at a minimum.
Food – If you have a food allergy, the location of your trip may be less significant than finding appropriate places to eat that are willing to accommodate your food allergy. Call ahead to confirm menu items are available that eliminate your allergen and for restaurant policies about special orders to eliminate a particular food.