Travelling with an allergy

Designed to raise awareness of people living with allergies, Allergy Awareness Week runs from Monday April 23 to Sunday April 29, 2018. And this year, the campaign’s focus is on travelling with an allergy.

Holiday season is just around the corner. But for many people living with allergies – or parents with children who have allergies – the annual summer trip can be more stressful than enjoyable. After all it’s one thing to be in control of your allergy triggers while you’re at home, but trying to avoid them in an environment you’re not used isn’t always straightforward.

According to Allergy UK – the charity that runs Allergy Awareness Week – the first thing you should do is take into account the suitability of your destination. If you’re planning to travel abroad and don’t speak the language, you may need translation cards in case of a medical emergency (you can download these from Allergy UK’s website). It’s a good idea to find out where the nearest hospital is too, and to know in advance how to contact the emergency services in the country you’re visiting. Also don’t forget to get adequate travel insurance to cover any medical bills, and make sure your insurance covers medical costs for allergies.

Always take adequate supplies of your allergy medicines when you go on holiday (check the expiry dates on your medicines before you travel). It’s also advisable to take more medication that you need so that you’ll have enough if any of your medicines leak or get lost, as well as a copy of your prescription. Always keep essential medicines in your hand luggage – though if you have to carry an adrenaline auto-injector on an airplane, you may need a GP’s letter (check with your airline before you travel).

Meanwhile if you or anyone in your family has a food allergy, make sure your hotel can cater for you. But if you have a severe food allergy, your best option may be self-catering accommodation.

Here are some other tips you may find useful:

  • If you have a food allergy, tell your travel agent and airline well before you travel.
  • In some cases, however, it may be easier to take your own food to eat on the plane (snacks included).
  • Pack some wipes to clean hard surfaces such as tray tables on airplanes to remove any traces of food allergy triggers.
  • If you have a dust mite allergy, take your own anti-allergy mattress, pillow and duvet covers with you.
  • Make sure your accommodation is smoke free if your allergy causes breathing problems.
  • Similarly, make sure your accommodation doesn’t allow pets if you have a pet allergy.
  • Have your allergy medication with you at all times, not just when you’re on the move.
  • Take your medicines in their original packaging (this can make it easier when going through Customs).
  • Make sure your travel companions know about your allergy, including the things that may trigger it and any symptoms they should look out for.

Finally relax and enjoy yourself. Travelling with an allergy may seem stressful, but if you’re well prepared there’s no reason you can’t have a successful and stress-free trip.

For extra peace of mind, ask your local Careway pharmacist to recommend all the over-the-counter allergy medicines and any other health-related products you may need for your holiday. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

For more information on travelling with an allergy, visit www.allergyuk.org.