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| Welcome to the May edition of the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter! It's the time of year when students are anticipating summer vacation, parents are planning trips, and allergy sufferers are worrying about whether they'll be able to survive outside of their home's allergy-controlled environment. My friend Lori recently purchased some encasings from us for her new mattress. She is so dust-mite sensitive that she cannot sleep soundly on unprotected mattresses in hotels or friends' homes, even for a few nights. I know there are many of you who can empathize with Lori's extreme allergy sensitivity - be it dust, mold or animal dander. While you may not be able to make allergy relief completely portable, read on to discover how you can make this summer-on-the-go more symptom free. |
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Katie Weaver & The National Allergy Newsletter Team
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Smart Allergy Tips For Summer Vacations
Maintaining A Healthy Car Environment
If you're like my friend Lori and can't sleep through the night without a mattress and pillows that are sealed off from dust mite allergen, then overnights away from home can be daunting. Here are some things to ask about when you're making vacation decisions. Does the hotel have rooms with hardwood or tile floors available?
Carpets are notorious repositories for all kinds of bacteria and allergens, and since you can't haul your HEPA vacuum on vacation with you, no carpet is best. Plus, newer carpets can off-gas and irritate chemically sensitive individuals.
Are dust-mite proof mattress and pillow covers available for guests?
Remember that if this service is not offered, you can always tote along a lightweight, allergen-proof cover. For pillows I recommend one of our washable fabrics like SatinSoft Supreme. If you need a mattress cover to-go, try our extremely lightweight, economical SofTEK2 material.
Does the hotel have in-room HEPA or other filtration systems?
Some newer hotels provide certain blocks of rooms with air filters as part of "allergy-free" or "healthy" rooms. You could also bring along the Vapor-Eze Clean Air 5000, a portable air filter that removes both allergens and odors. When you are away from your room air cleaner at home, this handy unit can be placed on a bedside table to provide clean air to your breathing space at night.
What is the hotel's pet policy?
If you are dander-sensitive you'll want to be sure that no pets have been staying in your room before you arrive.
Are air fresheners or other harsh chemicals used to clean rooms?
Those with chemical sensitivities should be particularly wary of chemical odors. Some hotels can accommodate those requesting chemical-free products.
Will the room have windows that can be opened?
A sure way to get rid of lingering chemical odors or stuffiness is to get fresh outside air circulating through. Of course, during pollen seasons, you may be best to limit your exposure to outdoor air.
If the room has a window air conditioner, can the filter be changed before arrival?
You can also bring a vent filtration kit to place over incoming air vents since many hotel ventilation systems harbor mold and other allergens.
Does the hotel have an indoor pool?
If it does, ask that your room not be located nearby since such rooms are more prone to moisture, mold and mildew.
Are there any Bed and Breakfast lodgings in the area we are visiting?
Sometimes these family-run, smaller establishments can be more accommodating to both environmental and food allergy concerns than larger chains.
Spending time on airplanes instills fear in many people, not because you are suspended at 30,000 ft. in a steel cylinder, but because planes are notorious for spreading germs. While more airline companies are cleaning up their cabin air, the environment can still seem a bit risky and uncomfortable for allergy sufferers and non-allergy sufferers alike. Here are some quick tips if you have to fly while suffering through a cold or sinus infection when ear and sinus pressure can be unbearable:
Always wear sunscreen. We all need to protect our skin from the summer sun's rays, particularly eczema sufferers who are sensitive to the sun and to the harsh chemicals in many sunscreens. Our Vanicream SPF 15 and SPF 30 creams contain no harsh chemicals and protect from even the sun's most harmful rays. Know the name and number of a local allergist and hospital. You can find doctor listings at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website (www.aaaai.org).
Bring your emergency epinephrine injection. It's hard to predict when a bee sting or restaurant meal will send an allergy sufferer into anaphylactic shock. This scary surprise can be treated with an EpiPen" or AniPen".
Don't forget converters on overseas trips. Most asthma and allergy care devices purchased in the U.S. use lower voltage than is standard in many international destinations. Plus, most other countries have differently shaped electrical outlets that require adapters. You wouldn't want to be without your nebulizer or HydroPulse Irrigator if you rely on them for relief. Note: Battery-powered portable nebulizers are a great travel-option for asthma-sufferers because they are smaller and don't need adapters. Some of the latest models fit snuggly into a purse and operate with standard AA batteries you can find anywhere.
Refill prescriptions before you go. It's better to have an ample supply than to risk having to refill while you're away. And when you travel with your allergy or asthma medications, make sure they are with your purse or carry-on baggage, and that they are well marked should security or customs officials have concerns.
When in doubt, call ahead. A simple call to hotels, or friends or relatives with whom you plan to stay with can prevent allergic reactions once you've arrived. Even when my husband and I visit at our cat-owning friends' townhouse for an evening, I ask that they run their air cleaner in the main living area for a day before we arrive. It helps tremendously. So, don't be shy about asking loved ones to run an air cleaner, vacuum and wash bedding before you and your family visit. They'll be happier if you're not miserable.
I hope these tips for summer travel have been helpful. We couldn't cover everything in this letter, so click on the following links for more specific tips about Travelling with Asthma and Travelling with Food Allergies. I hope you are looking forward to a fun, healthy summer!
This information is for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor first about your specific condition, treatment options and other health concerns you may have.
If you have additional questions about the content in this newsletter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of our phone experts at 1-800-522-1448.
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