Smart Tips For Summer Allergies
Smart Allergy Tips For Summer Vacations
Maintaining A Healthy Car Environment
Research has shown that our cars harbor high concentrations of allergens like dust and dander, as well as mold, particularly those in hotter or more humid areas causing summer allergies to really flare. Here are some quick tips to prep your car for "Driving Allergy Free".
- Check under the hood. Believe it or not, grimy looking engines may also be harboring allergens like dust and mold spores.
- Replace your car's air filter if your car has an air filtration system.
- Dust and vacuum the inside of your car with a HEPA vacuum regularly. Seats, both cloth and leather, can harbor pollen, dust and dander.
- Before you leave the car, let the AC fan blow for an extra minute in order to dry the vents and prevent moisture collection which can cause mold growth.
- Spray goodmorning Purifying Spray into your car's intake vents (located outside the car, below the windshield) to inhibit mold growth. Spray the vents first while running the AC blower on high, and then repeat process for the heater.
- Don't leave wet clothing or towels in your trunk or backseat, as they can encourage mold growth on upholstery and floorboards.
- Use an auto air filter like the Vapor-Eze Clean Air 5000, which removes dust and pollen as well as gases and odors from car-size areas.
Finding The Healthiest Home Away From Home
If you 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.
Healthy Flying - Symptom-Free
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 for healthy flying if you have to fly while suffering through a cold or sinus infection when ear and sinus pressure can be unbearable:
- Take a nasal decongestant before takeoff.
- Sip liquids, swallow often, yawn and chew gum to open up your nasal and ear passages.
- You can also relieve pressure by gently blowing against a closed mouth and pinched nostrils. But be careful as applying more than mild pressure when you are severely congested can lead to inner ear damage.
The following items can also help you find relief and germ-protection during air travel:
- AQtiv PURE Hand & Body Sanitizing Gel is a safe, alcohol-free way to protect your family from germs and bacteria while travelling. AQtiv PURE even contains moisturizing agents to keep your skin from drying out.
- Xlear Nasal Spray is my favorite means of keeping my nasal passages moist and protected from irritants in the dry cabin air.
- Sea Bands utilize the body's pressure points to give relief to those that suffer from motion sickness or travel nausea.
- A travel-size pillow encasing will protect you from dust mite allergen commonly found in airplane pillows.
- Our lightweight Silk Mask guards against allergens and pollutants. For further protection against airborne viruses and bacteria use an N100 respirator for maximum protection.
- Once you've landed, a thorough washing of the nasal passages with the Nasaline Irrigator or Nasopure nasal rinse systems is a great way to wash bacteria and irritants away.
Other Tips For A Healthy Summer Vacation
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 EpiPenr or AniPenr.
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!