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Don't Let Allergies Dictate Your Travel Plans

May 3, 2013 at 3:54 PM | by | Comments (0)

Have you packed your phone charger? Check. Phrasebook? Check. Deodorant? Check. Epi pen or other allergy medications Umm, better not forget that!

Spring has totally sprung and, with the change of season, comes a new onslaught of potential allergic reactions. It's wise to remember these may happen anywhere, so preparation is needed before embarking on a trip, no matter how near or far.

CNN's Health section has a whole focus on "Living with Allergies," including a brilliant piece on tips for travel. Here, a few of our favorite ideas of theirs:

Translate your allergies. Language barriers in foreign countries can be frightening even without allergies. There are services online that offer printed cards that explain your allergies in any language you need, some for a fee. Bassett also recommends Google Translate. In addition, you can recruit a native speaker to help you make your own.

Carry backup medications. Epinephrine autoinjectors are the only treatment for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that can include closure of the throat and difficulty breathing. ...Make sure you have the autoinjector with you in a carry-on bag and not in a checked suitcase. It's a good idea to also carry a doctor's note explaining why you need it in case you get questioned at customs.

Think about your comfort with peanuts. The issue of peanuts on planes is dicey. Whether peanut or tree nut dust in the air can cause life-threatening allergic reactions is still controversial.

There's plenty more in the original story if you're a particularly paranoid traveler with allergies, but it's that last one about peanuts which could hit before your trip even really begins. Some airlines, like American Airlines specifically explain their peanuts-on-board policies in their in-flight magazines.

One last tip not mentioned by CNN is what to do if you discover an allergy while away on a trip. This is a real possibility, seeing as how you've never perhaps been exposed to certain foods, seasonings, flowers, trees, etc in a country or region you're visiting for the first time. If the irritation is only of minor concern and you can go about your daily business like normal, then remember to consult your doctor upon return.

If it's truly annoying or steadily worsening, then absolutely take time out of your sightseeing schedule to see a local doctor. There may be a charge involved of course, but we've seen doctors for emergencies in several countries (like Chile, Ireland, Thailand and Germany) and so far all visits have been cheaper than if we'd just waited until we got home and made an appointment here in the USA.

[Images: StuckinCustoms]

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