On the road with allergies and asthma

On the road with allergies and asthma

MILWAUKEE – For millions of Americans with allergies and asthma, summer travel concerns extend far beyond rising gas prices and airline security waits.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) estimates that more than 20 million Americans have asthma and 50 million have allergies. Those traveling this summer will face unique challenges.

“Vacations bring people outdoors to explore new sights or enjoy the weather. But more time outdoors means increased exposure to common allergy and asthma triggers – including pollen, mold spores, stinging insects and air pollution,” said Estelle Levetin, PhD, FAAAAI, vice chair of the AAAAI Aerobiology Committee.

The resulting reactions – which can be bothersome or, at worst, life-threatening – can quickly sap the enjoyment from summer travel experiences.

“But with proper preparation, you can minimize your risk of a severe allergic reaction or asthma attack,” Levetin said.

The AAAAI recommends patients with allergic disease take the following steps to ensure their vacations are fun, not frustrating:

Air out vehicles before a lengthy road trip and travel with the windows rolled up. Plan to drive in the early morning or late evening to avoid high mid-day air pollution levels and idling traffic.
When traveling by airplane, pack all medications according to federal security regulations. Food allergic people should bring snacks onboard and avoid eating unlabeled airline food.
Request allergy-free hotel accommodations, which can include special rooms, pillows and linens.
Visit an allergist/immunologist before the trip to discuss any treatment questions.
Find more tips for summer travel with allergies and asthma at www.aaaai.org. The AAAAI maintains a searchable database of board-certified allergist/immunologists. Find an allergist/immunologist in your area at www.aaaai.org.

The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries.

Posted 5.6.08

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