People with allergies learn how to deal with allergy issues in their everyday life; travelling may expose you to a new set of challenges, but it should not become a limit to the pleasure of travelling. It is therefore important that every allergic patient takes some precautions.
BEFORE LEAVING: PLAN AHEAD
- First of all, contact your allergist to get specific suggestions according to your destination;
- If you're allergic to outdoor pollen, check pollen counters at your destination. You may find a pollen map in this website. For Europe you can consult www.polleninfo.org; for the rest of the world, information on pollen count may be find on the World Allergy Organization website;
- As a general rule, keep taking your drugs on schedule, as suggested by your allergist;
- Pack all the drugs in your purse or hand-luggage if you're travelling by plane (see below for more information);
- If you're allergic to dust-mite, carry anti-dust pillow/mattress covers;
- If you have food allergies, at the time of your reservation check with the airline-company if they offer specific allergens-free menus. Usually you will find these information in the company website (here is an example);
- When planning accommodation, ask if the hotel offers allergy-proof rooms, prefer a non-smoking room and ask about their pet policy. If pets are allowed at the hotel, ask for a pet-free room if you are allergic to dander.
- Be sure to contract a travel insurance which will cover your medical assistance if needed. Keep relevant documents at hand, and take note of contact telephone numbers.
TRAVELLING BY PLANE: SECURITY ISSUES
International airports security rules bans sharp objects and limits the amount of liquids in your hand-luggage. Anyway, you are allowed to carry drugs that you may need to use during the trip. You may be asked to proof that they are needed.
Following the suggestions below you will avoid problems in carrying your life-saving drugs with you:
- Ask your allergist to prepare a letter, in English, indicating your allergy and the need to carry your drugs with you all the time, even during flights. Here you may find an example;
- Keep your drugs in their original packaging, with intact label, and put them into a transparent plastic bag along with other liquids in your hand-luggage.
ON THE PLANE
- Always inform the flight crew about your allergy;
- If you suffered from anaphylaxis, make sure to keep on hand your self-injectable adrenaline;
- Check with the crew if they will actually serve you the allergen-free menu you booked in advance. In order to avoid any problem, always bring your own snacks;
- If you're travelling alone, consider informing passengers sitting in your area about your allergy;
- If you experience allergy symptoms during the flight, take your medications and immediately after inform the crew.
AT YOUR DESTINATION:
- If you suffer from food allergy, it can be difficult to overcome language issues; it can be useful to know the translation of main food allergens in the destination’s language. You may find a useful the food allergy translation cards or this other websites www.food-info.net or www.faiusa.org
- When eating out, it's important to carry a wallet-sized card explaining your allergy and to show it to the restaurant’s staff.
- In case you're buying food, always remember to check labels carefully. In many countries, ingredients’ label must include commonly allergenic foods, even when present in small amounts, but not all countries around the world have such laws. Therefore, unless you find allergen-free labels, it is better if you avoid snacks and precooked food;
- If you need to buy anti-allergy drugs, remember that in most countries they are over-the-counter medications (you can buy them without prescription). Remember to check the active ingredient of your drugs as the brand name can be different in foreign countries;
- If you experience any allergic reaction, warn people around you and ask them to call emergency services;
- Last but not least, enjoy your trip!
Download Examples of doctor letter (doc, 24 Kb)