Allergies can turn your escape into an adventure you hadn’t planned. Follow these simple, natural approaches while you’re travelling to alleviate allergies and enjoy whatever form of escape you crave.
Allergies can make travelling an adventure you hadn’t planned. Whether you yearn for the serenity of the ocean, the rush of powder runs, or the peace of rugged backcountry, your dream escape can become a nightmare if you have allergies while travelling. Follow these simple, natural approaches to alleviate allergies and enjoy whatever form of escape you crave.
Do your research
Allergies and symptoms are varied and are often difficult to identify and treat. They can include minor skin irritations; itchy, watery eyes; hives; digestive issues; and full-blown anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction in which a person’s breathing and blood pressure are affected.
Understanding your allergies and how best to avoid them is key to an enjoyable trip. Since travelling involves new environments and potential new triggers, allergies present additional risks for travellers. Potential allergens while travelling include
- environmental allergens (many species of grasses, plants, and trees; airborne allergens or inhalants such as smoke, perfume, mold, dust, and pollen)
- food allergens (nuts, shellfish, eggs, wheat, and soybeans are common food allergies)
- chemical allergens (unfamiliar soaps, detergents, cleaners, and medications)
- animal and insect allergens (pet dander and hair, insect bites, and stings)
Visit an allergist
Visiting a naturopath or allergist prior to travel is a good idea if you have concerns. According to naturopathic physician Jamie Gallant of Rejuv-Innate Naturopathic Clinic, an allergist can help identify allergies through tests, talk to you about potential allergens, and discuss both proactive and reactive ways to deal with allergies.
Inform service providers
Plan ahead by communicating with airlines, hotel staff, and restaurants to minimize your risk of allergies while travelling.
- Check out your airline’s website for allergy policies, or call them directly.
- Speak to your hotel about how to minimize allergens in your hotel room through hypoallergenic bedding, a carpet-free room, and a small fridge to store safe foods. If possible, bring your own pillow, blanket or sleeping bag, and/or a small dehumidifier.
- Inform restaurant staff of your allergies, and when in doubt, don’t eat out.
- If possible, stay near a market so you can purchase your own food.
According to naturopathic physician Deanna Weiss, “It’s important that you assess and aim to prevent allergies months in advance of travelling.” In naturopathic medicine, diet changes, supplements, and immune system strengtheners are all used as forms of prevention.
Whole body wellness is important when aiming to prevent allergic reactions. For example, emotional stress has a complex relationship with allergic diseases and may even exacerbate allergic reactions.
Gallant maintains that “a healthy immune system enables your body to discern friend from enemy in terms of infection and allergy. An allergy reflects confusion in how the immune system is processing what it encounters.” Gallant recommends seeking professional advice for prevention and remedies that best suit your individual needs.
Wisely chosen supplements may help with allergies. Remember, always consult a qualified health care practitioner before taking supplements to ensure they are right for you.
Natural supplements and remedies
Quercetin is a plant compound that has been shown in test-tube studies to act as a natural antihistamine. It’s also a great antioxidant.
Fish oils and other omega-3 fatty acids have shown promise in lab studies to act as natural dietary allergy inhibitors.
Probiotics are extremely beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut. New research is examining their potential role in ameliorating food intolerances or allergies.
Remaining aware of your surroundings and where to find help will reduce risks and keep you focused on fun.
- Know where local hospitals and other medical facilities are in case of emergencies, and carry extra allergy remedies so you don’t run out.
- The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends carrying auto-injectable epinephrine (adrenalin) in case of an emergency if you’re at risk of anaphylaxis. Those travelling with you should know how to use it.
- Carry a written emergency care plan—and consider translations if visiting a non-English-speaking part of the world.
- For seasonal allergies, take frequent steamy showers to remove pollen and other allergens from skin and hair.
- Staying mindful of your health will keep you both allergy and stress free so you can escape from more than just your allergies.
Did you know?
According to Food Allergy Canada’s self-reporting survey, approximately 2.5 million Canadians have one or more food allergies.
5 natural immune boosters
- Plant sterols and sterolins (plant fats) are thought to improve immune system function in asthma sufferers.
- Reishi mushroom may act as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster, and may even have natural antihistamine properties.
- Astragalus is thought to help in the treatment of seasonal allergies. It is traditionally used to help support and protect the immune system.
- Zinc plays an important role in our immune response.
- Echinacea is often used to boost immunity, fight off viral infections, and reduce inflammation.