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Kraig W. Jacobson, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Six tips for traveling with asthma and allergies

Posted by on in Allergy
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131216OSMtravelallergiesWe frequently get calls from patients who’ve either lost or forgotten medications when they are traveling. If you suffer from allergies and asthma, consider these six tips before you head out on vacation:

1. See your physician: Before you go on that well-deserved trip, see your physician and let him or her know your travel destination. Discuss concerns you might have, especially if you know you are going to be exposed to something you are allergic to, such as a friend’s cat or dog. Your doctor may be able to provide helpful advice.

2. Have emergency medications: If you are concerned about having a serious attack while traveling, talk to your physician about the right emergency medication for you. You may need to obtain a prescription for an EpiPen or be prescribed other back-up medications.

3. Pack strategically: When you pack your medications, don’t be afraid to pack extra. If you are planning a three-day trip, consider bringing a couple extra days’ worth of medication. If you use an inhaler, keep it handy at all times. Be sure that it is not outdated or empty and working properly. If it is plugged, you will need to clean it. Keep all of the medications you typically use handy as you travel.

4. Ask your doctor for a letter to give to the TSA: This way you can carry an EpiPen or other medication with a needle or a volume of more than 3 ounces on the plane. Keep your medication in your carry-on bags. Many patients have become stuck without medication because they packed them in checked luggage that was lost or delayed. Keep your EpiPen and inhaler either in the seat pocket or in a bag under the seat – not in the overhead compartment -- so they are readily accessible.

5. Be smart and communicate: Know your asthma and allergy triggers and be ready to address them. If you are traveling with others, let them know what your triggers are, and don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

6. Beware of the climate. Humidity, pollen, cold air and pollution can all trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Keep in mind the time of year that you are traveling. Locally, people are aware of grass pollen in May and June. When you travel elsewhere it is worthwhile to check the altitude, temperature and humidity because extremes in these categories can affect your asthma and allergies. In the Midwest and Eastern United States, many people experience allergic reactions to ragweed in the fall. In the South, tree pollen affects people in March and April.

We are always excited to hear about the wonderful trips our patients take. Whether you are traveling near or far, we look forward to helping you keep your vacations safe. If you have allergy and asthma and have questions or concerns about a trip, we are here to help.

An energetic problem solver, Dr. Kraig Jacobson has spent his career treating patients and teaching about the complexities of allergy, asthma and immunology. He has practiced medicine in Eugene since 1979. The bigger the challenge, the more he enjoys his work.