Asthma and Peanuts and Bees, Oh My!

Asthma and Peanuts and Bees, Oh My!

If you’re one of the growing number of people with allergies and asthma, then traveling might be a little intimidating. It can be easy to think only about what could go wrong. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take a chill pill instead of a Benadryl, thanks to these tips and tricks for your next adventure.

1. Be proactive.

Do your homework and communicate with fellow travelers. Research the peanut allergy–safe places in Beijing or the hospital system in Hungary. If you’re going to be hiking a lot on your trip, don’t wait until the week before you leave to discuss your exercise-induced asthma with your companions.

Emergency dispatch numbers around the world:

Medical help near you:

Asthma Inhaler (Object)

Prepare early in order to have a relaxing vacation.

2. Be assertive, but not aggressive.

Go ahead and request that your cat-loving travel mates come fur-free so you can breathe. Ask your mom’s cousin’s friend about the mosquito population in Majorca. Just make sure people know that it’s a medical issue, and be nice about it.

Be kind, but don't be afraid to speak up about your needs.

Be kind, but don’t be afraid to speak up about your needs.

3.Pack a bag.

Carry a day bag of supplies, even if you don’t think you’ll need them. Include an index card with medical details, just in case, and keep a list of safe restaurants. Also carry snacks, your inhaler, a dust mask, your Epi-pen, or other medication. If you use a nebulizer for asthma, you might bring it to use in the hotel after a rough day. Bring any emergency medication. Don’t just hope for the best—pack to make your trip the best.

The Items I Carry

In addition to your camera and keys, make sure to carry medication and emergency information.

4. Arm an ally.

An ally is a friend or family member whom you’ve given in-depth information and who is willing to support you in whatever way you need. Your ally might tell you if you’re breaking out in a rash, sit with you to take a breather, speak up and fill the waiter in on something you forgot to explain, or give you epinephrine in an emergency. Make sure to give your allies lots of love and appreciation.

man lying on grass

Choose a friend or family member as your ally, an advocate who will help you manage your health during the trip.

5. Have fun.

Relax and enjoy your trip. Now that you’ve collected the information you need, made requests where necessary, packed your supplies, and informed the people close to you, you can focus on your vacation instead of your health. Have fun building relationships and making memories to keep forever!

Reach your dreams—with your allergies and asthma.

Reach your dreams—with your allergies and asthma.

—McKenna Johnson

Photo Credits (from top):
Jenn Wilson
Jenn Durfey
Jenn Wilson
Grant Hutchinson
Flickr User Amickman
Sasin Tipchai

1 Comment

  1. These are all great tips! I would add one other. If you’re traveling in a place where a foreign language is spoken, I would make sure that you know a few important words related to your allergy, illness, or asthma. If you do get stuck in Tokyo without your inhaler, it would be good to know how to ask for a new one. When I got a terrible cold the first time I was in France, I was ever so grateful that I knew how to tell the pharmacist, “J’ai un rhume.”


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