Living With Allergies

How to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation (Despite Allergies)

Image of a person reading on their laptop while relaxing at a beach.
Photo by Tino Renato via Death to Stock

Life is slowly returning to normal, and like many people, you’re probably eagerly making some summer plans.

From backyard barbeques and long-awaited vacations to scenic hikes and beach days, you want to make the most of your time in the sun and the great outdoors—without your allergies getting in the way.

That’s why we asked Dr. Amina Abdeldaim, Picnic's Medical Director and Allergist, her top tip for allergy sufferers: “Keep an eye out for stormy weather. Humidity from impending and resolving summer storms can keep pollen buoyant in the air and make your symptoms worse temporarily.”

Want more tips? There are a few other things you can do to plan around your allergy triggers and enjoy the summer season (without sniffling and sneezing your way through it).

Check pollen counts

Pollen is one of the most common seasonal allergy triggers, and if you suspect that it causes your symptoms to flare up, you’ll want to be in the loop on pollen counts.

A pollen count is exactly what it sounds like—an estimate of how many pollen grains are currently in the air. There’s also something called a pollen forecast, which predicts future pollen counts. Local news stations or even your favorite weather app will report on allergy levels, or you can download a pollen tracker app to stay in the loop.

How does this information help you? You can plan your vacations or outdoor time accordingly, ideally for when pollen counts and forecasts are lower. Keep in mind that pollen is usually at its peak in the early morning or on dry and windy days, making those good times for indoor activities.

Be careful where you stay

That quaint bed and breakfast in a historic home? That charming inn on the lakeshore? They offer unique and picturesque places to stay on vacation, but those older buildings can cause problems with two other common allergens: mold and dust mites.

If you know that those are allergy triggers for you, you might be better off staying somewhere with more modern amenities (and, you know, up-to-date HVAC systems).

Another thing you’ll want to consider as you choose your accommodations? The bedding. If you’re sensitive or allergic to down bedding—like comforters or pillows–you’ll want to ask for alternatives or come prepared with your own if you can.

Pack your medication (and take it regularly)

One of the best things you can do to manage your allergy symptoms is take your medications regularly and consistently, ideally starting a month or so before your typical allergy season.

Whether you use an antihistamine, nasal spray, eye drops, or all of the above, it can feel like a bit to pack for a vacation. But trust us, it’s not worth leaving them behind just for a little extra space in your suitcase. (And while you’re at it, throw in some anti-itch cream if you’re going somewhere that may be a little buggy).

Bring them with you and remember to take them daily. They’ll help you keep your symptoms at bay so you can spend less time scratching, sneezing, and frantically searching for the nearest box of tissues, and more time enjoying yourself.

Ask about pets

Pet dander is another common allergy trigger, with an estimated three out of 10 people experiencing an allergic reaction to cats and dogs.

It’s smart to be in-the-know about where you might be exposed to pets—like if the friend you’re planning to stay with has a cat or there will be some pups joining in on your trip to the park.

Those furry friends might not be totally avoidable. But, knowing when and where you’ll be near them means you can take your medications proactively and plan your activities accordingly. And as you might guess, outdoor time with animals is almost always better for your allergies than being stuck in tight indoor spaces.

Dress accordingly

When you think about dressing for the summer weather, you probably think about sunscreen and a swimsuit. But, when you deal with allergies, there are a couple of other things to add to your warm-weather wardrobe.

As Yale Health explains, sunglasses and a wide-brim hat can minimize the amount of pollen that blows into your eyes, which means less allergy symptoms.

Regardless of what you wear outdoors, it’s smart to rinse off in the shower and toss your clothes in the wash right away after coming inside. The less pollen and allergens you bring indoors with you, the better.

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Speak up

Your allergies can feel like an unwelcome tag-along during all of your summer fun, and the last thing you want to do is burden your friends or family with your allergy woes.

Here’s the thing, though: Speaking up about your allergies and the triggers you need to avoid can help all of you have a better time.

For example, if your travel buddies know you want to avoid the outdoors in the morning, they might plan the day differently. It means you don’t have to opt out and miss the fun, and they don’t need to feel bad for taking part in an activity that you can’t participate in.

So, gather your courage and loop everybody in on your allergies ahead of your plans. It can save you a lot of headaches (quite literally).

More summer fun, less allergies

Looking forward to time spent soaking up the sun and the fresh air? We’re right there with you. But, the last thing you want is for your summer plans to inspire allergy-related misery.

Regardless of what you’ve got on your calendar, there are things you can do to keep your sniffling, sneezing, and scratching at bay.

That all starts with finding the treatment plan that’s right for you. Ready to dive into summer knowing that your allergies are under control? Take our free quiz and get an allergist-picked Pack put together just for you.

ARTICLE REVIEWED BY
Amina H. Abdeldaim, MD MPH
Picnic Medical Director
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