Updated 25 May 2017

SEE: Where are some of the most common allergens in SA?

As the end of the year approaches, you’re probably already planning your summer holiday. Here are some travel tips if you suffer from allergies.


Hands on

Keep all your medication in your handbag or carry-on bag (if you’re flying) so it’s always at hand. Take a few extra doses in case of unforeseen delays, and make sure you check the expiry dates. When travelling abroad, keep any medication in its original packaging. If you have a medical alert bracelet indicating your allergies, make sure you’re wearing it and that it’s clearly visible.

If you carry an EpiPen, don’t leave it in direct sunlight – heat can damage the medication. Store it in a dark place at room temperature. If the liquid has changed colour, become cloudy or contains solid particles, the EpiPen will no longer work and needs to be correctly disposed of. Check with the airline you’re travelling with that you’re allowed to carry your EpiPen – some may require a letter from your doctor.

Read: Treating allergies

Location, location, location

At the height of the pollen season, the best place to book your holiday is somewhere relatively pollen free. The beach is usually your best option thanks to the ocean breeze that gets rid of most airborne allergens. If you’re booking into a hotel, ask for a sunny, dry room far from the pool. If the accommodation is pet friendly, alert them to your allergies so that the room is thoroughly cleaned before your arrival – or avoid pet-friendly accommodation altogether.

Read: 5 allergy dangers lurking in your bedroom

Road trip

Aim to get going early – that way you’ll spend less time in traffic, which means less air pollution that might trigger your allergies. Keep your windows closed and make sure to use the air-conditioning, because pollen levels are higher in the morning.

Read: Parents of kids with allergies are mostly allergy-free themselves

Got the munchies?

It’s always a good idea to pack your own snacks if you have a food allergy, especially if you’re flying. This will allow you to avoid possible allergens. If that’s not an option, alert the cabin crew to your allergies and make sure they know if your condition is severe.

Read more:

Climate change bad news for hay fever suffers
15 tips for students with allergies
Does your child have an allergy or a cold?


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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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