How to Help Allergy-Proof Your Camping Trip

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How to Help Allergy-Proof Your Camping Trip

September 5, 2013

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Going camping is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors for most people, but for allergy sufferers, it could spell a weekend of watering eyes, sneezing or worse.

Campers are in a less controlled environment than they have at home and may contend with more allergy symptoms than usual because of it. With careful planning, though, a camping trip can be safe for almost everyone.

This means those who have severe allergies to certain foods or to insect stings must be especially vigilant; a campsite could be miles away from the nearest medical center so effective preparation is a must.

Here’s how you can do it.

Camping Allergies

Be Smart When Picking A Campsite

  • Even before you set out there are things you can do to help reduce allergies on your trip, such as picking a sensible camp site.  For example minimize contact with unfamiliar allergens by choosing a site on grass. Those who are allergic to grass as well should look for cleared campsites and avoid disturbing the soil as it may contain pollen from seasons past that will exacerbate hay fever symptoms
  • Alternatively, staying in a cabin can also help reduce allergen exposure for campers who react to grasses or pollen.
  • Choosing a campsite on or near a beach can help hay fever sufferers enjoy their time in the wild. Sea breezes carry little pollen, so staying near a shore can mean fewer allergy flare-ups for some. Others find that a pine forest’s blanket of needles and relative absence of undergrowth gives them a chance to breathe freely. A desert camping trip also puts vacationers in contact with fewer allergens, so consider going farther afield to camp.

Timing Is Everything

  • Known allergens vary in concentration throughout the year. During spring, pollen counts can soar in some places, yet the same region in fall may have clearer air. To take advantage of the best time to camp, learn more about the specific allergens that cause you problems by discussing symptoms with an allergist. If ragweed is the primary culprit for a case of hay fever, then camping while the plant is inactive will let allergic people breathe more easily.

Pack Essential Medications

  • At home, antihistamines and prescription medications are as close as the medicine cabinet. On a camping trip, keep allergy medicines equally accessible by storing them in a good place. That bottle of antihistamines will do no good if it’s packed under stacks of socks and shorts, so make medications easy to find by storing them in or near the first-aid kit, pouch or satchel.
  • People with severe allergies already know to keep an epinephrine injector ready for emergencies, but that advice is especially important when camping. Exposure to insect stings, or new unknown allergens can trigger an anaphylactic reaction without epinephrine to stop the cycle.

Make Your Activities Allergy-Safe

  • If you’re sunbathing during the day, you’d be foolish not to use sunscreen. Unfortunately some people can have allergic reactions in their skin to types of sunscreen. Before you set out make sure you are taking a sunscreen that you know won’t trigger a reaction. Alternatively, bring rash treatment creams just in case.
  • If you’re out swimming be mindful that dipping into the ocean or a freshwater lake could lead to itchy skin. This happens when people swim in water contaminated with parasites. The itchy rash this can cause can be treated either with oral antihistamines or topical corticosteroids in the form of a cream or ointment.
  • When gathering around the campfire, keep enough distance to avoid inhaling smoke. Although wood smoke does not technically count as an allergen, it can irritate people who have sensitive respiratory systems. For people who are highly sensitive to smoke, substitute a charcoal grill for making s’mores, roasting hot dogs and telling stories around the campfire.

Food Allergies and Camping

  • Campers generally pack everything they intend to eat on the trip, so controlling food allergies is easier than managing environmental allergies. However, the convenience foods meant for camping could contain ingredients to which some allergy sufferers are sensitive. Read packages carefully when packing food for the trip.
  • When sending kids with allergies away to summer camp, Some facilities that can accommodate special menus and food preparation to reduce risk of food allergen exposure. Sources such as Allergic Living Canada or in the US, The Food Allergy Research and Education, or FARE, website list a number of camps that specialize in giving kids with allergies the experience of summer camp without concerns about the foods they eat. Checking with local campgrounds and organizations will usually turn up at least one or two allergy-friendly summer camps.

Allergies do not have to limit the joys of camping. With proper precautions and careful campsite selection, campers with allergies can enjoy the fresh air as much as anyone.

This post is brought to by Reactine ®. For allergy relief, visit us here!

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm

http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=115&

http://www.pollen.com/travel-with-allergies.asp

http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/07/02/summer-camp-with-allergies/

http://www.foodallergy.org/camps/camp-list-2013

http://allergies.about.com/od/allergies101/a/Camping-Allergies.htm

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