It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. Excitement hangs in the air as travel plans are made and Christmas decorations adorn every hall. Children squeal in excitement as they play and run around outdoors. But this could easily spiral into a nightmare for some families, as the holiday season brings with it a host of allergy triggers.
While allergies can’t be cured, the good news is, they can be managed. And they certainly are not the end of your holiday plans. Learn how to take control of the situation so you can say, #AllergiesNoProblem!
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
Before we get into the tips, it’s important to understand what allergic rhinitis is, as people often confuse their symptoms with the common cold. Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as Hay Fever, happens when the body’s immune system becomes sensitised and overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problems in most people. This results in symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, itchy skin
- Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion
The first step to managing allergic rhinitis is knowing what triggers it in the first place. Allergy testing can determine what allergens in the environment trigger the symptoms. Do visit your family physician or paediatrician for proper diagnosis. Knowing the triggers will help you to plan ahead and know what to expect, especially when travelling.
Travelling Tips for When Your Child Has Allergies
Travelling is always a great adventure for the family and without a doubt involves a lot of preparation. But there are a few things that are hard to plan for, such as the weather or the environment.
Exposure to molds, pollen, dust mites, pet hair, or smoke are just some of the things that can trigger allergic rhinitis in you and your kids. The entire trip then becomes a miserable experience.
How then can travel be possible for your family? Remember, you can’t cure allergies, but you can take control of the situation. Here’s how.
1. Plan Ahead
If you or your child has allergic rhinitis, then your planning can’t just be about choosing a fancy hotel close to the street with the most food options. There need to be some careful considerations to reduce your exposure to possible triggers. Remember, pit stops during a trip are fun, but not when they are at the clinic!
When booking a hotel, request for a room that that is non-smoking, mold-free and pet-free. Bringing along your own pillowcases and beddings is highly recommended. Wash these before your trip in hot water to kill off any dust mites.
Check the weather and pollen forecast ahead of time and know what to expect. Try to plan your travel when the weather is less likely to trigger allergies in your family.
2. Recognise the Triggers
If you know what triggers allergic rhinitis in your family, stay away from them when travelling. If your little one is allergic to pet fur, you may consider skipping the trip to the zoo. And if pollen is a known trigger for you, keep your windows closed and use air-conditioning instead during your holiday drives.
Despite your best efforts, exposure to pollen, dust mites, animals and sudden changes in temperature are not always avoidable when travelling. Still, knowing your risk keeps you mentally prepared and more vigilant to fight the impending allergies.
3. Be Prepared
Not all allergens can be avoided, so be prepared and carry medication that can reduce sneezing, runny nose, and itchy skin rashes. It’s best to have a “Mum’s Anti-Allergy Kit” on hand, and to always know the location of the nearest pharmacy, clinic, and hospital for any emergencies.
Mum’s Anti-Allergy Kit
Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis. They reduce symptoms by blocking the effects of histamines – chemicals which are released when you come in contact with an allergen. Antihistamines help to relieve allergy symptoms such as runny and itchy nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and itchy skin rash.
Zyrtec-R is readily available in pharmacies and provides rapid relief for allergy symptoms. It’s non-drowsy* so you need not worry about it getting in the way of your itinerary! It’s available in small-sized tablets for the older members of the family aged 6 years and above, and a sugar-free banana-flavoured oral solution for the kids 2 years and above. For travel-purposes, you can also opt for Zyrtec drops, which are more convenient and handy.
Antihistamines relieve symptoms but they don’t help with the congestion. That’s why you also need to pack some decongestants in your Anti-Allergy Kit. Here’s how they work: Allergies make the lining of your nose swell, so decongestants shrink the swollen blood vessels and tissues. That, in turn, relieves the congestion.
Zyrtec-D is the combination of an antihistamine and decongestant so pack this along for fast relief of blocked nose and other allergy symptoms for members of the family aged 12 years and above.
3. Tissues and Wet Wipes
We all know allergies are never a pretty sight. You don’t want to be those parents in the airport with their kids wiping their snot everywhere. Always keep soft tissues and wet wipes within reach to clean your children up. Be mindful that dry and rough handkerchiefs or tissues can cause abrasions, so choose wisely. Wet wipes are also handy to wipe down any dusty surfaces you may come in contact with in your travels.
In situations where you are unable to avoid allergens or irritants that can trigger the allergic rhinitis, you may consider packing masks to help reduce exposure to these allergens.
5. Asthma Medications
Allergic Rhinitis can make symptoms of asthma worse so if someone in the family has asthma as well, do not forget to pack along their asthma medications.
Even if you’re not travelling, you are not spared from the potential dangers of the holiday season. When putting up those Christmas decorations, do remember that the dust that may have accumulated on your long-stored decor can turn the joy of the season into pure misery.
If someone in your family is prone to allergies, you might want to be creative about your decorations and skip that plush carpet or ornament.
In addition, ensure that your house is free of dust mites and mold spores. Cover the mattresses with dust-mite covers and ensure that the surroundings are clean and dust-free.
Whether travelling or at home, role model good hygiene practices to your children. Make it a habit to wash your hands often, change clothes and bed linens frequently and remind your kids not to pick things up from the floor.
Travelling with kids who are prone to allergies may sound a bit much, but trust us, it’s not all that bad. It’s just a matter of getting into the habit of being more mindful, taking extra precautions and packing a couple of items in your to-go bag.
Remember, the holiday season is beautiful, exciting, and exhilarating all at once. Nothing should come in the way of you and your family enjoying this season to the fullest – not even allergies.
With these helpful tips, you too can say #ByeByeAllergies! Knowing how to help your child deal with allergic rhinitis lets you say #AllergiesNoProblem with confidence. Don’t let allergies take their shine away!
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (2018, February). Allergic Rhinitis. Accessed November 2018 from https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2015, September). Traveling with Asthma and Allergies. Accessed November 2018 from https://www.aafa.org/traveling-with-asthma-allergies/
- American Academy of Paediatrics. (2017, September). 7 Tips for Kids – Allergies. Accessed November 2018 from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/7-Tips-for-Kids-Allergies.aspx
- Zyrtec-R Singapore Patient Information Leaflet NCDS05(SI)
- Zyrtec Singapore Prescribing Information NCDS05(SI)
- World Allergy Organization. (2015, June). In-Depth Review of Allergic Rhinitis. Accessed November 2018 from https://www.worldallergy.org/education-and-programs/education/allergic-disease-resource-center/professionals/in-depth-review-of-allergic-rhinitis
- Zyrtec-D Singapore Patient Information Leaflet NCDS04(SI)
- National Health Service. (2016, February). Allergic Rhinitis. Accessed November 2018 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergic-rhinitis/complications/
*Individual response may vary. For reporting of adverse events, please write to [email protected]. Please read the full product information prior to administration, available from GlaxoSmithKline Pte Ltd. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor. For further information, please consult your doctor or pharmacist. Full prescribing information is available on request. GSK does not recommend, endorse or accept liability for sites controlled by 3rd parties. Trade marks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies. SG/CTR/0065/18 Certified 06/12/18
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