Severe Allergies and Travel: The Journey Begins With a Single Step

Rebecca E. Cooney, PhD


March 21, 2016

In This Article

Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst

Travel necessarily puts people into contact with others as well as with potential allergens, and the notion of compromise is an important one. Ultimately, however, the onus is on individual travelers to protect themselves against severe allergic reactions.

Dr Storms suggests some practical advice to relay to patients. "If a patient has a really severe allergy to cats, for example, then I tell them they have to be very cautious about air travel, and they have to be very cautious about choosing a hotel. They should check ahead of time to see if the hotel allows any cats and if they're going to be in a room that has had cats."

"Food allergies, such as peanuts, are a different story. That's where patients have to be especially careful, because with peanut allergy, the severe reaction is usually anaphylaxis and allergy pills don't do a great job of preventing it, making it that much harder to be prepared."

Dr Storms continued, "We have to counsel these patients to be very careful of restaurants, for example, where every table has a big bowl of peanuts or where peanut oil is used and cooking is done in an open area and it becomes aerosolized. Fish and shrimp allergies can also cause issues in some restaurants when patients are just breathing the air."


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