Camping can be a wonderful vacation experience with many opportunities to make memories to last a lifetime. If the campers have allergies, however, pre-planning a camping trip can help avoid common problems experienced by people with allergies.
Can People With Allergies and Asthma Go Camping
Because there is a wide variety of camping styles, many people with allergies can find a camping experience that is safe for them. For example, people allergic to the sun would probably be safer camping in a cavern or in a treehouse resort in a densely wooded area rather than at the beach or in the desert.
A healthcare provider can help determine whether or not a camping trip would be safe for someone with allergies. A physician might also give advice regarding any changes to an asthma or allergy plan, provide extra prescriptions, and suggest activities or areas to avoid while camping.
Keep a list of contact information, such as the local allergist, pharmacy, and any other contacts in the area that would be helpful if medical care were needed on the trip. Keep a list of all medications, foods, and other substances, like tapes, to which they are allergic. It also helps to educate oneself about potential allergies. Those with allergies to multiple antibiotics should check with their physician and record which antibiotics they have had in the past without problems as a precautionary measure.
Campers who tend to have severe or anaphylactic reactions should inquire about the proximity to emergency care, how to contact Emergency Medical Services, and whether or not a cell phone can get a signal in that area. It is helpful to find contacts of specialists within the area and to check insurance coverage related to travel before leaving.
People with a history of certain types of asthma or a history of serious reactions may wish to always wear a medical identification on the neck or wrist and ensure that medications, such as epinephrine, are readily available. These campers should also inquire about any storage needs related to their medications, such as the availability of refrigeration to freeze ice packs if planning to participate in leisure activities in warm climates. Family members should be trained in CPR and what to do in case of a severe reaction.
How to Prepare for a Camping Trip When Dealing with Allergies
People with seasonal allergies may be planning a camping trip during a season when they do not tend to experience symptoms, but it is still important to have allergy medications available just in case, if possible. Be prepared with topical antihistamines and/or hydrocortisone if the person has a history of allergic skin reactions. Pack adequate storage for medications. For example, if campers are going white water rafting, emergency allergy medications should be stored in an airtight, waterproof container.
People on immunotherapy injections, or allergy shots, may check with their physician regarding special dosing recommendations depending on the length of trip. Those with asthma should pack maintenance medications as well as rescue medications. If the person uses a nebulizer, ensure that the campsite has electricity readily available before making a reservation.
Other special equipment can also help a camping trip to be safer and more pleasant for someone suffering from allergies. For example, someone with allergies to dust mites may wish to pack a mask if the area is dusty and consider using an air purifier in the sleeping area. Insect repellents may help keep mosquitoes and other biting insects away from those who tend to have reactions to bites. People with breathing-related allergies should pack their peak flow meter to gauge how their body is responding to the new surroundings.
New allergies can develop at any time, and seasons can differ greatly from one area to another. Allergy sufferers may wish to inquire about the likelihood of coming into contact with the allergens that affect them and plan a vacation at a time when they would be less likely to come into contact with that substance. For example, people with mold allergies may find that they would be more comfortable camping in a dry area in the summer rather than in damp wooded areas in the fall. Those with allergies to stinging insects may find camping in colder months to be beneficial.
Camping with Food Allergies, Food Sensitivities, and Celiac Disease
Some people with food allergies and sensitivities, like celiac disease, may find that it is easier to camp because they can have complete control over the accommodations, food, and food preparation. Those with an RV, trailer, pop-up, or tent can pack foods that suit their individual needs. Ensure that the campsite will accommodate any special needs related to special food storage. People with respiratory allergies or asthma may wish to avoid cooking areas with an open flame or heated grills.
It is helpful to pack extra food and to be very careful in keeping it properly stored while camping. Having raccoons eat a whole week’s worth of food on the first night of the camping trip could be quite challenging for someone who has multiple food allergies.
If planning to eat out while camping, people with food allergies may wish to contact local restaurants ahead of time to inquire about menus and food preparation. Trying new foods might be better suited to areas near home in case a reaction occurs.
How to Enjoy Camping Despite Allergies, Asthma, and Sensitivies
Although it takes some extra time in pre-planning a camping vacation, many people who have allergies, asthma, celiac disease, and other sensitivities can safely enjoy a trip to the great outdoors.
Communicating with a healthcare provider before the trip, carefully packing necessary supplies, and ensuring that the camping destination and timing of the trip is safe can help people to relax and enjoy a much needed break that takes some of the focus off special medical needs and onto having a delightful vacation.
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