November 19, 2019
Don’t Let Allergies Keep You from Camping!
It’s called the great outdoors for a reason! Kids and adults alike benefit from unplugging and exploring all that Mother Nature has to offer. The sights and sounds of a camping adventure will stay with you long after you return home. However, as anyone with allergies knows, being one with nature can also mean battling some allergic triggers.
Don’t let that deter you! A little extra planning can help you win the camping allergy battle. Some helpful hints:
- Know your triggers – If outdoor allergens are your nemesis, ideally you can pick a time of year when your specific triggers are not running wild in the air.
- Stay on top of meds – Regardless of when you camp, make sure to take your regular allergy medicines before and during your adventure. It’s also wise to pack your favorite antihistamine or your antihistamine of choice, allergy eye drops, and saline nasal spray in case an allergen unexpectedly strikes, and you seek quick relief. Asthma patients must keep controller and rescue inhalers with them. If a doctor has prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector, bring two and carry them everywhere you go.
- Keep allergens out of the tent – Take your shoes and jacket off before entering the tent. If this isn’t practical, set all of these items in one spot inside the tent. If you bring the family pet along when you camp, wipe them down (paws included) before letting them in the tent. The goal is to minimize the environmental allergens that could plague you in your sleep. Campers need their rest!
- Take campfire precautions – Who doesn’t love a hypnotic campfire (and let’s be honest – s’mores)? Unfortunately, campfire smoke can irritate your lungs and cause an asthma attack. Asthma patients should avoid the fire completely. If someone just can’t resist the fire, they should sit away from it and switch seats if the wind starts blowing smoke in their direction.
- Steer clear of insects – People with an insect sting allergy cannot entirely avoid pesky bugs, but they can decrease sting risk by taking some common sense measures. Always wear shoes, never throw rocks at or near something resembling a hive, beware of sugary drinks that attract stinging insects, don’t use fragrances, avoid bright clothing, and watch for bugs around trash cans.
- Plan safe meals and snacks – Food allergy families know this drill. In fact, it may be easier to do this while camping since everyone prepares meals (no restaurants involved!). If it’s just your family, this will be like eating at home. But if you’re traveling with others, inform them of all allergenic foods. Bring your own grill, utensils, pots, and pans if others in your group will be cooking and sharing foods that aren’t on the safe list. It’s harder to thoroughly clean everything when you’re camping.
- Have an emergency plan – This makes good sense regardless of allergy status. Research the nearest emergency room. Ensure everyone you’re with has this information and knows how and when to administer an epinephrine auto-injector if necessary.
Camping requires lots of preparation no matter what. Keeping allergies at bay while camping does take a bit of extra planning, but it’s well worth the effort to get out there and soak up all that fresh air and natural beauty.