Pack your bags and leaving your allergies behind!

Its vacation time and thoughts of relaxation and anticipation may be first on your mind. Remember if you or a household member has allergies and/or asthma it is important to prepare ahead.

Certainly the following strategies are helpful to many vacation-goers:

** Bring an adequate supply of daily medications and go onto the National Allergy Bureau at www.aaaai.org/nabto check out the pollen levels at your desired destination

** Plan your outdoor activities wisely, especially when pollen levels rise and consider doing the "indoor thing" if you are particularly affected by air pollutants such as ozone

** Take a vacation by the sea (i.e., by the beach, lake or shore) where pollen counts are lower

** Take the sunglasses (the bigger the better) to block pollens from entering into the eyes and lids

** Learn if the hotel you will be visiting has "green rooms" that are more environmentally and allergy friendly

** Take your dust-proof allergy covers for pillows and mattresses to provide top notch indoor protection from pesky (but invisible) dust mites

** Don't let the bugs bite! Avoid excess fragranced products, creams, hair care products and colognes which attract stinging insects especially if you have a history of reactions to them (bright colors may also attract them)

** Get a pre-trip check-up with your allergist and take the opportunity to get your allergy "tune up" and review your "go to" allergy medications before leaving home

** If you suffer from pet allergies request an animal-free room as well as talking to your host when visiting friends

** Be a label detective when eating out of the home if you have food allergies (bring safe snacks for those affected)

** Bring along some moisturizing nasal saline spray, especially for prolonged air travel (cabin air is dry and may irritate nasal passages)

** Make sure your favorite sunscreen is "kind" to your skin before using it on yourself and children

Be safe and be prepared!

Dr. Clifford W. Bassett is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. No information in this blog is intended to diagnose or treat any condition.

Dr. Clifford Bassett is an adult and pediatric allergy specialist, and diplomate of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY.   Bassett is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and on the teaching faculty of NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center, and faculty at Cornell University Medical College. Follow him on Twitter.