Mind and Body

Allergy Alert: Preparing for Allergic Emergencies While You Travel

Let's face it; the best defense is a good offense. In the case of allergies, that means you need to develop an emergency plan for allergic conditions such as stinging insect allergy, food allergic reactions, etc if you have a history of a severe allergic reaction and you're traveling.

First, make sure if you have a prescription epinephrine auto-injector with a current expiration date. Also it is important, during the summertime, not to store these devices in a location that is excessively hot (such as a car's glove box). Next, go over with your doctor when to use this device and practice using a trainer - to become familiar with its use if ever needed in time of an emergency.

It's also important if you have a history of asthma (trouble breathing, wheezing, etc) that can be brought on by a variety of triggers to carry an adequate supply of medications with you, including a rapid onset rescue bronchodilator inhaler.

If you have a food allergy, you will need to be a "label detective" and plan ahead by bringing safe snacks that you know are safe for you to eat.Be sure to let restaurants and hotel staff know what your specific food allergies are when ordering your meals. We recommend that our patients carry a "chef's card" that spells out your food allergies in writing and is given to the kitchen staff for the chef to see.All affected individuals with a known food allergy should have an allergist-directed emergency plan in place, and have your family members (and anyone that you travel with) be familiar with how to recognize an allergic reaction as well as knowing what to do in case of a true food allergic reaction.This is particularly important when traveling by plane, boat or train where emergency personnel may not be immediately available. Check out www.foodallergy.org for more information to keep you safe during the summer travel season.

Have a safe trip!

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 and author of "The New Allergy Solution: Super-Charge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering." 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.