Allergies and Flying

I’ve written before about allergies and travel.  But what about allergies and flying?  This was a great topic suggested by one of the blog readers.

“Peanut fares” and “flying for peanuts” turned Southwest Airlines from a regional carrier to a major national airline.  Even though their peanuts are iconic, they offer peanut free flights.  If you have nut allergy, it is imperative that you let the airline know when you book the flight.  This way, they can accommodate your need to be nut free and the other passengers desire for a snack.  I know nut allergy can be life threatening, but I will admit, when Southwest announces that a flight will be nut-free I inwardly groan.  Pretzels are usually the substitute snack of choice and I despise pretzels.  But I digress.

Also, book your flight for early in the day as possible.  Because airlines turn-around flights quickly on the ground, the plane isn’t really cleaned between flights as much as “tidied up”.  This means that peanut residue may linger from earlier flights.  The first flight in the morning will be the cleanest.  Even if you are on the first flight, be sure to have your Epi-Pen handy.

If you are concerned about the spread of viruses and bacteria due to recirculated air, the only mask that is going to protect you is a N95 type mask.  These are designed and manufactured to prevent the inhalation of particles as small at 0.1 microns.  This will protect against viruses and bacteria.  If you remember from the recent swine flu, bird flu and SARS scares, these were the types of masks you saw people wearing in public.

As far as dust mites and pollens go, the bad news is that the seats and carpets of airplanes aren’t frequently cleaned to remove allergens.  This means that everyone that walks on the plane is bringing a small amount of pollen from the location they are leaving.  The good news is that dust mites aren’t found in large numbers on our clothing.  This means that you shouldn’t have high dust mite populations on your seat.  That is a good thing, because it is hard to get liquid through security in your carry-on. You could put 3 or 4 ounces of ADMS Anti Allergen Spray in a small bottle and spray it around your seat, but do you really want to waste that precious space in your one allowed quart bag of 4 ounce liquids?  Not me!  I’ll save that room for toothpaste and deodorant every time!

If you are having an allergy attack when you are flying, you need to pay close attention to your ears.  Sometimes allergy can lead to the Eustachian tubes being swollen.  It is important that this passage be clear when you experience changes in altitude.  It might be necessary to take a decongestant before your flight.  If so, remember to allow plenty of time for it to enter your blood stream.  Speaking of medications, if you are like me an suffer from an occasional bout of motion sickness when flying, your allergies are in luck.  The active ingredient in Dramamine is very similar to the antihistamine found in Benadryl.

Don’t let your allergies keep you grounded…flying is not a problem if you are prepared!

Til Next Time

©Copyright 1996-2013™ All Rights Reserved

Allergy Covers for Travel

Do you travel much for work or pleasure?  Do you worry what’s lurking in that hotel bed?  If the answer to either question is “Yes” then you might want to invest in  fitted dust mite proof allergy covers for travel.  If you generally stay in a room with a king size bed, get the king size.  If you are a queen size bed traveler, then the queen size is perfect for you.


These allergy covers for travel are made from a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester fused to a waterproof, dust mite proof membrane.  Instead of the traditional zippered construction, these covers are made in the same fashion as a fitted sheet.  With elastic bands on the corners, these covers are easy to slip on and off the bed.  That is what makes them perfect for travel.


A fitted cover does not give you the same level of protection as a zippered cover, but it certainly gives you more protection than doing nothing.  They easily fold into a compact size so they don’t take up much room in the suitcase, another reason these are great allergy covers for travel.


If you are a frequent hotel guest, you might want to think about bringing your own cover.  That way no matter the “history” of the bed, you are protected.  And speaking of protection, women travelers need to be particularly alert. Here is a great article for women that travel for business or pleasure.


Til next time!
The Allergy Store

©Copyright 1996-2013™ All Rights Reserved

Mask for Travel

On my recent travels, I only saw one person wearing a mask  for travel.

Of course, the bulk of my trip was by car and the people with whom I traveled weren’t afraid of any germs that I might be sharing.

However, two legs of my trip were by plane and I did see one person wearing a mask for travel in the Houston airport.  From the sneezing and coughing I heard on the plane from Houston to Ft. Lauderdale, everyone should have had on a mask.  I am still waiting for that first tingle of the nose that tells you a cold is on the way.

Back when there was the H1N1 scare, the SARS scare, and the bird flu scare before that it was not uncommon to see people wearing a mask when they travel.

We are often asked if the U2 Sports mask is a good mask for travel.  The answer is “yes” if you are concerned about pollens and large particles of pollution in your destination city/country.  When my mother visited China, she said the residents referred to the heavy pollution as “the mist”.  As in “The mist is heavy today”.  How quaint and ever so much more polite than “Holy crap the pollution is so bad I can’t see today”.  It isn’t going to protect you from small particles such as bacteria and viruses.

If your concern is either catching or spreading disease, then the best mask for travel is the N95 Alpha Mask.  We still refer to it as the “Bird Flu” mask.  Because it is designed for 0.1 micron particle efficiency it will protect you against those pesky pollens and pollution particles, but it will also protect you on the plane or train from airborne viruses and bacteria.  Because it is light-weight, it doesn’t get hot and because it is disposable, it is inexpensive.

The person I saw at the airport was wearing an N95 mask. I wanted to ask her if she bought it from The Allergy Store, but I also wanted to make it to the Customer Service counter ahead of all the other people who had just had their connecting flights ruined by Continental Airlines.  So I didn’t ask her.

I also didn’t get to the Customer Service counter ahead of all the other people.


I also didn’t make it out of Houston that day.


Til Next Time!

©Copyright 1996-2013™ All Rights Reserved