With all the excitement, it is all too easy to forget that holidays do not make you immune from hayfever, wheezing, asthma, eczema, hives or insect bites. In fact, strange beds, changes in diet, high pollen levels and mosquitos are potential hazards that can turn your dream break into your worst nightmare!
Conditions that Need Special Care
Allergic reactions are, for the most part, debilitating holiday “spoilers” but there are some conditions that need special care because they can be very distressing and even life threatening:
- Severe eczema in infants and young children
The most common cause of asthma attacks is a dustmite allergy. Even the cleanest bedding in holiday accommodation will have a population of dustmites if it is not treated. The easiest way to avoid the problem is to use a mattress, pillow and soft furnishing anti-acaricide spray such as Bio-Life HomeCleanse™ as soon as you arrive at your destination. One treatment lasts up to a month so the chances are you will not have to repeat the process.
In case of emergencies, make sure you pack your inhaler or any other medication that your Doctor prescribes.
Dustmites are also one of the principle causes of eczema especially in infants and young children and again, an anti-acaricide spray can ensure a stress free holiday for parents and children.
Anaphylaxis is usually caused by a severe allergy to foods such as nuts or shellfish. This is a severe reaction that requires immediate medical attention. Individuals who are vulnerable should always carry an adrenalin epipen and make sure that they know how to use it! Avoidance is the only way to prevent it.
Hayfever: Pollen counts are at their highest around midday and again between 5pm and 6 pm in the evening. If you are prone to hayfever, this is a good time to lunch indoors and take your time to get dressed for dinner. To make sure that the room is pollen free at night, use an air cleanser such as Bio-Life AirCleanse™ so that you wake up fresh and clear in the morning.
Insect Bites: For the majority of people, insect bites are an irritation but for a few they can be life threatening causing an anaphylactic shock that needs immediate medical attention. If you know that you suffer from a severe allergy to insect bites, always carry an adrenalin epipen and use a WHO approved insect repellent e.g. the Picaridin based EcoCitrocin spray.
Eczema is a histamine based reaction and some foods and drinks contain high levels of this substance or stimulate the production of the white blood cells that release it. If you are prone to eczema and food intolerances, it is always wise to familiarise yourself with the local cuisine before you go. Mediterranean diets are very healthy but if you are alcohol, histamine, gluten, yeast and dairy intolerant, you will still need to be careful.
Alcohol: On holiday, abstinence is rather cruel but limiting alcohol to little and often and drinking small quantities of water at regular intervals throughout the day can limit the reaction. Local wines purchased from the producer contain fewer additives than supermarket varieties that have to travel.
Foods that you are advised to avoid include processed meats ( e.g.Serrano ham and antipasti), cheese, vinegar and pickled dishes, tinned fish, dried fruit, seeds and nuts, yeast chocolate and cola. Even certain fresh foods are known to stimulate histamine production including bananas, tomatoes, strawberries, aubergines, avocados and spinach.
Fresh fish and meat, green salads and olive oil dressing without the vinegar are by far the safest bet. Potatoes and rice are an alternative to bread for coeliac sufferers.