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Traveling when you have allergies

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Is it safe for me to travel if I have an allergy?

The benefits of travel are numerous, but if you have an allergy travel can be worrying. However, by assessing the risks and making a few plans, you can take some of the allergy anxiety out of your vacation or business trip.

What emergency help is available if I have an allergic reaction while abroad?

For some, allergy symptoms are inconvenient rather than life-threatening. If you fall into the ‘life-threatening’ camp, you should know that not everywhere has a responsive emergency service. You may have to get yourself to a health center or hospital, rather than relying on an ambulance.

Use the US Department of State’s country information to better understand what emergency service you can expect at your destination. Learn the emergency number and any key phrases you might need to get help. And talk with your traveling companions about first aid for anaphylaxis.

Our article on how to get healthcare while traveling has some advice about accessing emergency services abroad.

Can I take my allergy meds while on holiday?

You are allowed to travel with allergy medications – but make sure you have good supplies purchased in the US. This is because your meds may not be available at your destination. You’ll want to carry enough meds for your trip, and then for a few extra days in case you are delayed unexpectedly. It is helpful to carry copies of your prescriptions, too. Meds are best kept in your hand luggage so you can get to them if you need them.

Your allergist can advise on managing your allergy symptoms while traveling, so it’s worth getting an appointment before your trip abroad.

Managing your condition by avoiding allergy triggers while traveling

If avoiding your allergy triggers is how you manage your allergy, think about when you might be exposed to allergens while traveling. For example, if you plan to camp, a grass allergy might be a problem. You may want to bring your own bedding, or book air conditioned accommodation.

Does my health insurance cover my allergies while I’m on vacation?

If you are outside the US, your health insurance may not cover you if you get sick from your allergies and need medical treatment. You should arrange travel insurance with health coverage, and ensure that your allergies are included in this.

Check that your travel insurance covers you for any allergy-related health problems. Make sure you mention your allergies when you buy your travel insurance.

Allergy translation cards

Does your food allergy cause a life-threatening reaction? Consider translation cards to help you communicate with restaurant staff. Equal Eats and Select Wisely can supply these cards, or ask your allergist to suggest a text and get it translated by a professional translator.

If you have an allergy to latex or any common medications, you will want similar cards in case you need medical attention.

Should I get vaccinated before I travel if I have allergies?

Six weeks before your trip make an appointment with a travel health adviser (for example, at one of our clinics). Our travel health professionals can tell you what travel vaccinations you need for your trip, for example, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever or hepatitis.

Some people have concerns about allergic reactions to vaccinations. At our clinics, the vaccines are administered by healthcare professionals who are trained to manage any emergency that might arise, including an allergic reaction. Talk to them about your allergies, and they can check that all the vaccines are safe for you. You can also discuss any vaccines suggested for your trip with your allergist.

If you cannot have a particular vaccine because of your allergies, our travel health experts can advise on reducing your exposure to potential pathogens, so make an appointment with Global Travel Clinics even if you think travel vaccines are not suitable for you.


Where can I find more information about traveling and living with food allergies?

Visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation to get information about living with allergies.