Camping and the great outdoors calls many a family. But what risks will greet you as you venture into the woods? Especially for those living with allergies, it’s critical to know in advance the threats that exist in the wild.
Prepare your body
Make sure to take allergy medication in advance of a camping trip. For many, taking an antihistamine like Benadryl ahead of a trip can make the difference between not facing any trouble and living through days of misery at the hands of airborne irritants. You can also speak to your allergist about whether a change in dosage to normal allergy medications could better protect your body from increased risks that come after spending hours outdoors. You can also train your body to prepare for allergens. Eureka recommends individuals take daily doses of honey to prepare the body to exposure to foreign pollens and build a tolerance.
Research your locale
Especially if you camp in springtime, high pollen counts can infect that warm mountain air with irritants. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology keeps data publicly available of pollen counts in areas around the country.
Stock your first aid kit
Bring a properly stocked first aid kit for treating any type of threat you encounter. For those For those at risk of anaphylactic shock following bee or wasp stings, make sure to bring epinephrine and a ready Epi-Pen in case you are in need of a post-sting shock. If a child at risk of an allergic reaction is campaign with a scout troop or other activity, it’s important an adult knows how to give an injection.
Keep your sheets and tent clean
Especially for those suffering from mold injuries, the greatest threat from allergens could come when you lay your head down at night. A sleeping bag, air mattress or tent lining provides the only barrier between your respiratory airways and the cold, wet ground below. Make sure to keep those items clean and sanitized. When you finish up one trip, make sure to properly clean your tent and wash your sleeping supplies immediately.
Really think about that campfire
While many love the idea of roasting s’mores during a camping trip, it’s possible to enjoy the outdoors without setting deadwood on fire and breathing in the fumes. A 2018 study by Environment & Human Health noted serious dangers to human health that come from inhaling smoke from wood fires, contributing to a growing consensus the particulates put in the air provide a health risk similar to second-hand smoke in terms of health risk. Burning wood presents additional problems for those with mold allergies stirred by the burning of wood and bark.
Plan your meals
Don’t expect roughing it in the wild to present a buffet of allergy-sensitive food options. Plan your own meals ahead of a trip that take into account any food allergies suffered by family members or fellow camp goers. It’s also smart if you want to avoid allergens to bring your own grilling and cooking utensils.