Surely you’ve experienced this.
Airplanes can be like flying petri dishes because people travel with germs that can be dispersed throughout the cabin.
You’ve been anticipating a getaway. The time has arrived. Your bags are packed and you’re ready to go. Then something happens that can ruin your trip. You’re sneezing, eyes are itchy, and sinuses are clogged.
You are allergic to your dream destination.
Pollen, dust, mold spores, air pollution, etc. all cause nasal irritation, making you miserable. You run to a drugstore to get allergy medicine; but that may make you drowsy or feel out of it.
It’s no way to sight-see.
Removing irritants that cause discomfort can provide relief. Nasal irrigation – as gross as it sounds – is a long-used, effective therapy.
Few anticipate feeling lousy while on vacation or a business trip. Arming yourself is easy and you’ll be glad you are prepared. Traveling with kids? Ditto x 10.
- Don’t leave home without it: Travelers should consider the “blooming” seasons of your destinations when making plans. Be sure to pack items that will help with relief: tissues, nasal irrigation, laundry soap to wash clothes that get particles trapped in the weave, hand sanitizer, etc.
- Give me moisture: The dry air in-flight or visits to high altitudes can really leave nasal passages parched and irritated. Swollen sinuses can cause additional discomfort due to the change in pressure during takeoff and landing. A couple of sprays of an herbal enhanced nasal spray will soothe and moisturize your nose making it easier to breath. Its essential oils will help open you up, too, relieving pressure.
- Flying Petri dish prophylactics: Your nose has natural protectants which help fight airborne bacteria and germs. When nasal passages are dried out, as when you’re on an airplane, those natural protectants don’t work as well. By moisturizing nasal passages, you can help ward off the germs your fellow passengers brought on board with them. Saline nasal sprays can help. Also, drink lots of water, bring a mask to wear, and antiseptic wipes for surfaces you’ll touch.
The first step to manage this condition is to avoid allergens that cause symptoms. For instance, if you are allergic to dust mites, it is important to take steps to prevent exposure to dust mites, such as frequently washing bed linens in hot water. The same is true for outdoor allergens. Limiting your exposure during times of high pollen and mold counts may help reduce symptoms.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays (i.e. Flonase® or Nasonex®) treat inflammation and reduce all symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including itching, sneezing, runny nose and stuffiness. Antihistamines (i.e. Benadryl®) in the form of liquid, pills or nasal sprays block histamine and may relieve itching, sneezing and runny nose. But they may not be as effective in reducing nasal stuffiness. Anti-leukotrienes (i.e. Singulair® or Accolate®) in pill form can also reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can be used as needed if nasal stuffiness is not relieved with other medications. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for long periods of time because they can cause your congestion to return and worsen. In fact a new website, www.NoseSprayAddiction.com has helpful information for people who have become addicted to certain medicated nasal sprays.
Consider another alternative. Saline sinus rinses can bring relief to patients with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems without the use of medication.
If you suffer from chronic or acute sinus infections, sinus rinses can be helpful in removing and thinning out excessive mucus. If you have allergic rhinitis, these rinses can bring relief by removing allergens from the nostrils and sinuses.
Your medical practitioner may recommend allergy testing and if appropriate allergy shots if your symptoms are constant, if you do not want to take medications or feel that they are not enough, or if you want long-term control of your allergies with less need for medications. This treatment involves allergy testing to determine your allergic triggers and receiving injections periodically—as determined by your practitioner—over a period of three to five years.