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BellaOnline's Allergies and Colds Editor

Camping with allergies

Summer camping can create lasting memories but how do you enjoy the great outdoors if you have allergies? Individuals with allergies can have a safe and fun camping trip if they do extra pre-planning and take precautions on their outing.

Allergy symptoms can come on suddenly when on a camping trip as I found out recently. I experienced sneezing, running nose and eye irritation that lasted my entire outing. I never was able to pinpoint the cause but having along my allergy medication and saline nasal spray helped me deal with the symptoms.

Here are some pre-planning tips for your next camping trip:

•Individuals with food allergies/sensitivities should prepare or purchase, and pack along healthy non-allergenic snacks and foods.

•Those allergic to stinging insects, such as bees, need to carry along an Epi-Pen. Make sure either you or someone in your group knows how to use the Epi-Pen.

•No one likes mosquitoes but some people experience allergic reactions, including redness, itching and swelling. Pack mosquito repellant, wear long pants and shirts, and carry antihistamines. Consider purchasing clothing that repels insects.

•Prepare a first-aid kit with your medications, such as antihistamines, inhaler, Epi-Pen, cortisone for skin reactions and saline nasal spray, a safe and easy way to flush out irritants from the nasal passages.

•Individuals with mold allergies should air out their tents before heading into the woods. Mold spores can trigger allergy or asthma attacks in sensitive individuals.

•Sunscreen allergies are becoming a problem because of frequent use of sunscreen with certain ingredients. Pack along a hypoallergenic barrier sunblock such as zinc oxide to avoid this problem.

Precautions to take while camping:

•Campfire smoke can be an irritant and stir up allergy symptoms. If you have a campfire, sit farther away and out of the path of campfire smoke.

•Dirt and dust go hand and hand with camping but can create breathing issues for some people. Try to find a grassy area for your campsite.

•Watch out for plants, such as poison ivy, that can trigger contact dermatitis. Wear long pants and pack along lotions, ointments and antihistamines in case you are exposed.

•Ragweed, which grows in open meadows, is a plant that can cause allergy symptoms to flare up. Its growing season typically begins in July or August and lasts through the first hard frost.

•Tree pollen may cause allergy symptoms in early spring through June.

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