When you travel for work or for fun, atopic dermatitis comes along for the ride. Travel can be exciting and stressful. Some planning can make it easier.
If you are flying to your destination, take some steps to reduce the toll on your body. Travel in loose, comfortable clothing. Remember to hydrate! Even if you can't bring your own drinking fluids, most airports now have hydration stations where you can refill your own bottle. Don't over-caffeinate and avoid alcohol on the flight.
Be weather aware
A new climate can bring new hazards. If you are traveling for pleasure and can choose your destination (unlike business travel), you may want to consider this when planning your destination. Colder climates are often dryer and can exacerbate skin conditions. High altitude can affect you in unexpected ways, making you feel dry, dizzy, and tired. Warm and humid climates might make you sweat more. A change in water hardness might affect your skin. Many people find the ocean soothing and healing, but don't forget you may need more sunscreen!
Also when planning your trip, consider a slower pace. It will likely be less stressful. You can also have more time to acclimate to the new environment. Zipping through multiple climate zones and locations can take a toll on your skin.
Pack your skin care "toolbox"
When you travel, bring all the tools in your toolbox - your favorite moisturizers and medicated creams that you use daily and for flare-ups. Try to keep your skin care regimen as close to your normal routine as possible. Beware the shampoos, soaps, and lotions in your hotel, which are fragrance heavy and may react with your skin.
Must have medications
Traveling with medications takes special planning. Keep prescription medications and over the counter remedies in their original packaging. The prescription label can prove this medication is legally yours. Some foreign countries (like Japan and the United Arab Emirates) have strict laws abolishing certain medications. Be sure to check the medication and drug laws if you are traveling abroad. It might be wise to have your physician write a letter stating what medications you are taking, what the active ingredients are, and why they are prescribed.
If you are flying, keep your medications in your carry-on luggage. That way they won't be lost or inaccessible. When you are traveling by car, don't leave your medications in a hot trunk or compartment. Heat may destroy or inactivate your medications. Of course, take enough doses to last your entire trip, plus a few extra in case you are delayed on return. If you find you have forgotten a critical medication, contact your pharmacy and see if they can transfer the prescription to a pharmacy in your present locale.
Do you have safe snacks?
If you have food allergies, plan ahead as much as possible. Call restaurants ahead or check out their menus online to see if they can accommodate you. Let your hosts know of your food allergies, and explain in detail what you can eat. (A dairy-free friend was served a meal that contained sour cream because they thought that was OK). Suggestions of easy meals that will work for you are helpful. And bring plenty of snacks that work for you, in case you can't eat much of what is offered. You may want to book accommodation with a kitchen so that you can safely prepare some of your own meals.
Even though the stress of travel can bring on a flare-up, visiting new places or old friends brings enriches our lives. As much as possible, build breaks into your schedule, and try to find time to relax and enjoy the ride.
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