If you love camping and hiking but suffer from allergies, you may think you will have to wait until after the spring pollen burst is over. If your allergies are more severe, it may seem like winter is the only safe option. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy camping on your own schedule instead of that of your allergies. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Take a buddy
For those with severe anaphylactic reactions to things commonly encountered when camping and hiking, such as bees, it may be a good idea to limit your trips to those that you can take with a buddy. You should both carry an ephedrine auto injector, sometimes called an epipen, in the event your allergy is triggered. Make sure your buddy knows when and how to use the injector. If you do decide to go on your own, make sure you keep your injector somewhere that can easily be reached, such as a hip belt pocket, so you don't need to dig through your pack or first aid kit to find it.
Tip #2: Switch to a handkerchief
Tissues are horribly drying, especially if you are using them to wipe your nose or eyes in outdoor conditions that can already be drying or chafing. Instead, switch to cloth handkerchiefs for your trip. You can rinse them in boiling water each evening that you are camping and allow them to dry overnight. This also cuts down on the amount of garbage that you have to pack out.
Tip #3: Bring lotion and balm
A runny nose is also likely to become chapped, as is your lips, if you are suffering minor allergy symptoms. Pack along some unscented lotion and a lip balm. Avoid scented options – not only can these sometimes trigger allergies, they may also attract insect or animal pests.
Tip #4: Pack some saline spray
Rinsing out your nasal passages each evening, and throughout the day as needed, can go a long way toward removing some of the irritating pollen and lessening your allergy symptoms. You can find small all-in-one spray bottles that are just right for slipping into your backpack.
Tip #5: Pitch your tent carefully
Look around the spot for possible allergens before pitching the tent. Avoid low-lying or damp areas, since these can harbor allergy-causing mold and pollen also tends to settle in these areas. You should also avoid obvious allergens, which means don't camp in a grove of trees that are known allergens or next to a wildflower meadow. The best place to camp is often on a hill top, since the breeze will sweep the pollen away from you.
Before heading out, talk to an allergist like Diane L. Ozog, MD, SC as well. They can help you determine a treatment plan, including medicines, that will work well in the wilderness.