While we all tend to get excited at the arrival of spring and summer – hay fever season is never fun.
Hay fever affects up to 30% of all adults and up to 40% of all children in the UK alone.
As it goes, it would seem we’re in the midst of a hay fever surge right now.
However, it’s often a common misconception that escaping the UK and travelling to another country, where the climate might be significantly different, means that you are also escaping your own nasty hay fever symptoms.
Far from it, in fact.
That’s why this guide should help you cover all bases in terms of preventing your hay fever from getting the better of you during your holidays.
It’s at this time of year, where pollen count is at its highest in the UK. Hay fever season usually starts in March and can last right up until the end of September – depending on weather conditions.
If you suffer with hay fever, it’s always recommended to do your research ahead of booking a trip. As far as pollen count is concerned, some countries have higher pollen counts than others – but it’s always worth checking before booking a flight.
Mainland Europe can have quite a high pollen count during hay fever season depending on where you go. The sea breeze tends to blow pollen in land, so the further you travel from the coast in any given country, the higher the pollen count is likely to be.
Island destinations, like Tenerife or Corfu are seen as ideal destinations during hay fever season for that very reason.
In America, the hay fever season tends to last from March to May. That being said, trees can start to flower as early as December in states like California, Arizona and Colorado.
Hay fever season in Australia for instance, is entirely different. While it’s winter in the UK, it’s spring/summer in Australia – and therefore you need to bear in mind the fact that if you’re planning a winter getaway to Australia during this time, the pollen count will be high.
In Africa, and North Africa especially – where the climate is extremely dry, pollen count is very low throughout the year. So, places like Egypt and Morocco are perfect for hay fever sufferers.
Where you choose to go on holiday is entirely your decision – and should never really be dictated by the fact you suffer with hay fever, provided you can manage your own treatment sufficiently.
However, there are some types of holidays that are better-suited to hay fever sufferers than others.
For instance, outdoor holidays such as camping trips, leave you exposed to the elements for many hours each day – especially if you’re sleeping in a tent.
That being said, other outdoor holidays, such as ski trips, usually take place in winter climates – where pollen levels are virtually non-existent.
As mentioned above, the sea breeze tends to blow pollen further inland – so beach holidays are also a good option.
Again, even if you’ve travelled to a destination where the pollen count is low overall, you should still try and avoid walking in grassy areas, and try and wear sunglasses for extra protection around the eyes.
Hay fever relief is essential for enjoying your trip.
You should therefore take everything that you can with you in terms of your own personal hay fever treatment. Hay fever tablets can be carried in your hand luggage, as well as hay fever nasal spray (provided it is 100ml or less and carried in a clear plastic bag).
Although you may be travelling to a country where the pollen count is low, if you’re hay fever symptoms are still severe before you board the plane, you should still resume your hay fever treatment for a number of days after you’ve landed, until your symptoms become less aggressive.
Since the vast majority of countries worldwide experience their own hay fever season, hay fever treatment is readily accessible in most places.
However, if your hay fever symptoms have been especially severe, your doctor may have prescribed an oral antihistamine such as loratadine for example. Antihistamines can be consumed in tablet or syrup form – but it’s always wise to have the generic name of this type of medication written down in case you need to get some more while you’re abroad.
This will make it much easier for a pharmacy to understand exactly what you need.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the cost of your medication, should it be lost or stolen can be covered by a standard medical travel insurance policy.
In addition to cancellation, curtailment, personal accident and a range of other policy benefits, medical travel insurance is an important asset in terms of giving you the peace of mind to enjoy your holiday without the fear of paying any unwanted expenses.
You can declare hay fever as a condition during our medical screening process in order to get quotes from specialist insurers who can provide you with more optimum cover based on your own personal situation.
This is a special consideration to bear in mind if you suffer particularly badly with hay fever.