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Consistently Sick on Vacation? The Cause Might Surprise You

If you’re one of the many individuals who consistently find themselves with a stuffy nose and headaches while away on vacation, you’re not alone. And the culprit causing your discomfort might surprise you. Allergies (yes, like the ones you get during the change of seasons) could very well be the source of your suffering. Airbnbs, hotels, lake houses and shore homes could be harboring allergen triggers you didn’t even know you had.

If you’ve frequently experienced cold-like symptoms (headache, runny nose, sneezing, itchy and/or watery eyes) while you’re away, it might be time to seek the advice of a board-certified allergist. Here are some of the hidden allergens that could be causing your summertime sickness:


Mold allergies tend to be biggest offender causing summertime sickness in unknowing vacationers both indoors and outdoors. Shore homes, mountain houses and hotel rooms are a breeding ground for mold—thanks to their warm moist environments. If your room has a musty odor, mold is probably present. To lessen your chances of having an allergy flare up, book a room away from an indoor pool (they’re a magnet for mold spores!), pack a dehumidifier to lessen the space’s dampness, keep wet or damp clothing outdoors, wipe up any window condensation and inspect the bathroom, grout and air conditioning filters for mold and mildew. If you spot any (hint—if you see a pale pink line around the rim of the tub, shower or window, it’s mold!), spray on a mold-specific disinfectant like Lysol, or Clorox.

Dust Mites

The itchy eyes, runny nose and sore throat you’ve been experiencing might be caused by dust mite droppings. Dust mites love dark places, especially bedding and carpets. To deter dust mites from ruining your trip, bring your own dust mite pillow cases, and stay in the least humid accommodation you can find. Dust mites thrive in humid climates.

Animal Dander

Another irritant you might not have considered? Pet dander. It can hang around hotel rooms for up to thirty days. Cat fur and saliva are even worse, lasting up to a year. Just because you, personally, steer clear of pet parenthood doesn’t mean other guests avoid bringing their furry friend along with them to the Airbnb. Before you book your stay, make sure the space is a pet-free room and ask the management team if any pets have ever stayed at the residence. If you do wind up in a once pet-occupied room, spray the space with an anti-allergy spray and vacuum to eliminate any pet dander, mold spores and dust mites.

Prep Ahead of Time

While it’s wise to eliminate as many of the causes of allergens as you can, it’s always best to consult a board-certified allergist ahead of time and put a plan into action. Schedule an appointment with a board-certified allergist at Allergy & Asthma Specialists. Their team of specialists will pinpoint exactly what allergen is triggering your cold-like symptoms by performing an allergy skin test. Once your triggers are identified, they’ll put a personalized plan into action to fight off any unwanted symptoms and get you in tip top shape, just in time for your trip.


Spend your summer enjoying your hard-earned PTO. Schedule a skin test with a fellowship-trained, board-certified allergist, visit Allergy & Asthma Specialists online or call 1-800-86cough to get started today.