Staying in Hotels When You Have Eczema
There should be a saying: “When you lose control of your environment, you can lose control of your eczema.” At home, you may know exactly how to manage your eczema triggers: You can clean with baking soda, you might have an air exchanger working on over time, and all of your clothes, towels, and sheets may be washed with eczema-safe detergent. But when you travel, you’re at the mercy of your hotel.
Hotels do of course clean their rooms every morning, but who knows what products they’re using? The sheets are washed and bleached within an inch of their thread count every day, and the air quality in the rooms is anyone’s guess. For someone who has eczema, these factors can make life very difficult as they can cause flare ups.
What steps can you take to make sure
that you have a measure of control over your environment when staying at a
1) The Internet is Your Friend
Thanks to a number of travel sites,
you can find reviews for a variety of hotels located at your destination. These
reviews can give you unbiased opinions about the hotel based on the experiences
of prior guests. You should look for a hotel that is very clean and goes the
extra mile with their guests. If you read a review that says a hotel smelled of
smoke despite a non-smoking policy, and that the level of cleanliness was
lacking, skip it. When you have eczema, the price of the room should be secondary
to the impact that the room will have on your health.
2) Call and Ask for Help
Many hotels will happily go out of
their way for a guest, especially if they are given plenty of warning. Tell
them about your or your child’s eczema and ask if there is the possibility that
extra care could be taken when cleaning your room. Request that only allergy-safe
cleaners are used when the room is made up for you, and see if they would be
willing to do a deep clean of the carpets using a vacuum with an HEPA filter.
Finally, mention that you would prefer to use your own sheets and towels that
have been washed in your own safe detergent, and bring those along with you
when you travel.
3) Pack Smart
Walk through your daily eczema management routine and take notes. Make a specific packing list just for things related to avoiding or managing a flare up. Remember the items that come in contact with or rub against your skin daily, like towels or sheets. We would suggest taking the correct size of sheets for your hotel bed, a few towels, a rescue suit for your child, any ointments or creams that you use on a regular basis, and a small emergency supply of laundry detergent in case you need to do a small wash in a sink. For laundry while traveling, we also recommend that you avoid laundry machines that aren’t yours; you don’t know what product was last used.
Take all of these suggested items and
split the most important ones, medications especially, between your personal
luggage and your checked luggage. That way, if your luggage gets misplaced, you
still have an emergency supply.
4) Allergy Check
Think about your or your child’s eczema triggers or allergies and plan accordingly. If either of you have a sensitivity to eating or smelling seafood, make sure that the hotel doesn’t have a seafood restaurant in the lobby. You should check ahead for eating establishments around the hotel that are safe for allergy sufferers. It’s obviously impossible to avoid all of your triggers all of the time, but you can certainly minimize the risk.
Travel can be incredibly stressful, and even more so when you need to take these extra precautions. If something unforeseen happens while you’re on vacation, well that is just the joy of travelling! Just do your best to think ahead, try to cover all of your bases, and have a fantastic trip!
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