By Ross Mason
As a participant with InterExchange Camp USA, you are likely settled in at camp by now, and hopefully having a wonderful summer experiencing American culture and getting to know your campers and fellow team members. As you adjust to life in the U.S., you may also be adjusting to the plants and pollens that are unique to our country. As a result, allergies you haven't had to deal with before may emerge. Being aware of this and being prepared to manage allergies can help maintain your health and happiness.
As the summer months hit, the number of allergy sufferers greatly increases, mainly due to the higher levels of pollen in the atmosphere from all the blooming flowers and plants. As an international camp counselor or support staff member coming to a new country, the weather and environment are just another part of the adaptations you'll need to make.
Allergens vary throughout the world because of the wide range of weather patterns and vegetation, among other factors. Because the USA has such diverse climates, flora and fauna, depending on where your camp is located, you could be affected by different things.
However, with the correct planning and preparation - you can help make sure allergies do not disrupt your camp season. Here are a few helpful tips to get you through the summer allergy season:
- If you suffer from allergies back home, then you will most likely suffer when visiting the U.S., but perhaps not to the same extent. Therefore you will need to make sure you have the necessary medications. If you generally only require over the counter medication in your home country, you should still check to see if those medications are available over the counter in the U.S. If not, you should bring a supply for the season. If you are on prescribed allergy medications, you will need to fill prescriptions prior to leaving home to make sure you have enough medication. Insurance will not cover your medication abroad if you have an existing condition. </ul>
- Should you develop a new allergy while abroad, the first stop should be to the local pharmacy. A pharmacist can help select over the counter medication that will address most symptoms. Because accident & sickness insurance doesn't cover a doctor visit for allergies alone (unless the allergy is severe), it's best to find a safe treatment using over the counter medications. To find more natural summer allergy remedies, we recommend this excellent article from Mother Earth News which profiles six natural allergy remedies that could help.
- Another tip that works for many people to beat summer allergies is to consume local honey. Local honey will contain most of the main allergens in a particular area because of the bees who gather pollen from local flowers and plants. Exposure to local honey has been known to build up tolerance to allergens and can often help those suffering from summer allergies.
Although uncomfortable, summer allergies do not tend to last too long, so hopefully these tips will help you to effectively manage allergies and make the most of your cultural exchange experience.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.