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Don't Let Allergies Ruin Your Gapyear

As the job market grows more competitive, many students are choosing to broaden their career skills by taking a gap year. Gaining life and work experience, learning a foreign language, and increasing cultural intelligence are just a few of the many benefits of working abroad. However, living abroad for an entire year does not come without stress. Depending on where you travel, you may not receive the same quality of health care that you are accustomed to at home. This can be especially alarming for people who have asthma or allergies. With thoughtful planning and extra care, you can take control of your allergies and still reap the benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Dont' let allergies ruin your gapyear


Preparation Is Key

Before you embark on your gap year, visit your doctor for a physical and have your medications refilled. Ask the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting how much of your medicine you may bring with you. Some countries will only let you bring in a thirty-day supply of certain medications. You should also apply for travel insurance that covers you in the country where you will be working. Carefully read the fine print before you purchase an insurance policy, as some policies do not cover certain chronic illnesses. When you arrive at your destination, see a doctor and/or allergy specialist right away. Don’t wait until you run out of medication or have an allergic reaction to figure out where to receive treatment.

Pick the Best Destination for Your Health Needs

Your health is the most important factor to consider when deciding where to spend your gap year. Many people with asthma or allergies are affected by the season or the climate, so you should pick a destination that is most beneficial to your health. If you are allergic to mould, you should try not to spend your gap year in a tropical place because mould thrives in warm, humid environments. You may want to avoid high-altitude regions, where oxygen levels are lower and the air is colder, if you have asthma. If you are allergic to pollen, you should consider checking pollen levels before deciding where to work. Avoid visiting a country during the time of year when the pollen count is highest.

Learn Helpful Phrases in the Local Language

If you do have an allergic reaction, you’ll need medical care as soon as possible. You may receive faster treatment if you can ask for help in the local language. Some useful phrases are: “I am having an allergic reaction,” “I need an ambulance,” or “Where is the nearest hospital?” Use a free translation service to get the right phrasing or ask a local for help. Write down these phrases on a card, along with a list of your allergies, and carry this card on you at all times. This can be especially helpful if you have food allergies. You can present your allergy card to your waiter instead of having to explain your food allergies every time you go out to eat.

A gap year is an exciting time of growth and self-discovery. Allergies and asthma can hinder your enjoyment of this opportunity or even send you back home. Choosing the right destination and being prepared for an allergy attack could mean the difference between a miserable trip and an incredible, life-changing experience