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Leisure Activities and Safe Travel

I just saw on the news today that cruise ships have very poor air quality, and can especially cause problems for people with heart or lung condition such as asthma:

I personally won't go on airplanes with their current pet policies, since both my son and I have dander allergies snd my dander allergies are so severe they cause life-threatening asthma attacks and the worsening of a severe chronic allergic disease that affects all my organs (lungs, heart, intestines, as well as blood vessels). Taking medications to try and pretreat is not a viable option for me as they may cover up symptoms but do not stop inflammatory blood cells from causing long-term inflammation and damage, which would require very harsh medications with bad side effects to get the disease under control again. Dander is difficult to get rid of and travels widely in the air, on clothing, and on upholstery inside places– so any enclosed space animals regularly reside or visit is not a safe place for me. 

Hotels can be pet-friendly, and ones that asvertise as such, I avoid. I understand some are required by law to allow service animals– that is a problem for me. I have heard of calling ahead to "No pets allowed" hotels to make sure you are not kept near a service animal or in a room a service snimal was previously in. I also try to go only to places without carpet, or that are not really old (reduces chances of mold and dust irritants). I have had good experiences at

-Farfield Inns: they were Service Animals only,( I did not see any on my 4 day stay), and I did not have any irritating scents. It was clean. I did bring my air purifier, own comforter and pillows. 

Thank goodness I have a car for transportation!!!

I drive to travel. It is the best mode of transportation for my son and I.

For leisure activities, I have fun browsing bookstores. Older libraries can harbor lots of dust and scents that librarians spray on them bother me. Plus I have seen dogs in my libraries. Our bookstore of choice is

Books-A-Million

-No pets allowed. Service Animals Only. And I don't typically see people trying to abuse the policy inside. Barnes and Nobles are Pet-friendly now, so those with dander allergies/allergic asthma could get flared up from going inside them. 

Our Grocery of Choice is

Publix

-does not allow animals in carts, has signage and enforces its No Pets or ESE animals, Service Animals Only. Very clean inside without major smells or irritating fragrances.

-CVS, (at least the ones Ive been to) No pets, Service Aninals Only. I did see a person with a new puppy and informed the manager and they were very kind in responding right away and informing the person the puppy could not be there, it is store policy, and that dander can irritate people with serious health conditions.

I decided to create this topic as a place people can discuss ways they travel safely, as well as leisure activities that they are able to do safely, and shopping places as well. Also, to note activities or places that are not asthma or allergy friendly. 

I know we all have different triggers, so each person might have a different safe place, which is totally fine! Just note whatever you like, don't like, and if you notice something about a place that might bother others, you can add that in, but mostly it is just a place for us to reflect on activities and places in our communities.

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  • Kathy P

    That's a great list Shea – I'm always impressed with how self-aware you are about your surroundings!

    I like to be outdoors! That's my happy place. But I have to think about air quality, dampness/mold and pollen. And then I have to choose my activity level based on how I'm feeling in general.

  • Melissa G

    Wow, Shea! You truly are an inspiration! 

    We only travel by car too. Too many medical supplies to pack for Bekah to do anything else. 

  • Breatheeasy

    My issue with travelling on the plane is that I stress out too much. I was on a 14 hour turbulent plane one time. Every plane ride after that is scary. It might flare my asthma. 

    I prefer travelling by car too. Eastcoast is great to travel around. But I don’t know any place I like visiting except for NYC. I know my rhinitis kicks in everywhere when it’s pollen season. And I have been developing summer allergies too. And winter is terrible for travelling. So just going around NYC in summer is ok for me. As there’s nothing to do where I live. 

    I did enjoy visiting FL even with a viral infection last year. I avoid the beach though. And ofcourse I plan on using the mask for travel next time onwards.  

  • Melissa G

    Breatheeasy, you are right, there is a lot to do on the East coast. I like visiting near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

  • Shea

    I have never been to New York– but want to go one day. It seems like such a cool place! I have also heard gread things about Pennsylvania. I am not a big- city person, so I'd have to go with someone who knows the areas for sure, or I'd get lost or on trouble, lol. I do have a good friend who lives up there– but she has cats snd dogs so Id gave to wait until I could afford a hotel and the teavel expenses.

    The furthest I have travelled since being ill was driving to Tennessee, but I also went to North Carolina and that was beautiful. There is so much to do near me in Florida, so stay-cations are my favorite, but it is nice to occasionally break out and go to another state. I used to go to Minnesota to visit relatives, but they all have dogs and I just don't have the money for travelling far any time soon. Tommy and I have been keeping in touch with my sister, who is in Tennessee, with weekly online video-gaming with her and her live-in boyfriend and that is fun! 

  • dory2005

    Shea, This is a great topic! I have had good experiences at Comfort Inn and Suites. The ones where I have stayed have been Pet Free (except service dogs), and they don't have down pillows (allergic to down). One of the things that I've noticed is that the more expensive hotels seem to be going to pet friendly. I'm not sure why except that they can charge an extra 50-75 a day for cleaning. Maybe it's a money grab? 

     

  • Shea

    Im not sure why more places are going pet-friendly– but I think part of it is that us allergic/asthmatic folks don't have as strong of a voice yet, and if they knew about us they'd market toward us– at least some would. So we have to just keep speaking up for ourselves, and representing ourselves in our own businesses, careers, lives, and any ways we can. In tbe meantime, I am really appreciating those pet-free places that do exist.

  • Pljohns

    This is a great topic Shea! 

    Two years ago we flew from Atlanta to San Diego-I had a lady next to me with a miniture schnauzer!  It wasn't in a crate or anything and was all over her and me the entire flight.  I was NOT happy.  It wasn't a service animal-just a pet that she didn't want to leave at home.  I was really glad when the flight was over and that I wasn't allergic to pets.  We would have had to get off the plane because of her dog.

    I've noticed more and more hotels going pet friendly too and I understand people wanting to take their pets with them (we have 3 dogs) but I wouldn't inflict my pets or dander on anyone-if someone wants a dog, they will get one, they shouldn't have to deal with mine just because I love them and don't like to leave them.  We board them anytime we go out of town.

  • K8sMom2002

    What a great topic! Thanks, Shea!

    What a great idea, too, to call ahead and let the hotel management know about your allergies and asthma. I'm assuming you call the actual hotel and not their 1-800 corporate number?

    AAFA has a terrific resource on . 

    I admit … I'm a homebody. I prefer my own house, and my DH is even worse than me. He'd go to the moon … if he could get home by dark.

  • Dawn Graziano

    Don't we have any rights according to the ADA? I am angry that I can no longer travel by plane. We had a time share in Mexico that we used to frequent each year. We loved it and it was our considered as our second home. We finally had to sell it as we were  losing money each year paying for annual fees and not being able to fly any longer. I would like to know if anyone has filed a law suit against the FAA/airlines? What about our rights? If they have 2-3 flights to MX  or any where for that matter, per day can they not make one animal free and safe for people with the disability of severe asthma and allergies? I am now retired but while I was still employed at times I was required to fly. With the new policies allowing pets on flights this  would have stood in the way of my making a living and supporting my family. Does the AAFA have attorneys on hand for advice and support. We need to stand  together and not give up on this issue. I  also travel only by car now throughout the U.S. but this is just not fair.  What about our rights?

  • K8sMom2002

    Welcome, Dawn! That stinks that you had to give up your timeshare in Mexico because you were unable to fly!

    Currently, airline flights aren't regulated under the ADA. Instead, they are covered under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The ADA has a much narrower definition of "service animal" than the ACAA.

    AAFA supports the current  as introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, as it will provide a pathway for passengers to file complaints.

    AAFA is working to help address this issue.  In June of 2018,  explaining why asthma and allergies should be taken into consideration as disabilities during airline travel.  

    Here's a link to the most recent letter: and an excerpt:

    AAFA recognizes the importance of accommodating those with disabilities who benefit from bringing a comfort animal on board a flight. However, a balanced policy must be achieved to also protect airline passengers who are at risk of severe allergic reactions to pet dander. An increase in the number of comfort animals allowed to board a flight unfortunately directly increases the risk to the health of those with animal allergies.

  • Shea

    Cynthia, just want to pop in and say I personally really appreciate AAFA's efforts above. I did read that Delta airline is tightening up a little bit by adding extra criteria fir emotional support animals to lessen fake ones or blatant misbehaving ones:

    I still cant travel with animals on board. I know the defense for animals on board is  "Federal law permits service animals to fly in-cab with their owners — as long as they do not pose a threat to the health and safety of others." The fact that they all do is ignored. I dont know if any lawyer can help us there. 

  • Dawn Graziano

    Hello Cynthia, Thank you for your response and additional information.I would like to know the response to Mr. Mendez's letter submitted dtd June 2018 to the ACAA.

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, so glad we're seeing some fruit of the efforts all of us in the allergy community are putting in. We have a long way to go, but with folks like you and Dawn and so many others, maybe the industry is getting the message that people with allergies count, too.

    Dawn, I know it's a work in progress … I'll see about getting the latest for you. But by following the blogs, you'll also keep up with the latest on all sorts of advocacy issues.