The bed sheets and towels at hotels are always an important topic. Any establishment that wants to accept guests must adhere to very high cleanliness standards when it comes to these items. However, even if the intention is good, an allergic reaction to hotel sheets can still happen. So how does it happen and what can you do about it?
Most of the time the allergic reaction from hotel sheets or hotel towers are due to cleaning detergents. Whether it’s the actual detergent, the bleach they use, or maybe the fragrances is hard to answer, but the chemicals in each of these can cause a reaction from certain travelers.
So if you are prone to skin allergies you should definitely take care when you travel. Let’s explore some of the options you might have to keep yourself safe.
What can cause an allergic reaction to hotel sheets?
The simplest and most common form of allergic reaction to hotel sheets is skin irritation. It can appear as rashes and can cause an itchy feeling. Usually, the symptoms are pretty mild but some people have reported that they are unable to sleep due to the itchiness.
Why does this happen? Simply put, different countries use different products. For example, an American hotel will use different products for cleaning the room and cleaning the sheets than an Indian hotel would use. Similarly, an Italian hotel probably uses different products from a Canadian one.
It’s all about what is available and what is the law. Some countries allow different chemicals into their products than others.
Even when traveling between one country you can have an allergy problem. Hotel chains usually use the same detergent products in all of their hotels so if you are allergic to one you are most likely allergic to all of their rooms.
Allergy beyond hotel sheets and towels
People tend to forget that it’s not just the bedding and the towels that can cause allergies when you are staying in a hotel. Usually, you get products for bathing or even for the beach like sunscreen.
If you are someone who has skin allergies then we recommend not using these products or testing them first on a small area. Hotel shampoo, hotel soap, or hotel sunscreen can all cause skin irritation.
There’s also the air quality. Sometimes mold is hiding in a corner which can cause an allergic reaction. If you book a hotel that lets pets in as well then you may encounter pet allergy if the cleaning is not thorough.
One more issue is bed bugs. If you have small red bites it might not be an allergy but bed bugs. Here’s a good article on recognizing bed bugs in a hotel.
How to prevent allergic reactions from hotel sheets?
If you usually have allergies to hotel sheets then you will be happy to learn that it’s actually a recognized issue. It’s something that affects a lot of travelers and lately, we’ve seen a positive change in hotel management regarding the allergy issue.
Hypoallergic Hotel Rooms
The first solution you should think about is no-allergy or low-allergy hotel rooms. Major chains worldwide have started to implement such rooms. They’ll take extra care to avoid ingredients that are known to cause irritation.
Whether it’s a skin allergy or another type these hotel rooms are a good pick. Unfortunately, hotels do charge a premium price for these rooms.
The most important chains that offer hypoallergic rooms are Hyatt, Westin, Four Seasons, Doubletree, and Residence Inn.
Quick Tip: To see if a hotel has hypoallergic options go to the hotel page, scroll down to the bottom where you can see all the information about a hotel, and look in the ‘General’ section. Here ‘allergy-free’, ‘hypoallergic’, or something similar will be mentioned if the hotel offers this service.
Talk to the hotel beforehand
If you don’t have the option to book a hypoallergic room then you are not all lost. You may talk to your hotel before you travel. Ask them if it’s possible to take extra care when preparing your room.
If you have a list of ingredients that makes you allergic to hotel sheets then you can provide this list. Then the hotel can pick detergents which don’t have it and you can enjoy your holidays without any problem.
Ask for new sheets
If you are already at the hotel and it turns out that your skin is allergic to the hotel sheets then you might want to ask for new ones. Ask that the new ones are washed with care and with possibly avoid highly allergenic ingredients.
If you know brands that don’t cause an allergic reaction then maybe you can try to recommend them for washing your sheets.
Bring your own sheets
Finally, if you have no other options, you might bring your own sheets and pillows. Of course, they do take up a considerable amount of space in your luggage so it’s definitely not the best option.
If you must bring your own then we recommend that you buy travel-specific items. These travel sheets can be stored in smaller spaces and it’s easier to take them abroad. You may also look into sleeping bags.
Sure it’s definitely not the most comfortable to use a sleeping bag over a bed but it beats having itchy skin all day.
PJs to the rescue
One more prevention method is to simply put on some long sleeves and long-leg pajamas. They will prevent contact between your skin and the hotel sheets. They also take less space than taking your actual sheets with you.
What are the best remedies if you already have an allergic reaction?
Okay, these are all great tips but what if, you are already in a hotel and you are already experiencing an allergic reaction to hotel sheets? We do have some tips for you too.
Stop using the hotel sheets
The first and most important thing you can do is to stop using whatever is causing you an allergic reaction. In this case, it might be the hotel sheets so ask for new ones, try to sleep without them, and generally avoid using them.
Most skin irritation goes away if contact with the allergen stops.
A cool shower
It doesn’t sound fun but it might help. Cool water usually calms the skin. If you can bare with the cold shower then we do recommend taking one. It will make you less itchy and it will relax your skin.
Aloe vera is one of the best remedies for any kind of skin problem. It can also help in case of rashes and allergic reactions. Try to get a hold of some fresh aloe vera leaves and apply the gel inside them to your skin.
Sometimes nothing works and you must take medication. If you are someone who is prone to allergic reactions then your usual allergy medication might do wonders here as well. In case you never had an allergy problem before then you should check our next point before going on a shopping spree.
Go to the doc
Is this allergy something new? Maybe you can’t seem to find what causes it. Is it not going away? Then go to the doc. It’s your best bet. If you have travel insurance than you should have no problems seeing a doctor abroad.