If you are thinking of booking a holiday or travelling with food allergies then check out our top tips for travelling with allergies to ensure a safe & enjoyable trip. Travelling abroad creates lots of excitement in the family, much needed sunshine & time out but if you or your child has serious allergies, you may feel anxious about travelling & keeping them safe. With some forward planning and preparation the whole family can have a great holiday.
Here are our top tips for travelling with allergies
# Talk to your Health Care Professional
Talk to your health care professional and seek advice on travelling with serious allergies. They are best placed to advise you on your particular medical requirements. Ensure your prescriptions, medications and emergency plan are with you and up to date. If you are flying you should get a letter from your health care professional and a copy of your prescription to carry an adrenaline pen or other medicines on board a plane.
# Flying with allergies
Contact your airline in advance and notify them of your allergies. For nut allergies ask if they will make an announcement restricting the sale of nut & nut products on the flight and to request that passengers do not open any nut products they have bought on board. Some airlines are very accommodating & will do this as a matter of course if you advise them of a severe peanut or tree nut allergy. Some may not, it’s better to know in advance and fly with airlines who will prioritise your safety.
Check whether food and snacks to be served on board are free from your allergens. If the airline can’t accommodate you, bring your own food/snacks. It is a good idea to bring extra in case your flight is delayed.
On the day of the flight remind the flight attendant once you board of your child’s allergies. If you have notified the airline already they should be happy to make an announcement to request other passengers refrain from eating food you or your child is allergic to that may cause an inhalation reaction. If possible, board the plane early so you can clean your seat, fold up tray and the area around you to remove food residue using wipes. You may get a few funny looks buts it’s all part of the fun of being an allergy parent
Make sure your Adrenaline pen is easily accessible and on you at all times, not in the hold or overhead bin, if you need it you need to be able to access it quickly. Also the hold of planes can be very cold and are not suitable for storing adrenaline pens.
In the event of a reaction, inform the flight attendants immediately at the same time you begin administering treatment.
# Storing Adrenaline Pens
Adrenaline autoinjectors should ideally be stored in a cool dark place at room temperature, between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. They should be stored in an insulated wallet if the temperature is warmer than 25 degrees Celsius or colder than 15 degrees Celsius. They should not be refrigerated or stored in your car or in the hold of airplanes as the temp may fluctuate and reduce the effectiveness of the adrenaline.
# Eating Out
Bring a translation card for restaurants & eating out that explains your child’s allergies and how serious they are. Request that the card be shown to the chef to confirm they can cater for you before ordering. Before travelling, learn which ingredients and cooking techniques are used in dishes served in your destination country. Learn where allergen may be hidden in foods you may come across. For example, soy sauce commonly contains gluten and wheat.
# Kids Clubs
Talk to the kids club supervisor and make sure they fully understand and can cater for a child with allergies, bring your allergy management plan with child’s photo, allergy details and contact number for you. Have your child wear an alert bracelet. Staff in kids clubs can change daily or from morning to afternoon so be prepared to brief staff each time on your child’s allergies & how to administer an adrenaline pen, if prescribed for your child it should be with them at all times.
# Confirm emergency numbers and nearest hospital/health care professional
Locate a health care professional and hospital near your destination. Confirm the local emergency number in case of a serious allergic reaction.
Check with your insurance provider if your policy covers allergies, anaphylaxis and asthma. Make sure you are not excluded by ‘pre existing medical conditions’ clauses.
Some health insurance providers in Ireland also do travel insurance & will cover existing conditions such as allergies.
For travel in Europe apply for a European Health Insurance Card (See link http://bit.ly/1HCIw3T)
To obtain healthcare with the card, you can go to the nearest public system doctor, public hospital, or other public treatment centre and present your card. Check what you are covered for in the country you are travelling to before you go.
Other than that don’t forget the usual culprits, make sure your adrenaline pens and passports are in date & have a great time.
Useful Products when travelling with allergies.
Consider an insulated wallet such as FRIO. FRIO wallets keep your adrenaline autoinjector within safe temperatures of 18-26°C (64.4-78.8°F) for a minimum of 45 hours, even in a constant environmental temperature of 37.8°C (100°F).
Consider a translation card for restaurants explaining your food allergies in the language of your destination country.
Wear an alert wristband with allergy information and emergency contact numbers
This article is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition or treatment. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.