Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Travel Tips for Food Allergies

Have epinephrine, will travel? Before you go, be prepared.
I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season so far! Maybe you're in the midst of traveling right now, or maybe you've got a winter getaway planned. Either way, I thought now was a good time to review some tips for safe travel with food allergies. Travel with food allergies goes much, much more smoothly if you have all your ducks in a row before you leave. Hey, you're packing for the kids anyway, so here's just a few more things to remember. If you're kids are old enough, be sure to include them in the process. It's good practice for them.

The important thing is to be prepared for anything, so with that in mind, here goes:

- Bring extra medication. Asthma meds, epinephrine auto injectors, etc. -- have extra in case one goes missing. Most airlines allow these items through security without but a doctor's note will ensure that you can bring these necessary items with you if you leave the U.S.

- Make sure you've got your doctors' phone numbers and info easily accessible. Program this info into your cell phone to make sure you've got it if there is (hopefully not!) an emergency.

- Bring your food allergy action plan. In the event anything goes wrong, having this doctor-approved plan will help you stay calm and take the right steps in the event of an emergency. FAAN has a link to this action plan that you can download for free. Make sure it's completed by your doctor. (This is a great document for any caregiver, school, etc.)

- Bring a small cooler with a couple of meals (for car travel) or at least one meal in an insulated lunch bag (if necessary) for air travel. Traveling with food allergies is like a box of chocolates--you never know what you're gonna get. Eliminate the need for possibly unsafe food by being prepared with some of your own meals -- and pack some extra items to allow for travel delays. You also won't be forced into feeding your child a restaurant meal from a place you haven't researched. If you aren't sure about the availability of certain foods once you reach your destination, you may want to ship a box of allergy-safe items in advance.

- Stock up on safe snacks. Crackers, allergy-friendly granola or trail mix (Enjoy Life Foods makes both of these free of most top food allergens), cookies from Skeeter Snacks (found at many grocery stores) would be some things to keep on hand. Fresh fruits, raisins and cut up veggies are also good, healthy choices. SunButter in small packets is great if you can have it. Whatever your kids like--if you have some nut-free options on hand it will be hugely appreciated when hunger strikes or if you face the inevitable delays that seem to happen while traveling. A few safe sweet treats on hand are helpful when kids can't have bakery items and other things that pose cross-contact risk.

- Bring a place mat. A washable place mat is a great way to cut down on cross-contact when feeding your child away from home. Or use a paper towel to protect the table.

- Make sure you've got a couple of safe restaurant options at your destination. A quick Internet search and a couple of phone calls will ensure less "dining out drama" on your trip. A great place to start your search: Allergy Eats. I recently used this online restaurant resource for food allergies and it was a huge help in pointing us in the right direction.

- The grocery store is your friend. Eating every meal at a restaurant, fast food or otherwise, isn't only costly, it adds to the food allergy risk. If your room has a refrigerator, the fixings of a sandwich, a quick breakfast or snack will take the pressure off so you can focus on enjoying your trip, not constant restaurant navigation.

1 comment:

Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi Jenny,
Happy holidays--and travels--to you! Thanks for yet another accurate, well-thought-out, wonderful post from your corner of the world. Take good care.