A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system triggers an abnormal response to food. Symptoms of allergic reactions to specific food can range from anything like tingling of the lips, sneezing, nasal congestion or even to something as dangerous as anaphylaxis. Having to deal with allergies is hard enough as it is, but dealing with them while travelling is even more difficult. Although most allergy sufferers out there, will already know what works for them, we thought we would share a few things we suggest you’re aware of when you next travel!
- Inform your airline or any other mode of transport about your allergy. More and more airlines nowadays have become aware and accomodating to food allergy sufferers, so if you suffer from an allergy to something like peanuts and it’s an airborne allergy- make the cabin crew aware. Most of the time they will ask all other passengers to refrain from eating nuts on board. Just so you’re safe- make sure to read about the food allergy management on your specific airline before you travel, to make sure you’re not surprised!
- Learn all possible names for your allergen in a different language. If you’re travelling abroad, it’s important to know how to tell others you have a food allergy. Learn the word for your allergen in the language spoken where you’re travelling to, but also make sure to get some synonyms written down just to be extra sure.
- Bring anti-bacterial wipes. Although they will just wipe any residue off, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bring anti-bacterial wipes with you to wipe off any equipment you may use, or any seats around you on the flight in case the passenger before you left some crumbs. They will also come in handy if you touch anything containing your allergen mid-trip!
- Be careful of cross contamination. At airports it’s always difficult to resist a fresh pastry or a delicious bagel at the cafe; just be careful of where the food is kept and what is used to pick it up. Often times cafes use the same tools to pick up an almond croissant as well as a plain one. They are also sometimes kept right next to each other on display and if your allergy is very severe, maybe opt for something already pre-packaged and with low risk of cross-contamination just to be safe.
- Always have your medicine or epi-pen with you. Always be prepared- whether that’s taking some anti-allergy medication or in case of an emergency, your EpiPen and ideally someone who knows how to inject it.
- Be prepared- bring your own snacks on board and on your journey if you know you may struggle with findings something suitable. Pre-pack some fruit and veg, or buy some Allergy-Friendly snack bars to have with you or in your bag. Nothing worse than being hungry and not able to find anything suitable!
Enjoy your trip, but most importantly- stay safe!