Travelling abroad creates lots of excitement in the family, much needed sunshine & time away from the day to day. But if 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 stress-free holiday. Anne Walsh of Allergy Lifestyle shares her 7 Top Tips for Travel with Kids who have Allergies.
1. 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.
2. Flying with Allergies
In Advance of Flying
- Contact your Airline in advance and notify them of your child’s 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, so it’s better to know in advance and fly with airlines who will prioritise your child’s safety.
- Check whether food and snacks to be served on board are free from your child’s 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.
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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 your child is allergic 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 – 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.
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3. Storing Adrenaline Pens
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.
4. Eating Out
Eating out abroad can be tricky when you have a child with allergies, but these few tips can help ensure that you all enjoy your dining out experience abroad.
- Purchase 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.
5. 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.
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6. Confirm Emergency Numbers & 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, and bring, your European Health Insurance Card. 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 necessities and make sure your passports are in date so you all have a great time!
Useful Products when Travelling with Allergies
You may find the following products useful when you are travelling with allergies.
FRIO Travel Wallets & Adrenaline Pen Cases
Consider an insulated wallet such as FRIO.
FRIO wallets keep your adrenaline auto-injector 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).
Translation Cards for Foreign Language
It’s worthwhile getting a translation card for restaurants explaining your food allergies in the language of your destination country.
Medical Alert Wristbands
Wear an alert wristband with allergy information and emergency contact numbers.
Content provided by Anne Walsh, Allergy Lifestyle.
For lots of useful products(including those mentioned above) to assist those managing serious allergies, anaphylaxis or asthma, visit Allergy Lifestyle website, and follow Allergy Lifestyle on Facebook and Twitter.
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.