Traveling With Food Allergies
Almost 3 years ago our family traveled to Playa Mujeres, Mexico for my brother and sister in laws wedding. This was the first time that Peyton and Wesley had ever been on a plane before. Peyton has her own food allergy issues, but I was afraid for Wesley because he has a deadly allergy to fire ants. This was the first time that me and all three of the kids had flown out of the country....EVER. So, you can imagine my thought process...right!! I have one kid who has never flown before with a anaphylactic allergy to fire ants, then I have my daughter who has multiple food allergies....we're flying to another country where none of us speak the native language. Weeks before we left for Mexico I had to sit down and plan out this trip, I had to figure out how to bridge the gap where there was obviously going to be some sort of disconnect....yes me/we not being fluent in speaking Spanish. I searched online until I came across FARE's Food Allergy Chef Cards. With these cards I was able to customize them to what allergies Peyton has, and also set them to be written in Spanish. I made sure that I had at least 3 sets of these cards printed out just in case I lost one, next I called the airline we flew with. Again, this was my first time flying with Peyton and Wesley...let alone flying out of the country with them. I called Southwest and explained that Peyton had life threatening food allergies and that she had to carry a Epi Pen, I also explained that I needed to wipe down her seat, and asked that no peanuts be served on our flights coming to and from Mexico. I must say for this to be the first time for me to experience all of this with both kids....everything went smoothly. I had the kids pediatrician write a letter explaining why Peyton and Wesley had to carry their Epi Pen's and their allergies. The morning that we flew out, Peyton and I was able to board the flight before any other passengers, I was able to pick our seats,and wipe her seat down as I asked, no peanuts was served on the flight. Once we arrived to Mexico we stayed for a week, Peyton's food allergies had already been relayed to the hotel staff at the Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort . I will say that my sister in law did a great job with helping the staff to be notified of Peyton's food allergies. Our room number was flagged so that anytime we checked in to any restaurant or ordered room service at the resort they would ask is there someone in our party who has food allergies, when we order our food with the waiter as usual I would inform them that Peyton had multiple food allergies. The waiter would stop me and go get the head Chef so that I could speak with him, he assured me that he would make Peyton's meal on a clean grill, clean pots/pans, no cross contamination. The chef assured me that he would be the only one handling Peyton's food. I've never gotten this kind of service here in the states, I've always felt like her food allergies was a inconvenience here back home, but not here at this resort. The Chef Cards that I printed out, the first night we arrived I did use the card, the next morning I pulled the card out again and that's when I was greeted by the head Chef!!! That was the last time I had to use my Chef Cards, after that I was greeted by the head Chef every time we ordered Peyton's meals. My trip out of the country with a child with food allergies went very smoothly, BUT that's not the case for everyone. Below are some tips to help your trip with a child who has food allergies run smoothly as mine did.
Ask for recommendations for restaurants, hotels, activities and so on. Does your allergist have other patients with good experiences at certain places?Ask your doctor to write extra prescriptions that you can carry with you. Learn their generic and brand names in the countries you’ll be visiting.Start planning early. Language barriers can be tough to deal with, but chances are someone working at the hotel speaks English. With many Internet translation services available, email can be an effective way to correspond leading up to your stay.Find out if any local doctors in the area specialize in allergy. Ask: Will they be able to write you a prescription for additional epinephrine auto-injectors or medications if you need them?Locate the hospital nearest to where you will be staying, just in case.Bring several copies of your Food Allergy &
Emergency Care Plan. Make sure this document is with you at all times (along with your medications!).Carry chef cards in English and in the language of the countries where you will be. Always have them with you.Bring non-perishable food that is safe for you to eat. Dried pasta and allergen-free snack bars are good options. Don’t assume that the same products manufactured in other countries will contain the exact same ingredients.