Traveling is that one thing we do that connects us to your inner selves. When we are in an unfamiliar land, we challenge ourselves consistently. How we respond to these challenges tells us a lot about ourselves. But what if you have a family with young children? Take the children with you? Sure, that’s easy. But what if your children have life-threatening food allergies that make it almost impossible for anyone else to prepare their food? How do you deal with that?
People with food allergies can travel, but they have to be careful. The fact is that it’s more difficult for people with allergies to pollen and pet dander to travel. You can control what you eat (even what chefs put in your food), but you can’t control what’s in the air. That’s the problem with people with pollen and pet dander allergies.
Understand How Your Children’s Allergies Act Up
Surely, after many years of visit to a pediatric allergy doctor, you have already perfected understanding your children’s allergies? But for good measure, talk with your children’s doctor before booking the flight. Tell the doctor about your plans and wait for the advice. Is there any way for your kids to travel without putting their lives at risk?
Two of the most common food allergies in people are allergy to seafood and dairy. In fact, about 15 million families in the country have to deal with food allergies in their children. That doesn’t mean these 15 million families don’t travel or go out to eat. It’s about knowing how these allergies come up when your kids eat certain foods.
Prepare Allergy Medications and Medical Records
The scariest thing for parents is to watch their children go into shock because of their allergies. Parents should always have a shot of epinephrine so that it can stem the symptoms of reaction until emergency medical professionals arrive. Carry auto-injectors and anti-histamine medication with you at all times.
However, if you are carrying medication, make sure to have your prescriptions with you. The airport might not let you pass customs if you are carrying medicines without prescriptions. If you need to turn over your medication, go to the nearest hospital and ask for a prescription to buy the necessary medicines. Of course, this also means that you have to bring your children’s medical records with you.
This is a critical point. When traveling, make sure that you have your kids’ medical records with you. Emergencies happen all the time. You want to have these documents when your kids suddenly have to be rushed to the emergency room because of their allergies.
Know the Language
You are traveling to a country that does not speak your language. The first option is to hire a guide who can explain what you need to the wait staff in a restaurant. The second option is to learn the right phrases and words to describe what you need in their language.
When doing the second option, make sure that someone who speaks that language validates that you have the right intonation and pronunciation. In countries like China, the difference in how you produce the words can spell success or disaster. So, while you’re still at home, hire a foreign language expert (or a friend) to correct you in your pronunciation.
Bring Your Own Food
This is the wisest and most impractical way to travel. You can bring the right ingredients with you and prep your children’s food at the rental apartment or hotel room. Don’t make your children eat the food at the airport or the plane because flight attendants can’t even tell you what’s in their food.
However, make sure that you are not bringing in any prohibited food to your destination country. It’s one thing to be careful. It’s another thing to be thrown in jail for bringing food that you’re not supposed to. Always check the local laws, especially if you are going to different countries or have connecting flights. As weird as some restrictions might sound to you, always respect the laws of the country you are visiting.
It is not impossible to enjoy your vacations even though your kids have serious food allergies. With careful planning and preparation, you should see the fulfillment of your dreams—for your kids to see the world. While your family might not be able to eat everything in your travels, that’s not what matters. You have your kids with you while you journey through the world. There is nothing more rewarding than that and seeing them healthy and thriving.