Hitting the Great Outdoors with kids is great, but for youngsters battling allergies it can also prove problematic — especially during extended forays into the wilderness. Author Eve Smith shares a few of her secrets…
About 18 million Americans have food allergies, including roughly 1 out of every 13 kids under the age of 18. While such food allergies can be easy to manage in your own home and a familiar environment, how do you enjoy an adventure vacation with a child who suffers from them? Here are a few tips:
Be careful what you eat. Ensure the severity of your allergy is understood by those making or handling your food so that they can be as safety conscious as possible. Nut allergies are amongst the most dangerous of all food allergies, as a nut allergy is most likely to lead to anaphylactic shock or cause a fatality, and yet so many everyday foods are produced in factories that also handle nuts. If in doubt, ask to see the packaging for your meal before you eat it. If your allergies are very severe then why not take your own pre prepared food or buy food in the local supermarket instead?
Carry extra medication. If you need to take antihistamine, auto-injectors or other medication to control your allergies then bring more than you think you will need, just in case. That way if your medication is lost, or misplaced you will still have enough should you suffer from an allergic reaction.
Brace for language barriers. If your adventure is taking you out of the country then ensure you know several key messages in the language of the country you’re visiting. You can also make or purchase translation cards that carry important messages such as “I have a bad food allergy”, “Please call an ambulance”, or “My EpiPen is in my bag” in your destination language and in English: keep these close by (in your pocket or wallet) then if you are unable to speak to explain what’s happening you can hand over the card instead.
Take extra precautions flying. Ensure you pre-book your seats so that you’re sitting with your child and can monitor what they’re eating: many airline meals are not safe for allergy sufferers, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you plan ahead you can also order allergy safe meals if needed.