Your family has been looking forward to this trip for a long time, and you’re excited to explore new environments. But if your children have allergies, an allergic reaction could spoil the trip for them. Fortunately, you can minimize the risk of having an allergic reaction while traveling. Here are five tips for families traveling with allergies.
1. Plan way ahead
Any trip requires advance planning, but this is doubly true when your children travel with allergies. Given the possibility of an allergic reaction, you’re liable to worry about what might happen in this new environment — but that’s not a bad thing. Use your concerns to guide your preparations for the trip:
- Have your child’s allergy emergency action plan with you at all times so you can react quickly in case they have an allergic reaction.
- Develop contingency plans with your travel companions: inform them about your child’s allergens and tell them what to do in the case of an allergic reaction. If you’re traveling to a place with an altogether unfamiliar culture, talk to someone familiar with the culture about how you can manage your child’s allergies without giving offense to the locals.
- Thoroughly research your destination’s environment and food culture. Bring that information to your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for your child and develop a plan to avoid and remedy allergic reactions.
- Figure out where all the grocery stores are located prior to leaving for your destination. Also figure out if there are doctors who specialize in allergic reactions.
- If possible, book a hotel room with a built-in kitchen so you need not worry about allergic food reactions.
2. Carefully plan travel arrangements
An allergic reaction could happen anywhere — even en route to your destination. Here are some tips for guarding against an allergic reaction while traveling to your destination:
- If you’re carpooling to your destination, alert your companions to your child’s allergies. Let your companions know how to help your child avoid allergic reactions and what to do if they have one.
- If you’re using public transportation, get information on the snacks they serve. If it turns out that their food contains allergens, find out if they have alternatives or if you can bring snacks for your child instead.
- If your child is flying with allergies, find out if accommodations can be made for your child’s needs. If possible, remind the flight crew of your child’s accommodations and have them warn people in your child’s immediate vicinity.
3. Bring allergy remedies
Even with advance planning, there’s always the chance that your child will have an allergic reaction. As such, it’s crucial to carry remedies at all times:
- If your child takes prescription allergy medication, find out how much you can have filled at any one time. If necessary, talk to your child’s doctor about increasing the capacity of the prescription for the trip. Also, get a permission slip signed by your pediatrician to store the medicine in your carry-on luggage.
- If weather allows it, keep your child’s skin covered to avoid having an allergic reaction to bug bites or stings. As an added precaution, bring insect repellent and apply it prior to venturing outdoors.
- Bring nasal spray, hand wipes, and two epinephrine auto-injectors to deter and remedy severe allergic reactions. In case you run out of supplies, research ahead of time where you can purchase generic allergy medicines.
4. Pack Safe Food
If you have food allergies, figure out which grocery stores carry safe food for your child. If it turns out that no such grocery stores exist at your destination, bring food that won’t trigger your child’s allergies. Depending on the circumstances, here are some other reasons to bring a supply of safe food with a long shelf life:
- You know from experience which foods are safe.
- Buying the allergy safe foods at your destination won’t be convenient.
- You’re visiting a country with an unfamiliar language.
5. Let Others Know About Your Child’s Allergies
No, this isn’t an invitation to let everyone around you know about your kid’s allergies. You only need to tell people when it’s absolutely necessary:
- Warn servers and guides about your child’s allergies.
- Wear a medical ID bracelet with instructions on how to help them in the event of an allergic reaction — and in the unlikely event that you can’t get to them.
- Bring a medical release form granting authority to people within your child’s vicinity to provide emergency medical attention under your supervision.
You don’t have to stress when traveling with allergies
Traveling with allergies doesn’t have to be a stressful experience for you or your child. You can have just as much fun as if you didn’t even have to think about allergies. When you follow these tips, you won’t have to worry about allergic reactions spoiling your child’s trip.