12 things we pack when traveling with food allergies

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While there is a justified focus on the physical health of people with severe food allergies, we may also experience particular mental health issues, especially if we have had an anaphylactic attack in the past, said Lisa Lombard, clinical psychologist and research professor at the Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research at Northwestern Medicine. Her practical advice to adults with allergies or parents of allergic children is to discuss the health risks of any travel-related scenarios (in-flight reactions, language barriers in restaurants) with their doctors, so that there is a plan. in place before traveling. “One of the main drivers of anxiety in general is simply not being sure about something,” Lombard said.

Dr Michael Pistiner, pediatric allergist and director of food allergy advocacy, education and prevention at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, recommends keeping two pillars in mind when traveling with an allergy: prevention and the preparation. This includes everything from an anaphylaxis action plan to just carrying a bit of beef or plant-based jerky to keep yourself from being jerky.

By making sure you’re prepared, you’ll have snacks and medicine on hand, so you can be flexible (as you’ll inevitably need) without sacrificing fun or safety, said Kortney Kwong Hing, who is allergic. to peanuts and co-founder of the website on food allergies Lively and one Facebook group for traveling with allergies. “Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to. A plane is late, a museum is closed, the restaurant you really wanted to visit can’t serve you a safe meal. Be prepared to pivot and see change as an adventure, not a problem. “

As two people who love to travel and have learned to take our allergies seriously, we are able to honor not only our physical and mental health needs, but our urge to travel as well. We know that having certain items on hand in our carry-on luggage can set the tone for the whole trip and in some cases prevent us from finding ourselves in a stressful and potentially dangerous situation. With that in mind, we’ve been brainstorming and chatting with other people with food allergies to recommend items to pack before your next trip, whether you’re heading to the airport or hitting the road.


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