If you’ve been following The Willing Cook for a while, you know that my son went into anaphylaxis last summer when on vacation. As we make preparation for being away from the safety of our food allergy house, I am now in anaphylaxis proactive/prevention mode. I do not want a repeat ever again.
I have come up with a check-list for us in preparation for vacation and while on the go. Since many of you will be leaving the safety of your homes this summer as well, this list might be helpful to you.
Preparing for vacation when living with food allergies should not send anyone into worry and anxiety. It’s just proactive. It’s proactively making sure everyone has a good time the whole time!
Preparation for Vacation
- Early on in the discussion process of our destination, we decided that it is best for us not to be more than about 10 miles from a hospital. This is an important consideration to keep in mind.
- Look online for grocery stores that are available in that area for 2 reasons:
- If staying in a house, hotel or condo that is equipped with a kitchen, you will want to know what your grocery store options are. This is great if you are also trying to keep to a strict budget. You may be able to look at their weekly ad to plan out a shopping list, coordinating with your coupons. Money Saving Mom has a list of regional store ads as soon as they become available.
- If you find that restaurants are not a safe allergy option, grocery stores are a great alternative.
- Pack emergency medication, including extras. Be sure to check the expiration dates and the amount remaining on the medications well in advance of your planned trip, so that prescription refills can be ordered. The medication list includes:
- asthma inhaler
- hydrocortisone cream for eczema
- everyday lotion to help with dry skin
- The all-important (but hopefully don’t have to use) epi-pen (x2).
- Pack all food that may be difficult to find elsewhere, more expensive or that you just want to have on hand to keep everything safe. The food list includes:
- non-dairy milk (most varieties sell shelf-stable containers making traveling without a cooler easier)
- sunflower seed butter (or other non-peanut butter variety)
- rice noodles (or other gluten-free pasta)
- dried fruit
- pistachios & almonds
- can tuna (Costco brand without soy)
- can baked beans (Meijer Organics brand without corn syrup)
- pre-baked treats, like our favorite oatmeal cookie recipe
- treats for the car
- Decide if you will travel with a cooler and make preparation to get ice or freeze ice packs.
- Loosely plan a menu figuring out what meals you will eat in and what meals you will eat out. If making meals in that will require special seasonings, spices, etc., instead of buying a large container from the local grocer, pack a small ziploc bag or plastic container of each item.
- When making your meal plan, be sure to think of what allergy-alternatives will be available. For us, I am not taking any chances this vacation by “assuming” everything will be okay. My son will eat either food brought from home or from one of the pre-approved restaurant chains. Be sure to pack or buy necessary food, accordingly.
Is there anything that I’m missing here? I want to make sure I have a complete “summer vacation and food allergy” list.
For more information, KFA (Kids with Food Allergies) posted Trouble-free Travel for Families with Food-allergic Children on Twitter yesterday.