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Tips for traveling with a food allergy

Posted at 6:38 AM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 08:01:53-04

For the 15 million Americans living with a food allergy, traveling can prove challenging. Here’s what you need to know to keep your trip sailing smoothly.

Nothing ruins a trip quicker than getting sick, and if you have a food allergy, there are ways you can protect yourself so you don’t end up with symptoms like Franny Hall did.

“My throat, it closes, like bit by bit and yeah, it’s just really hard to breathe,” Hall said.

First, you want to keep a card handy that lists all your food allergies in the language spoken at your destination. You also want to make sure that the card doesn’t just list what you are allergic to, but also what you can’t eat.

Next, you may want to consider getting a hotel room with a kitchen where you can prepare meals yourself.

Finally, make sure you know the rules and regulations about prescriptions for your destination. Japan and the United Arab Emirates have some of the strictest polices, even banning some common over-the-counter medications. Check with your destination’s embassy in the U.S. before you go.

Another thing: be cautious of hidden allergens in your meal when eating out. The meal on the menu may not seem like it has an allergen, but the sauces, salad dressings and even cocktails may contain wheat, nuts, dairy or shellfish.

An allergist with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin says besides carrying a list, make sure you tell people every time you eat out or order room service that you have an allergy and you can't have specific ingredients.