Flights and food allergies: A father's warning to airplane passengers

Posted at 3:39 PM, Jan 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-04 16:49:44-05

If you’re preparing for a flight, you may want to consider adding food allergy precaution to your travel to-do list -- whether you’re allergic or not.

Joe Lack, the father of two young girls both with peanut allergies, said it’s a common thing that many people may not think about when boarding a flight. For him and his family, he says it’s a serious scenario.

“In a situation like that when you’re up in the air and there’s no quick access to medical care we have to be very certain they won’t be in any danger,” Lack said.

Doctors told NBC Charlotte many times the reaction can start as a simple rash then worsen.

“We can see respiratory problems and the same swelling we see with the skin we can see in our bodies and the airway could get swollen to the point that it prevents you from breathing,” Dr. Carlos Paxtor said.

It’s also important to check with the specific airline you book with to see what their specific nut allergy policy is.

The concern is not just eating the nut or another allergen, simply the contact or exposure from sitting in the same seat or touching an item covered in the allergen can cause issues as well.

“The best thing to do is to be aware of what kind of food allergy your child has and make everyone around you aware,” Dr. Paxtor said.

Lack is hoping with these concerns in mind, it may increase awareness for all passengers.

“It’s an extra layer of caution we have to take 24-7,” Lack said.

If you do happen to have an allergic reaction on a flight or in any setting, it’s best to keep an EpiPen on hand, followed by a visit to a doctor.