This week we have a guest blog from Harriet Pitman, the Director of PAC: Perception Awareness Collective, a fantastic collaborator, supporter and chocolate provider here at RAS HQ. You know, from previous blogs, preparation is queen! But when you are travelling with someone who has a serious allergy, preparation takes on a whole new meaning. Knowing what their triggers are, and, what to do if they have a severe reaction could be life-saving.
Harriet’s account below is a very personal one.
About eight years ago I started to have serious reactions after eating certain foods and not being able to enjoy the treats that I had been used to eating whilst growing up. Trying to work out what was causing all the issues took a long time and was a long, sometimes painful, journey. By doing the FODMAP diet under a nutritionist I could build myself back up again and get back to normal life.
This was hard enough and then suddenly I had the realisation that I would be travelling around the world for work and I would need to be really careful of how I manage this. There are many allergies and intolerances in the world today but getting someone to understand how serious this is can be difficult, it is quite often they just think you are being fussy! Below are my 5 top tips for travelling with allergies and intolerances:
- See a nutritionist who can help identify your exact issue if you are unsure. Not knowing can make you cut out even more options so having a clear idea of the issue really helps;
- If you have a serious allergy, ensure that you always have your EpiPen (or similar auto-injector) and medication with you. This sounds obvious but I have gone out from the hotel and realised my medication was back in the room which was not going to help me if I had a reaction;
- If possible, take a little survival pack of food with you in case you are not able to find anything you can have. Dry snacks, soups and anything you are able to tolerate;
- You can get translated cards to take with you to show what you are allergic or intolerant to. Here is a free option and here is a paid version;
- PLAN AHEAD! Choose your destinations carefully. Some countries it is very difficult to immerse yourself in a culture if you have allergies. Do your research before you go! Are you able to eat street food, are you able to explain your allergies and have them catered for?
Having an allergy or intolerance should not stop you being able to go where you want to, but you may have to adapt what you want to get from your travels and just be slightly more prepared before you go.
If you have a colleague, friend or family member who has an allergy then why not book a half day course on how to use an auto-injector (Epi-pen*), learn some Basic Life Support, and AED (Defib). Contact our team on reception @riskadvisoryservice.co.uk
*Other brands are prescribed