Can you travel with life-threatening allergies?

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BraveJedi
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 3/24/2006 11:23 AM (GMT -6)   
If you only speak English, and want to go to Japan or Italy (Venice) etc, can you go?
 
I am scared they won't understand me and will not see how important it is that nothing I eat can have touched or contain shellfish etc...
 
What do you think?

Also, am I the only one scared to eat takeaway or restaurant food because of allergies? It'd be nice to relax and have some takeaway but I am scared it will kill me if I don't physically see it prepared.
 
Cheers and God Bless,
 

Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
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   Posted 3/26/2006 11:46 AM (GMT -6)   
If you travel to other countries, I would highly advise you to learn a few simple words to communicate that you have severe allergies. If you can't prounance the words, maybe have a flash card with the directions on them for wherever you go.

I don't have severe food allergies (I'm mildly allergic to Strawberries) but I do still have to watch what I eat due to my other health condition. Though it isn't life threatening, it does make me very uncomfortable if I accidently eat it. I think the safest course would be would be either not eat out or eat at a place that just doesn't serve shellfish. But I think you have a common fear of anyone that is highly sensitive to these things.
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Jenifer
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Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/26/2006 4:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Depending on the allergies in question, an allergist can inject appropriate immunizations. There are also Rx meds that counter affect many immediate responses to various allergans.

Jenifer
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Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/26/2006 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Great news! A majority of Asians and Europeans are well versed with the English language. Americans tour those countrys so often that the menus in hotels and $$$ star resturants are printed in English. Have fun!

Kat26
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/9/2006 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I have this same problem with shellfish and have developed a sort of anxiety about it. I have eaten at restaurants a couple of times and seen shellfish go by to another table and had a panic type reaction that made me feel physically ill. Now I don't find that its worth eating anywhere that even serves shellfish because my nervousness won't let me enjoy the food anyway!

English isn't always the problem....this is what happened to me at an english speaking restaurant:

Me: Please make sure my food isn't prepared around shellfish, I am highly allergic and I need to be sure it won't come in contact.
Waiter (rolling eyes): Um, yeah, you didn't ORDER shellfish, don't worry.

Things like that make me nervous!

firemt
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/10/2006 1:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Although restraunts are very nice and a fast and easy way to eat, for us anaphylactic type that can mean a severe reaction and potential death. Now to me, that is just not worth it. I have not stepped a foot into any restruant for over 2 years. If you know the restraunt very well, and if they are very educated in food allergies and anaphylaxis, and also have a seperate counter space, pans, utensils etc to prepare your meal, then it might be a bit safer, but always remember to bring your EpiPen and let not only the waiters know about your allergy but also the manager (most restraunts that are serious about your allergies will have the manager come talk to you). Also when you get your food, ask one final time if your meal is allergen free.

For traveling it might be a bit wiser to find a hotel with a suite that includes a fridge, stove, etc., and then just go to the local food store, find what you are safe with and just prepare it in the hotel room. Also make sure you know where all the hospitals and what the emergency numbers are in the country you are staying in.

On the plane ride, take some wet naps and wipe down your seat, arm rests, the little table thing, and anything else. You may also want to bring a blanket so there is a barrier between you and the seat.

Now time for my question! .. Have any of you ever been on a plane and have inhalation anaphylaxis?? I ask because my inhalation anaphylaxis to cooked chicken is keeping me a bit grounded.. I however will be taking a trip down to the airport sometime in the near future, to sit down with them and go over any possible ideas to make it safe or even possible to travel.

TickSquisher
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 8/14/2006 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with FireMt. I eat out very rarely and always have an open dialogue with the manager before I order/eat. For the most part though, eating out is just to risky/scary. I avoid it.
 
I do, however, have to travel abroad every now and again. I don't eat out. I find that protien bars and shakes work much better for me. Grocery stores don't always work for me if I can't read the lable since my allergins tend to show up just about everywhere. I always bring a note explaining my allergy and treatment needs in the local language as well as English (you'll be able to find someone who speaks at least a bit of English just about everywhere). I have many bilingual friends, so they have been doing the translation work for me, but there are also many translation services available in the US/Canada.
 
FireMt, I fly 4-6 times a year and haven't yet had a problem with inhalation--but I have never had an inhalation problem outside of planes either. That's great that you're going to speak with the airlines. They do have a certain level of control over the substances on-board. Also, have you considered using a medical grade face mask in conjuction with the airline's efforts?? Just a thought.

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/14/2006 11:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Heck, i've considered a hermetically sealed section (just my chair) ... hahaha... but somehow don't think that would go over well with them. The inhalation is a major problem ... just driving by a KFC is enough to cause a start of a reaction :S. The mask may be an option. Thanks :)

The protein bars and meal shakes are a great idea. And when going to the grocery store do make sure you ONLY get the foods you know you are safe with. The have many chef cards that you can get from various allergy sites that have the allergen printed in different languages. This may be a good ideas as well.

Tick, may I ask what your allergies are??

TickSquisher
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 8/15/2006 12:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Firemt,

HA HA, yay for a hermetically sealed section! Oh if only life were that simple.

I'm actually allergic to the artificial growth hormones given found in most meats. You'd be just amazed at how many places meat shows up! (Soups, ceareals, cookies, breads, salsa and the list goes on!) I've never met anyone else with this allergy. I posted a thread a while back asking if anyone here has it, but apparently I'm still alone.

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 3:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Tick,

Thats right! I remember that thread. Would that one be considered an anaphylactoid reaction? Or is it Ige mediated??
Oh do i ever know what you mean about the meat showing up in weird places. Most of the time it's a hidden ingredient.

Have you tried contacting any other allergy sites or support groups?? If not I will pass some on to you. :)

TickSquisher
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 8/15/2006 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Firemt,

To be perfectly honest, I don't know what sort of reaction it is (and I'm not familiar with the terms you used to even make a guess). There isn't an offical test that can be administered to prove I have it. It was found after years of trial and error, being sick all the time, doctor visit after doctor visit, and a few very scary reactions. All I know for for sure is that if I ingest meat (with the hormones) or anything which has touched this meat that the reaction is severe and swift: my throat closes, my face flushes, my heart beats fast and irratically, I get terrible stomach cramps/diarrhea, and often vomit (before my throat closes that is!).

I haven't contacted any other allergy sites or support groups. I actually found you guys quite by accident (I was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease and have been reading/posting in that forum). I would love whatever information you have on other allergy sites/support groups. While I don't have any pressing questions or concerns, finding someone else with this allergy would be lovely. It's nice to know you're not alone (or crazy). :)

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 4:23 PM (GMT -6)   
i went to italy (venice) 2 years ago and i have multiple severe food allergies too. i was afraid to go because i thought i would react. i found a lot of people didn't speak english there, which i was told by many people that EVERYONE speaks english there! i brought along my benadryl and epipen and ate at restaurants that i felt i could communiate with the waiters and i ate the most basic food (which was not fun for me cause the food there looked wonderful!) i found my only real problem ended up being the humidity. I also noticed that they do serve a lot of fish along the coastal cities and if you are planning on going to Spain, forget it! I couldn't find anything BUT fish there!!!!

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 4:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Your not crazy, thats forsure. Your reaction does sound anaphylactic. Anaphylactoid reactions are the same as anaphylactic reactions, the only difference is the antiboidies that are causeing the reactions. ex. medicines are a cause of anaphylactoid reactions , as a reaction to food would be anaphylactic... lol although those two words are very interchangable, and most people would just use anaphylaxis. ... you do know what I mean about anaphylaxis... right??

If you wish, you can send me an email, by clicking on the first icon under my name. I will pass those sites and other forums along to you via email. :)

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 4:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Mooney,

I am so glad the only real problem you had was not allergy related!! Scary though to hear that not alot of people talk english there. What are your allergies?? I am guessing fish is one of them?? Thanks for the advice about spain.

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 5:28 PM (GMT -6)   
luckily i don't have any seafood allergies. i do have allergies to all tomatoes, melons, all citrus, wheat, bananas, avocado, lettuce, walnuts, almonds, rye, potatoes, peas and carrots. i tested negative for peaches, strawberries, apples, rice and peanuts although i have a weird reaction to all of those too. every meal is a challenge. i am being retested this week (i have the slip from my new allergist to get a blood test, my last test was a skin panel). I also have a sensitivity to soaps, bleaches, and most household chemicals. i'm even more allergic to pollens, molds and latex. i want to be tested for chocolate but that is not on they aren't testing me for that. i swear i wear a mask sometimes and i'm always short of breath. i think it could be reflux from allergies rather than mild anaphylaxis or asthma.  i understand your worry about travelling. i now react to humidity very badly and don't even like to leave the house anymore. sad         

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 5:30 PM (GMT -6)   
and if I can make it thru Italy--you can!!! :-)

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
LOL. I can only make it through Italy if I can actually step on an airplane.

It's hard to eat with so many allergies, eh?

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
yes, i'm usually either short of breath or in pain with a swollen stomach or both. i think if anyone else was in my body they'd freak out! I'm just used to it after 6 years.
 
do you carry an epipen? if you don't please take one. also, venice is more beautiful than any picture i had ever seen. be sure to take lots of $$$$$ though. nothing is cheap. $5 cans of soda! have u had anaphylaxis before? what are your allergy symptoms?
 
 

Post Edited (Mooney123) : 8/15/2006 6:32:51 PM (GMT-6)


firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 8:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh yes. My anaphylaxis is severe. I have to carry 2 epipens with me at all times, as well as benadryl.. I feel that 2 epipens is not enough, unfortantly I am averaging about 1 epipen a month. My symptoms range with each reaction, the most common symptoms with me will be; a rash on my chest and have swelling in my lips, mouth leading to complete closing of my throat, swelling of fingers, shortness of breath, massive drop in blood pressure that will cause me to get extremely dizzy, weak and sometimes unconcious. With my most severe reactions the swelling was not to extreme and the rash not even there.. but then again the low blood pressure would cause me to go extremely white.

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 8:19 PM (GMT -6)   
That's terrible. I can't believe you are in so allergic. i have to warn you though--i was lucky enough to fly first class. (once in a lifetime for me--extra airline miles :-)  ) and I've never flown overseas before that so i don't know what it's like in the other classes, although i think business class is similar. anyway, about every hour or so, it seemed, they were bringing out all kinds of fish, caviar, crab etc. i didn't eat any of it because of my allergies   sad   but it is a long flight and where they serve the food is not very big so i imagine there would be cross-contaminating. i would not recommend eating anything from the plane!! also, you may want to bring your own instant-soups or canned food just in case you you are worried. the next time i fly to a foreign county, i will be bringing some of my own (familiar) food. BTW, they do have a lot of pastrami/rolls/cheese in italy that looks safe.  

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 8:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Thats awesome you got to fly first class!!! I still have to go down to the airport and talk with them before I even decide to go anywhere via plane. I would not eat any of the online food like you say cross contamination would be high. Since my allergies are inhalant, I am not even sure if I can safely fly.
Time to buy my own jet! HAHA!

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/15/2006 9:50 PM (GMT -6)   
i bought some of those white masks that look like surgeon's masks to filter out the bad air. they had a funny smell like a chemical in them so i talked to my allergist and he told me to get a bandana and spray it with water and put over my face if i start getting allergic. it has to be washed first. even though it might look like you're going to rob a bank, it might be worth it to wear on the plane, if you go. scool    

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/15/2006 10:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I am not sure if that would be enough. That would be almost the same as breathing through a shirt.. which I still react doing that... it's so confusing.. grr.

Mooney123
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 8/16/2006 12:03 AM (GMT -6)   
thank goodness for the epipens. i feel really sad for you cause i know what it's like to have a "restricted" life and I feel more and more closed in everyday. I always feel like i'm suffocating but i know it goes away. i also know, because i had mild anaphylaxis from cantaloupe once, how scary it is. My mother just learned she has a peanut allergy at 53 years old and she doesn't take it seriously, even though she gets the swollen lips, itchy chest, hives, etc. her face swelled up really huge a few months ago. she still doesn't remember what she ate that might have caused it, and doesn't seem too concerned. it is very very frustrating. A friend  of my sister's has been dealing with a shrimp allergy for years and can't go into a room or restaurant where shrimp is cooking or his throat will close. if you are using your epipen monthly, where are you going that triggers it? to the grocery store, restaurants, parties?    

firemt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 8/16/2006 1:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Yikes, hope your mother takes it seriously very soon... with every exposure the allergy can get worse. I'm the same way as your friend's sister .. except mine is too chicken. The reason why I have to use one each month, is because chicken as well as other fowl are in soo many foods, especially as a hidden ingredient, and the cross contamination is soo high.. most of my reaction we are not sure what caused them, but most likely from the cross contamination. My nut allergy has just developed, and thats also why i had to use a couple epipens. I do not go to any restraunts, no public places where you can order or even smell chicken, no family or friends homes, no where.. it is frustrating!!! When i go to the grocery store i stay at the very far end away from the meat.
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