Traveling with food allergy is a challenge
Traveling with food allergy, can sometimes be seriousley dangerous. In the age of 18, my friend rushed me to hospital, because I was having an allergy reaction on nuts with an Anaphylactic attack. Very difficult to do breathing, when you throat close up. After that day, I always carry around my EpiPen in my purse in case of emergency. That day was the start of my career with nut allergy and traveling the world with one more thing to think about.
I have been very aware of my serious nut allergy when traveling. I always ask if there is nuts in the meal, and state very clear that I ´m allergic to nuts. If I don´t feel safe about it, I don´t eat it. It´s just not worth to play with my life over some food.
One day in Cusco . .
I went for lunch with some of my new lovely room mates to a vegetarian place. We were all very excited about the food, was looking forward to try it. When ready to order, I asked if there was any nuts in what I order. Because I´m allergic to nuts, I stated clearly. He went to the kitchen and asked to be sure that there was no nuts in my food. It was all good. Then we were allowed to pick salad and sauces from the Buffet. Then I was, nervous because I didn’t know what the sauces contained, I asked again if it contain nuts, the guy said; No. I trusted that he knew what he was answering and that he had control over what he was serving. That was mistake this time. We all do mistakes, for me this was a dangerous mistake.
Went back to our table and started eating the bread and the sauces. Then I started to feel a very scary tingling on my tongue. This tingling is not good (I know it from my last Anaphylactic attack.). I went to the toilet, to check if I was just being paranoid. No, I wasn’t my tongue was reacting to something with a lot of bubbles on it. Went back, and asked: You are sure there is no, nuts in the sauces? Then, he went to the kitchen and asked, but seriously to late to ask. Yes, there was nuts in one of the sauces that I had eaten. Then I did take 4 of my Anti-histamines in panic, but also what I agreed with my doctor to do in this case. Then the next question was: Where is the hospital? I have maybe 10 minutes to get there, I never know how strong the Anaphylactic attack will be. I always have to go to the hospital when it happens. Last time, it happened very fast.
How many minutes to the Hospital?
My new room mate followed me and a woman and a man from America. the women did speak Spanish fluently and the man was a medicine student. Good to have with you, when you are in a foreign country and having an Anaphylactic attack with panic as well. I did get very scared, because I didn’t know were was the hospital, how many minutes would it take, would I make it there with conscious (Of course, whatever you do, do not panic – is easier said than done).
We went out in the street start looking for a Taxi that could take me to the hospital. We were walking around, my throat was not feeling better and my panic was getting higher, finally we got in a taxi and started moving. Traffic was slowest as ever for me. I was sitting in the car with my EpiPen in my hand ready to use it.
Arriving to the Hospital – Passport?
We finally arrived to the hospital. Then my panic did get a bit lighter, I did knew I was in safe area now. Then they stopped to ask me for my fucking passport. I´m not feeling very well, can we take my passport lather. I got on a wheelchair and toss my Iphone to the medicine student with a copy of my passport on the picture storage (best thing I ever did, before traveling). Rolling into the bed they did do measuring of my heart and pulse or something. Told me to relax. I know that´s better for me, I just had the feeling that my life was going to be short, so not so easy to do: Tranquillo – Relax.
Everything was better than expected, my attack was under control. The first time I had an Anaphylactic attack I was out of breath, that was very scary. I didn’t know if my second time would be worst or better. I was very afraid. This time it was a better reaction or more controlled one. I did feel very bad in my trout and in shock that my worst fear just happened.
My lovely room-mate, was sent out to stand in the pharmacy line to buy the medicine that I needed for my treatment. Lucky that we had money, interesting system going on in Peru. I´m so happy that I had good people around me when it all went down. American women helped me with translating and explaining everything that was going on, and the rest of the people who was eating with me was also coming to make sure I was good. One of them was a doctor from earlier days, so she was checking all my medicine and explaining what they were giving me. The medicine student, was helping with filling out the information form with my passport details. I was in very good hands.
Observation for many hours
They decided that I had to stay the night for observation, in case of an after reaction of the food in my stomach. Then, I ended up in the top floor of the hospital with a great panorama view over Cusco and awesome wifi for everybody that was visiting, including me. I even got some work done on the blog. I was there for observation for around 35 hours, to many hours if you ask me. Nobody, asked me. It was okay, I was in good hands and was walking around with an IV fluids for sometime. This time, I was lucky and were close to get help fast. What´s better to help out a tourist with a great travel insurance. Let´s keep her for ever! They did let me out in the end, that was good. I managed to catch my flight to Lima.
Great thank you – to all the people that were there and helped me out that day. It made a difference!
Traveling with Food Allergy
It is not to joke with! I know it feels tiring to keep asking and asking about it. Every time you ask if it contain your allergy, you are protecting and saving your life. If you’re not sure if they understand the gravity of the question, talk with an other person. Make sure they are clear on the fact that you have an allergy. If you don´t feel safe, don´t eat it, even change place.
Your life is not worth risking over some food!
My last day in Cuscowas spent in a hospital bed the purks of traveling with food allergy
Traveling with food allergy in South America gave me a struggle in Cusco.
My Worst breakfast in Cusco. At least it was food. Safe to eat, since it was the hospital´s food.
The View from the Room
My Safety rules
Traveling with food Allergy
- I always tell before eating to new friends that I have an allergy. I tell that I have en EpiPen.
- Show the EpiPen from my purse and explain how to use it. Tell if something bad happen, take me to hospital.
- In the restaurant: State clear that I have an food allergy, make sure they understand the gravity of the question.
- If they don´t understand the question, I don´t feel safe. I leave the place.
- Language problem: If I´m going to a country where, I don´t know the language. I ask someone who know the language to write that I´m allergic on a paper and take picture of it on my phone, have it always with me. In Thailand, I used a picture with a NO nuts symbol.
MAKE SURE THAT THEY UNDERSTAND THE GRAVITY OF YOUR ALLERGY!
Ask one time more, and be sure that they understand.
- Arriving in to new a destinations: Ask were the hospital is and how many minutes I need to get there. In case of emergency, having this information, will easy my mind that I´m close to help.
Know how to use an EpiPen? NO
Please watch the Movie and be
PREPARED TO SAVE A LIFE
Thank you for your time! I hoped you learned something.