Food allergies are extremely common, and many people have them. Essentially, it is the reaction of your immune system that happens shortly after eating a particular food that you are allergic to. These allergic reactions range from the swelling of the face, mouth, and throat to even difficulty in breathing. Some of the most common food that people are allergic to are milk, peanut and fish. However, this should not faze you from travelling.
It can be daunting being in a foreign land and trying new food with your food allergy constantly being at the back of your mind. However, there are too many perks of travelling that you will miss out on if you simply choose not to travel because of your allergies.
If that is you, rest assured that this practical guide will give you all the necessary precautions needed to travel overseas safely despite having a food allergy.
Choose scratch kitchens over food chains
No matter where we are, nothing beats the comfort of digging into the food of our favourite fast-food chain. However, one crucial thing to note is that the recipe and menu of these fast-food chains differ from country to country. This is done to fit the palette of the locals there better. For example, the Kentucky Fried Chicken branch in countries like India and China do not use the 11 herbs and spices that it is generally known for. Their menus are also altered to served localised menu items.
When you have food allergies, it is essential to note that your go-to order at a particular food chain is not the same when abroad. Additionally, the food in these huge food chains is typically not made from scratch. Hence, it would be nearly impossible for the employees there to whip out a meal while considering your food allergies. On the other hand, if you were to visit restaurants or shops that cook their food from scratch, they can accommodate their cooking to your allergies by excluding the ingredients you are allergic to.
Allergy information cards can ease communication
An allergy information card is a must to bring on your overseas trips. Not only does it help ease communication, but it also can save you from allergic reactions while overseas. When you are overseas, it could be hard to communicate your allergies with the language barriers that are present. Hence, printing an allergy information card with a list of ingredients you are allergic to, and in the local language of the country you are visiting will save you time and effort.
An issue that allergy information cards eliminate is the miscommunication of information from you, to the waiters and then to the chef. Occasionally, verbally sharing your food allergies to the waiter, with the language barriers will cause some critical information to be lost in translation. When that happens, there is a high chance of your food allergy not correctly taken into consideration.
Always stay prepared
Even if you feel confident that you will be able to communicate your food allergies effectively to the locals, you are never entirely secure until you have a contingency plan for an emergency. This is especially vital if you have a history of severe reactions to certain ingredients.
It is always best to have the number of the local ambulance on your phone and also the air ambulance if you are travelling into remote areas. During severe food allergic reactions, time is of the essence and having means of medical evacuation to professional care is necessary.
With the valuable experiences and lessons that travelling abroad provides, having food allergies should not be a barrier to stopping you. With these 3 safety precautions, you are assured of having memorable trips when abroad.