July '08 Monthly Bulletin
(meeting held: 7/23)
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PAK's July support group meeting at the Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, NY featured an open session on "Traveling Safely With Food Allergies." Participants explored how to manage their family's special dietary needs while away from home. PAK distributed handouts, shared members' testimonials, noted pitfalls to avoid and highlighted successful travel tips.
Highlights covered in the group's discussion, handouts and testimonials included:
- If you encounter a particularly difficult problem at a hotel, ask to speak with the General Manager.
- When traveling, always carry wipes.
- Request a smoke-free, pet-free room.
- Know where the nearest hospital is located, wherever you go.
- Find a health food store nearby.
- Post medical information on fridge in case of emergency.
- Consider bringing sheets from home.
- Avoid ice mess with a portable cooler, such as the Coleman PowerChill Cooler, which plugs into a car cigarette lighter or uses a 120V power supply convertor.
- Several attendees had safe, successful flying experiences on JetBlue and Southwest.
- When flying, try to book first morning flight, if possible. Arrange to board plane in advance so you can wipe your seats and check underneath for stray food/peanuts that may cause a
reaction. Check and re-check with personnel throughout the flying process to ensure a safe experience.
- Communicate clearly and nicely about special accommodations required and carry a doctor's note along with allergy medications.
- Having a child with food allergies affects the whole family. Be sensitive to the needs of everyone, allergic and non-allergic alike.
- Indulge in a guilty pleasure, such as ice cream, when children are sleeping. (Or, attend PAK's August support group meeting, a "Cheat & Eat Dinner" for adults at the Cheesecake Factory in
Lake Grove on August 14th. Fee: cost of your dinner.
- When you call 911, ask for "Advanced Life Support" on the ambulance because epinephrine may not be carried routinely.
- Shea butter is a nut butter, said one attendee. Read ingredients on toiletry products carefully as they may contain allergens.
- When managing food allergies, "You have to be the squeaky wheel," advised one attendee.
I was just up at Lake George, without my family, and it is a wonderful place to go. I stayed at Diamond Cove (http://www.diamondcovecottages.com/) which is on the lake and 3 miles from the town of Lake George. Every cabin has its own kitchen and a barbeque outside. There are a lot of places like this up there. It is about a 4 hour drive and we are planning a trip, with the family this time, next year.
When traveling to London and Ireland, we did not realize the pasta in Europe contained eggs. We stayed at a Marriot which had a health food store nearby. We were able to purchase many safe foods there. We packed 17 cartons of soy milk for the trip.
We also had an experience at Busch Gardens Tampa where our child had a severe allergic reaction from touching the bottom of his sandals and then touched his face (eyes/nose/mouth are mucous membranes). He was in the double stroller at 4 years old. The grounds were covered with ice cream and popcorn. Meanwhile we brought his safe foods with us and wiped down all the rides. He ended up in the emergency room. Always be prepared.
Lastly, at a big theme park we traveled to 4 years in a row, we trusted this well trained chef (food allergies) to prepare our child's meal. Turns out he lied to us about the food preparation we discussed and served him a frozen pizza that said "dairy free" on the front and never looked at the back. Always insist to see labels when someone else is preparing your child's meal.