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How to Travel Safely if You Have Food Allergies

How to Travel Safely if You Have Food Allergies

For the 33 million Americans managing any of the most common nine food allergies — including milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, soy, sesame and different types of fish — traveling safely can be challenging, but it’s becoming easier.

In the air, where carriers say they can’t guarantee fully nut-free flights, the recently enacted Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act will, over the next two years, add epinephrine injectors on planes and provide additional medical training for crew members.

On the ground, hotels and restaurants are also customizing meals, providing menus with allergen symbols, enhancing staff education and instituting better processes for food handling.

But still, it’s critical to speak up for yourself. As a person who is gluten-intolerant and a parent of a child with a serious peanut allergy, I’ve learned simple and effective ways to eat safely and reduce the risk of a reaction while away from home.

Consider packing allergy-friendly snacks for your trips. Some of the reliable brands without peanuts, tree nuts, gluten and dairy are MadeGood, Goodie Girl, Enjoy Life and Simple Mills. These portable products include snack chips and granola bars. For travel within the United States you can also store fresh fruit in resealable bags with reusable mini-ice packs, which are permitted in carry-on luggage, but the ice packs must be placed with other liquids when you’re passing through security.

If you travel with an epinephrine injector, insert a tracker like an Apple AirTag or Tile in its case and place it in your carry-on. Then, set an alert to notify you if you forget it at home or misplace it during your travels, so you will never be without it. The Transportation Security Administration limits passengers to two injectors, which should be kept in the original box with a visible prescription label.

The Food and Drug Administration also suggests packing cleansing wipes. Unlike hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes can remove up to 99 percent of allergens, including peanut residue, from surfaces. This can help protect you from cross-contamination. Be sure to wash your hands afterward to avoid direct contact.

The Americans With Disabilities Act helps to protect those with food allergies by giving them the right to ask for necessary changes in hotel policies or conditions that place them at a disadvantage. However, hotels and rental properties can’t always guarantee allergy-conscious…

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