Allergies are uncomfortable and irritating for many, but for those who suffer from severe allergies like a peanut allergy, they can be life-threatening. An allergic person’s body sees peanuts as harmful substances and can cause serious symptoms like swelling in the throat, a sudden drop in blood pressure, impaired breathing, pale skin or blue lips, fainting, and dizziness. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person but one should always take all the precautions to avoid problems in the first place.
In this guide, we are going to share everything a person with a peanut allergy needs to know to travel safely. We want you to let go of any fear of allergic reactions that might be stopping you from exploring new places to travel and eat. Just follow through below points and you are good.
Tips for Flying with a Nut Allergy
Flying can be a stressful experience, let alone flying with a nut allergy. Even the thought of people munching on peanuts just next to you while you are sitting in a closed metal capsule flying 35,000 feet off the ground, makes you want to rethink your plans. But don’t worry. It’s not as scary as you think. Hundreds of people travel daily, despite their food allergies. Below are the tips directly from those regular travelers which will definitely help you have a smooth flying experience on your next flight.
Check Airline Policy: Airline policies about nut allergies vary by carrier. The best thing you can do is check a specific airline's policy before your trip to see what precautions are recommended. Check out this article on verywellhealth.com that summarizes special meals and allergen-free policies of major U.S. Airlines.
Contact airline in advance: Contacting the airline ahead of time is essential to ensuring that your allergy is documented in their system and that all staff is aware of the restrictions. Let them know about your nut allergy at the time of booking and be sure to have staff on all flights aware, including cabin attendants who might help you board early, as well as the ground staff who can try to keep nuts off the plane.
Carry your own food: Some airlines can provide nut-free meals as part of their service. But if they won't, you can always bring your own food onto the plane with you. And in case you forget to take your own food and the serving crew is unsure about the ingredients of the dishes being offered, it’s best to just avoid it. Never take unnecessary risks regarding your allergies.
Keep your medical documents handy: Although it is not always required, it is a good idea to bring the documentation of your allergy with you to the airport. This will usually be a note from a doctor stating you are fit to fly along with your medical history. This tip is backed by the first-hand experience of Liz, who states how Qatar Airways blamed her for not having an official doctor’s note regarding her food allergy when she talked about it prior to flight. What’s interesting is she already called the airline a week in advance and informed them about her food allergy. So, always carry a doctor’s note.
Pre-board and clean: It’s always a good idea to pre-board and clean up your seating area with anti-bacterial, anti-allergen wipes to reduce the chances of allergic reactions. To ensure even more safety when flying with a nut allergy make use of our Healthy Airplane Travel Kit. It includes everything you will need to ensure a healthier travel experience like a seat cover, tray table covers, sanitizing wipes, no-nuts sticker, etc.
Also, check the YouTube video that shows how to make the most out of our healthy air travel kit.
Carry your medications: Be sure to pack your prescribed allergy medications like antihistamines and EpiPen and keep them with you at all times, including while flying. Also, be aware that EpiPens have expiration dates, so if you're traveling long-term make sure your supply will last throughout the duration of your trip.
Translation Cards: An amazing travel tool for people with food allergies is an allergy translation card. These cards are available in hard copy and on the app store. They let you share your allergies in over 40 languages. Alternatively, you can use Google Translate or even a saved image from Pinterest. Show it to the waiter/chef before ordering.
Additional Advice: People with allergy prefer to have a seat that’s in the front row of the plane as it reduces their exposure to the rest of the cabin. Some people also prefer to fly on the first flight of the day as they believe it to be thoroughly cleaned after the last day of operations.
But for the most part, you don’t need to worry too much about people opening their peanut bags in their seats. Unless they are sitting right next to you and are eating messily, blowing particles of peanuts. If you see that coming, just stop your seatmate and tell them about your allergy. If they refuse to do so, notify a flight attendant and see if they can arrange a new seat for you or them.
Eating at Restaurants
It would be injustice to this travel guide if we don’t mention the basic human need, which is food. We love to taste new foods as much as we love to explore new destinations. You can enjoy both even if you have a nut allergy. There are few things you need to keep in mind before you order that famous thai curry though.
First advice is: avoid street food stalls that sell dishes that are likely to contain peanuts or peanut oil. Dishes like curries, sauces, dressings, cereals and granola, cakes, brownies, muffins, and also vegan foods, are to be avoided. Unless you are 100% sure that they are specifically prepared using a nut-free recipe. You can explore top food allergy websites here to learn more.
Secondly, not every country is aware of allergies like peanuts. So in places like that, just look for someone who is fluent in local language and English and ask them to tell the waiter/chef what needs to be done. This way, you won’t have to go back and forth between google translate and translation cards. And you can be more sure that the food you’re going to have is suitable for you.
And finally, ensure the place you’ll be eating is nut-free. Because even if the dish is nut-free, the table surface could have traces of nuts that are enough to stick to your hands and make their way into your body. To avoid such cases, you can utilize the table cover that comes with our Healthy Lifestyle Kit.
That was it for today. We hope the above information has helped you feel more relaxed about your allergy. There is not much to worry about, if you take precautions. We at SeatSitters are committed to make public travel safer for people with food allergies, using our premium quality products. Do check out our Shop page to see what else we have in the store for you. Wish you a very safe and happy trip.