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 Post subject: France?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
My daughter's school is organizing a trip to France next year and she has been looking forward to this. Even though she is allergic to peanuts, I hate to deny her this chance, so I will do everything I can to let her go, including volunteering my services as a chaperone, as I speak French and can be there to ask questions.

Has anybody with peanut allergies travelled to France and if yes, what was your experience like?

Thank you in advance.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:22 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Georgia
Nicole
It's great that you can go as a chaperone; especially since this is all new to her. When you visit the allergist, be sure to get a letter for the security screening so she can carry her Epipens on the plane. Also, be sure to take Benadryl liquid (and a teaspoon or measuring syringe) in case of reaction. Ask your Doc about this--- what amt to be given for her age/weight; how long to give more (4-6 hrs)?

See some of the earlier airline posts for peanut cautions. You can all ahead with some airlines and alert them of the allergy.

And ask the Doc to test for lupine. This is being used instead of/in addition to wheat flour in France. I have seen anecdotal articles that some people are more allergic to this than peanut!

Hopefully you will have enough time to get comfortable with all of this before your trip.
Daisy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
No experience with travelling to France (or anywhere else for that matter)--but I just want to second Daisy's warning about lupine beans (I've heard they cross react with peanuts--i.e. not all people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to lupine beans, but some are.) One of my sisters who is allergic to peanuts among other things has done a lot of travelling--she learned from experience not to trust airline food. (she has never had a reaction, but they make mistakes! the special meal she ordered didn't make its way on board one time and another time they served her one of her allergens (she didn't eat it at all). She made the decision to eat only the food she has prepared herself on the airplane.

You could consider bringing an electric skillet and some basic supplies just for peace of mind--that way you can make the final decision about eating out when you get to France. If you find it difficult to eat in restaurants you could heat up your own food in a hotel room.


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 Post subject: france in May
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:19 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 3:15 pm
Posts: 6
Location: PEI
My parents are taking my eldest daughter (12) to Paris in May. She is allergic to tree nuts. I am hoping that the worst case scenario, is that she will have to drastically limit her food choices and come home a little thinner. It seems that food allergies are on the rise in France so I am hoping the awareness level is there and restaurants take it seriously. Any experiences out there yet?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Hi Nicole,

I think this is an excellent opportunity for your daughter.
However I do feel the need to ask:

1. How old is your daughter?
2. Does she speak French?
3. Does she feel comfortable with the fact you would be chaperoning?
4. When are they old enough to travel on their own?

I can definately understand where you are coming from and why you feel the need to chaperone. But I do also believe that their is a time when we need to let go and trust that we have taught them to the best of our ability.
Maybe I'm asking these questions because I am beginning to see my own daughter grow up drastically before my eyes. (She does not have allergies but her brothers do) or maybe because my son was tested a few times during this past week and I was very proud of the way he handled the situation of not accepting the food he was offered and verifying the ingredients with a trusted adult before accepting the food. (He is 7)

I must agree with having the test for lupine but I would also have the test done on chick peas and probably broad beans as well. Being of European descent I find that these beans are in many of the traditional dishes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Hi all, thank you for your posts.

Sil, my daughter will be 15 if and when she takes the trip and she does speak French, but not quite as fluently as me and I think she is comfortable with me travelling with her, but I don't know yet if I can go, we haven't had the parents meeting yet. I know there is another boy who has tree nut allergies who will be on the trip, but his mom is comfortable with this.

I will mention the lupine to the allergist, hopefully they can test her.

As for airplanes, I would probably bring her own food and make sure I call ahead and talk to the crew before the flight to make sure it is peanut/nut free.

Daisy, do I give her Benadryl for the flight, as a prophylactic measure, so she has some antihistamines in her, or do I just take it on board as a precaution, along with Epi-pens?

My other concern is that this is an organized tour and there are 2 preplanned meals a day, which could be either a blessing because they might be able to accommodate the allergies, or a worry because if the menus are fixed, it could be a challenge.

I don't know how much awareness there is in France. Paris might be okay, but we are going to more remote areas like Normandy and Britanny.

If I'm not allowed to go, I don't think I will let her go. I don't think I can trust a couple of teachers to always remember to ask the right questions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Hi Nicole,

With the preplanned meals could you contact the cooks to speak to them in advance?

I'm not sure how to word this but can I offer some things to think about. I grew up in an extremely strict home and was not permitted to do anything growing up. So I tend to view things quite differently. I want my children to experience all life has to offer.
I remember when my grade 7 class went on a camping trip the entire class went and I had to stay behind. Everyone got back with wonderful stories, closer friendships and a sense of adventure. I still look back on those days with hatred.
My neice has just got back from Mexico and she finally got to live her dream of swimming with dolphins. Her entire family was against her going because she is young and was travelling with just one other girlfriend. I told her to go ahead or she would regret it for the rest of her life. As she was telling me about her trip she was about to cry as she thanked me for supporting her decision.
I do realize how you feel. I 'm sure my parents felt the same way and I do not hate my parents for this. But most lessons are learnt in the real world and not in classrooms. I would hate for your daughter to lose the opportunity of a lifetime because of her allergy. I Think she will only learn to be angry.

You have one year to teach her all she needs to know about travelling with allergies.
How about role playing and making her ask you in french how the meal would be prepared. Maybe you can both find a french speaking restaurant that she could order from and ask to see her meal prepared etc.

You don't have to trust the teachers. You have to trust your daughter! Have faith I'm sure you are doing a wonderful job raising a independant responsible woman.

Sorry if I have offended you in anyway. I just hate looking back and seeing lost oppotunities.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Sil, you're absolutely right. You did not offend me at all, because I have the same concern. I want her to live her life to the fullest and I don't want this allergy to hold her back. She's quite wise for her 14 years. She told me she had more chances of getting hit by a car and she's probably right. It doesn't mean that she isn't going to be careful though and yes, she does have a year to learn. We might go to Florida this summer where friends of ours have a condo, and that would be a great opportunity for her to learn how to travel and ask the right questions.

We will have to do some very careful planning, because the cuisine is such a big part of the experience.

I will let you know what I find out at the parents' meeting.

Thank you for your thoughts, I'm sure my daughter would be very grateful to read them! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Nicole,

Now that I have finished crying over your response. :cry:

Thank you !

Please keep me updated.
I hope this is a wonderful learning experience for both of you. I'm sure that this will only bring the two of you closer together.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Thank you Sil, you're so kind! This is why I like this forum, there is so much support! :D

I will definitely keep you posted. Merci!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Lisa wrote:
You could consider bringing an electric skillet and some basic supplies just for peace of mind--that way you can make the final decision about eating out when you get to France. If you find it difficult to eat in restaurants you could heat up your own food in a hotel room.


I hope you don't mind if I comment on this. I travel a lot between Canada and Europe and I also have work experience in health and safety in commercial buildings.

I would advise against bringing an electric skillet. Electricity in France is 220-240v and 50Hz (it's 110/120V and 60Hz in Canada) so you would need a plug adaptor as well as a transformer and converter. Using North American electrical appliances in Europe can be tricky even with the right hardware and there is the risk of electrocuting the appliance and even yourself. There is more detailed info on this site: http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap11/electric.htm

You could invest in an electric skillet and buy it locally but I would still advise against it if you are planning to use it in a hotel room that doesn't have a designated kitchen area. This would be considered a fire hazard and no hotel would allow this. Using it could risk setting off the very sensitive smoke alarms in the hotel, which means the whole hotel may have to be evacuated. If the hotel does have a designated kitchen area, then you could inquire beforehand if you could use an electric skillet. However, a hotel with a kitchen area would most likely have some kind of appliance or stove to heat food anyway so purchasing a skillet wouldn't be necessary unless you were really concerned about cross-contamination.

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Storm, you make a very valid point and I think that the kitchenette idea is definitely the way to go when you have allergies.

My dilemma is about the fact that the school trip my daughter wants to take has a meal plan that includes breakfast and dinner. We are going to have a parents meeting and I will find out more hopefully about how they accommodate allergies.

Thanks for your advice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Storm, I didn't think of the fire-hazard angle. when I was a kid, that's the way that our family travelled--back in those days, it wasn't so common to find hotels with kitchenettes (or at least that's why I think we did things that way). I had always thought that the electric skillet could be a handy backup----that and my beeswax survival candle (which I haven't tried to cook with yet). Maybe I'd better rethink that!


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