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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Altho we're still waiting for the results of DD's blood test to see just what's going on (grrr. it's been 10 days...) we've begun planning our spring vacation. Or not. We're scared to go to restaurants, etc. now (I went to Panera last week and ordered safe foods for me and only gave her bits of apple. And wouldn't put her in the high chair. And wipied her hands a LOT!)

So we're trying to figure out whether taking a vacation away from home at this point is feasible. We're looking at the Berkshires area of Massachusetts - possibly to get a suite with a kitchenette or even rent a house, and just do some local sightseeing, hiking, relaxing.

Any tips for being away from home, eating meal after meal in restaurants, or finding safe foods in strange supermarkets? How do you trust that the kitchen or even hotel room is "clean enough"?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I would take baby steps, and try to control your environment-away-from-home as much as possible. For us, the best vacations have been ones where we had a kitchen at our disposal so that we could control the food. It was more work than what a "normal" vacation would be, but at least we didn't have the stress of restaurants (much - once in the Vancouver area we did go to a restaurant or two). I would rather not have to deal with a reaction while on vacation!

Accidents tend to happen when you move out of your routine, so it's safest to try to keep some things, like the food prep, relatively routine.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Renting a place with a kitchenette is now the only way to go for us. We've been to New York City, Montreal and next, we're going to Florida.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:25 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Orleans, Ontario
Hello Katesmom,

We've also travelled with our little guy who has 11 allergies , we've been to Mexico and San Diego. His diet is extremely limited so we bring alot of his food with us. We travel with a plugin cooler which is great. We bring along rice milk, fruit and veggie juice (to supplement his diet should he need it) his homemade bread, frozen, (the only kind he can eat), bars (there's only one that is safe for him), snacks, (it can be difficult to find safe ones for him out there)ondiments, crackers, and then we buy fruit, veggies, and meat. We essentially pack a lunch for him for wherever we go. We even brought our own dry pasta and pasta sauce and asked chefs to prepare pasta for him! It seems that pasta often contains traces of egg elsewhere! When we were in Mexico the chicken was safe as were the french fries. He essentially ate the same thing for lunch and dinner the whole 14 days. Chicken, fries and 4 ketchups!! He was in heaven!! Alot of places now will have fruit cups or veggie plates that are safe as well as meat that we have prepared specially!

We had no trouble crossing the border with the food. We had a letter from our allergist stating that we needed to bring our own food and we declared that we had the food in our luggage. When we crossed the border, they asked if we were carrying food, we said yes, explained why and they just let us through. They never checked! We also never had trouble getting into places that have a policy of no outside food. We simply said we had a food allergic child and in we went.

It's definitely more work but definitely worth it. We want him to grow up thinking there is a way to do it all, it's just not about the food, it's about the experience. Unless he grows out of his allergies, it will never be about the food for him.

_________________
Oldest son 9: allergic to fish and shellfish, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites
Youngest son, 5: allergic to peanuts, nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, kiwi, asthma, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Thank you for all the tips. And I thought it was hard just traveling with a baby! (ah, I remember the days when I could pack a single carryon...)

We've always been pretty active travelers, and wanted Kate to see the world with us (we've already been to Boston, Rhode Island, and Bermuda with her). I'm glad to hear that you've managed well internationally. We're thinking of San Diego in the fall, as a friend is getting married in LA (which we've visited before) and we thought it would be a good family vacation spot. But that's going to be flying and lots more complicated...

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Triliam, Thanks for the tip on bringing food across the border! That's wonderful news as our family is considering a trip to Florida some day.

Katesmom, I agree with Karen about taking baby steps. I definitely think modified travel can be done. My husband and I love to travel - it was really our passion, and continued to be when our daughter was born. But that changed when our son was born. It took us awhile to accept the fact that our approach needed to change when dealing with our son having multiple food allergies, but we've now managed to find ways to safely travel with our son. Following 2 very unsuccessful trips with our son in 2003 (requiring emergency medical care in both cases), we are now much more careful and have gone on several overnight trips (in province) this year with NO problem. We bring all of our own food and do not eat in restaurants. We have a plug-in cooler (plugs into the van lighter and has an AC adaptor that can be used in the hotel room). A place with a kitchen is best, but we still bring a lot of our own plastic dishes to be safe. We also bring a bowl to wash our dishes. We will eat "picnic style" in the room, and the kids LOVE it! We bring a tablecloth to cover the table or desk in the room. We will also go out and have a picnic in a beautiful park nearby. Lots of places have microwaves in the room, and that's really handy too - we've brought along precooked spaghetti or tacos. Also, we've brought along our rice cooker and prepared rice with pre-cooked teriyaki chicken, or lots of appetizers, or pizza, or sandwiches, cereal and milk... whatever suits our needs. We are considering taking a longer trip, and we will likely bring our toaster oven with tray.

It is more effort FOR SURE, and it's a different way of travelling, but we're used to it now and it is WELL worth the effort. The kids love going to a hotel or cottage, and they really don't know any different. I find if I've done the work beforehand, it still feels like a real holiday when we get there. I got used to not going to restaurants with our kids years ago (after our son had experienced one too many allergic reactions in a restaurant!), so it doesn't bother me anymore, and I don't even think about it. The only time we will go to a restaurant is to have a drink of juice for the kids (and a coffee or a beer for mom and dad!)

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Well, at least where we're looking to go in April is only 2 hours away from home. So if it gets to be too much we can just go home. We'll definitely buy a plug in cooler, sounds like a necessity.

It's scary, though, to think of her having a reaction in a strange place. Do you scope out where the nearest hospital is first thing? Now I feel like I should mark all the hospitals between here and there and wherever we might sightsee.

But even here at home we've gone to restaurants in the past few months and haven't had problems. We've ordered her veggies cooked in absolutely nothing - broccoli from Olive Garden, some really overcooked mixed veg from a place in NYC - and give her pieces of whatever meat we're having. Mostly, though, I bring her meal, like when we had Japanese teppanyaki where they use butter and everything's mixed on the grill (I did let her drink from my soup, which I guess we were lucky in retrospect since I had no clue what might have been in it). Just a few weeks ago I was saying to my husband how, when I'd forgotten her food, we'd have to start getting used to ordering for her. But that was pretty short lived.

I know this is OT, but as Julie brought up medical emergencies, if you've had any major ones, how many were at home vs. out at friends/relatives/restaurants? My husband made a stupid mistake of putting our entire London broil from the oven into a pan he'd made French toast in earlier, and "contaminated" the whole thing with egg. We did cut pieces for her from "inside" the meat where it wouldn't have touched. Seems like just one slip at home can be a major catastrophe, where you'd be more on the alert when you're out.

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 927
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Katesmom,

Just wanted to mention something our family has learned along the way... for about the last year now, I've kept an "emergency" stash of food and Wet-Ones wipes in the car so that we are never caught somewhere without food for our son, or away from water to wash our hands. I bring bottled water and various crackers, rice cakes, Fruit-to-Go... this kind of thing. It has to be food that won't spoil in a hot car, or freeze in a cold car (In the winter, I will empty out the first inch or two of water from the bottled water bottles in case they freeze). Also, grocery stores are almost always open, so if you end up at someone's house without your daughter's food, you can run out to get something. Oh, we also keep a can of Pringles chips in the car in case we are at someone's house and they are serving kids "unsafe" potato chips (our son cannot eat sunflower oil, which appears in most potato chips). It's strictly for those situations when you want your child to be able to join in with all the other children. For the most part, we are almost ALWAYS well-prepared with food and drink, so this is truly just for emergency situations.

Also, we've actually only used our plug-in cooler twice, so you may not need to run out and get one right away - unless you will need it. If you are only going a couple of hours away, and your destination has a fridge, that should suffice. The one problem I found with the plug-in version is that you cannot turn the car off and keep food cold. And you cannot put cooler packs in this style of cooler. The cooler must always be supplied with power. So, you'll have to consider this as well.

As far as where our son's reactions occur... well, in the beginning, before we knew as much as we do now, it would happen at home and away from home. In the last 18 months, our son has not had a single reaction anywhere! We are very careful, and we have worked very hard to teach our son to self-care when he entered school. In the year prior to his last reaction, we had set up our home to be a complete safe zone - none of his allergens kept in the house - this was a tremendous help! We are extremely careful with what our son eats, and never take chances. (btw, his reaction 18 months ago occurred in the grocery store after contacting one of his allergens on the grocery cart when he was still putting his fingers in his mouth, resulting in the need for the Epipen).

It's a good idea to scope out where the hospital is if you plan to stay somewhere overnight. Also, if you are a bit of distance from a hospital (45 mins or more), bring along 3 Epipens (or more if you are even further away)

When your daughter is going to eat when away from home, ALWAYS wash her hands if she has come in contact with any surface. This is really important. Wet-Ones wipes are second best to hand washing, but I always make sure we have these available just in case (a washroom is just not always available).

Katesmom, I also wanted to mention that if your daughter is ever having a major reaction, don't hesitate to use the Epipen. I was always afraid to use it until the day I actually did have to use it. It was amazing to see how quickly our son's reaction subsided - within about 5 minutes. And it truly was very easy to administer. Our son cried for about a minute, and that was it. I think a quick moment of small pain is nothing compared with the feeling of an allergic reaction.

Sorry I got so off-topic from your original. Sometimes so many situations are so interconnected it's hard to keep on the original topic. :wink:

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:36 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Thanks again for the info!

Kendra

_________________
Kate - born 11*17*2005 - allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, dust mites
Amanda - born 5*31*2008 - dairy sensitivity
Mom - dyshidrotic eczema, teenage-onset allergy to fish, but skin tests are now negative...no oral challenge.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:45 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
I don't know about the USA, but in Canada the official provincial road maps show the hospitals. We try to be aware of them. If there was a reaction when we were travelling we would give the EpiPen, head towards the nearest hospital and call 911 along the way (if 2 of us were in the car). The EMS might decide to meet you at a prearranged highway exit.
Luckily, we have only had one anaphylaxic reaction and it was at home. I suspect that it is due to the hypervigilance mode we get into during outings.
Don't statistic usually show most accidents happen in or around the home? Familiarity breeds comtempt.
Good luck with your trip. We're going to Banff this summer and I've been obsessing for months now.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
On the issue of bringing food across the border----there is a long list of rules that we found out about the hard way. My family and I recently crossed at Sarnia where they have signs everywhere warning everyone that it is mandatory to declare all food. We declared and were asked to surrender grapes + one grapefruit (I was vaguely aware that a lot of fruit is contraband). The van was packed to the *hilt*, and we couldn't find the grapes. (The van was in a state of disorganization---we were going to a funeral and had to pack in a hurry.)

Although we located the grapes after pulling over, they searched our van.
I wasn't too happy about the thought of the inspector opening our food containers (we packed a *lot* of food . . enough for 2 1/2 of us to get through 2 days without cooking). . . I hoped that he hadn't eaten anything we're anaphylactic to recently without washing his hands. They were pretty nice about the whole thing---I don't think the border guard did too thorough of a search since it didn't take him all that long. They did give us a sheet of paper with a list of rules for next time.

There were some surprising ones. Like no uncooked rice unless it is grown in the US. We did have some Lundberg rice, but as we had another brand as well, I'm not certain that we didn't end up smuggling contraband items across! Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to research all the rules before attempting to travel next time.

And by the way, grapefruit grown in the US (and in its original packaging/with a sticker) is fine. I could have kept my grapefruit if only I had known!


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