Eight prep steps to flying with food allergies

By Erica Hernandez • Published: May 2nd, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Fear of flying or fear of reacting? For people with food allergies travel can be more stressful than ever. In America, 6 percent of children suffer from food allergies and about 4 percent of adults do. For these people, nothing is worse than having an allergic reaction while flying … but a new study has found ways to lessen the possibility of that happening.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-In Practice, found passengers who engaged in eight mitigating factors were less likely to report an allergic reaction.

These eight behaviors include: requesting accommodations; requesting a peanut/tree nut-free meal; wiping the tray table with a commercial wipe; avoiding use of airline pillows; avoiding use of airline blankets; requesting a peanut/tree nut-free buffer zone; requesting other passengers not consume peanut/tree nut-containing products; or just avoiding airline-provided food altogether.

More than thirty-two hundred people from 11 countries completed an online survey about their flying experiences for the study. Researchers found that only 349 people experienced allergic reactions while flying and using these precautions.

Of course, part of avoiding an allergic reaction is always being prepared for one. So follow steps to minimize risk. Always have a plan and make sure the people you are with most are aware of your allergies and what to do if you have a reaction. If you choose to treat allergic reactions with medications or injections, make sure to always have those on hand.

Traveling doesn’t have to be stressful for people with food allergies. With proper planning and preparation, you can easily manage your allergies and navigating the airport.