(BPT) - Whether it's lying on a beach, visiting a theme park or skiing across snowy mountains, vacationing with friends or family is an experience that can't be beat. But for those living with potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies, planning a trip can feel daunting.
Desi Tucker's family knows the challenges of managing potentially life-threatening allergies all too well. Not only does she personally have severe allergies, but her 12-year-old son, Carson, also lives with allergies to eggs, shellfish and most tree nuts.
For the Tuckers and millions of others living with severe allergies, effective planning and vigilance are critical, particularly when traveling.
Have a plan
The key to managing severe allergies on the go is planning. Unfamiliar settings and potential new experiences are exciting, but they can also present challenges when it comes to recognizing and avoiding allergic triggers.
"Carson is very aware of how to manage his severe allergies, but we do what we can to reduce as much as possible the risk of him being exposed to something potentially harmful,' Tucker says. 'It's important to me that when we travel as a family, he is able to take in every new experience as a child should.'
Having an anaphylaxis action plan in place is critical. Those at increased risk for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, should work with their doctor to create a plan that's right for them, but all action plans should include:
- Avoiding allergic triggers
- Knowing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis
- Having immediate access to two epinephrine auto-injectors, such as EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injectors, at all times
- Seeking immediate medical care if anaphylaxis occurs
The good news is there are a variety of resources and tips available to help families managing severe allergies while traveling.
Learn Desi's tips & tricks
Desi has a few other 'go-to' tips for parents/caregivers to consider as they prepare for vacation or other travel:
- Download helpful apps.Desi uses the My EpiPlan® app, which has travel tips, instructional videos and helpful EpiPen® Auto-injector expiration reminders. The free app is available on iTunes® and Google Play™.*
- Wear a medical ID bracelet and keep EpiPen® Auto-Injectors in original packaging, along with a copy of your anaphylaxis action plan and a note from your doctor in a carry-on bag so you always have them with you.
- Check with the airlines ahead of time. Airlines cannot guarantee your flight will be completely free of your allergic triggers, but if you have food allergies, they may be able to ask passengers seated around you to refrain from eating them.
- Consider your accommodations. Think about potentially renting a house or staying in a hotel room with a kitchen so you have more control over food options and preparation.
- Do your research. If eating out, before choosing a place, call ahead to speak with the executive chef about the restaurant's food allergy policy to make sure they can accommodate your needs, especially during peak periods and holidays.
'Prior to taking any trip we make a list of allergy-friendly restaurants where we can stop while on the road or at our vacation destination,' says Tucker. 'We recently went to Disneyland® Resort and mapped a travel route which makes such a difference for us and can even turn into a fun family activity to see how many restaurants you can visit during your trip! We make proper planning, research and due diligence part of all of our family vacations."
Desi Tucker is a spokesperson of Mylan.
EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine injection) 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors are for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by allergens, exercise, or unknown triggers; and for people who are at increased risk for these reactions. EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® are intended for immediate administration as emergency supportive therapy only. Seek immediate emergency medical help right away.
Important Safety Information
EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors contain a single dose of epinephrine, which you (or your caregiver or others who may be in a position to administer EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr®) inject into the middle of your outer thigh (upper leg) (through clothing, if necessary). Get emergency medical help right away. You may need further medical attention. Only a health care professional should give additional doses of epinephrine if you need more than two injections for a single anaphylactic episode. DO NOT INJECT INTO YOUR VEINS, BUTTOCKS, FINGERS, TOES, HANDS OR FEET. In case of accidental injection, please seek immediate medical treatment. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related (cardiac) symptoms.
Tell your doctor if you have certain medical conditions such as asthma, depression, thyroid disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, have any other medical conditions, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Be sure to also tell your doctor all the medicines you take, especially medicines for asthma. If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have longer lasting side effects when you use EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr®.
The most common side effects may include increase in heart rate, stronger or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, paleness, dizziness, weakness, shakiness, headache, apprehension, nervousness or anxiety. These side effects may go away if you rest. Tell your health care professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For additional information, please contact us at 800-395-3376.
*U.S. stores only
EpiPen®, EpiPen Jr® and My EpiPlan® are registered trademarks owned by the Mylan companies. Disneyland® Resort is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
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