Many people, us included, are hitting the road during this holiday season to visit with family and friends. We’re headed north to stay at my parents’ house. Being a guest can be is fun for kids. But, being a food allergic guest can be complicated. Typically, guests are uncomfortable making too many demands on the host family. However, without a lot of specific information, the hosts cannot look out for a food allergic guest’s well-being.
It’s important to remember a few things:
1. Arm your guests with enough information to keep you or your food allergic child safe. If you can’t eat wheat, for example, let them know something easy you eat for breakfast. Remind them that leaving out bowls of nuts won’t be safe for a tree nut-allergic child.
2. Offer to go grocery shopping. For starters, it’s an appreciated gesture. But, it also gives you an opportunity to buy a few things that ensures you eat safely at mealtimes (like dairy-free margarine and nut-free cookies).
3. Be sure to bring your emergency medications. As if you leave home without that anyway! In addition to our On-the-Go Emergency Kit, I also bring my son’s nebulizer and accompanying medications (in case he has an asthmatic reaction), a bottle of Benadryl, and hydrocortisone cream.
4. Teach your hosts how to use an EpiPen using the EpiPen trainer (see Familiarize or Refamiliarize Yourself With How To Use An EpiPen) and let them know where you keep it. Remind your hosts not to feed your food allergic child without checking the food’s safety with you first.
Finally, if it makes sense, refer your hosts to the Grandparents’ Guide Parts I, II and III which gives hosts some helpful hints on how to safely host a food allergic child. It’s not just for grandparents!