Travelling with an allergy can be difficult and without being prepared could end up with you needing medical treatment following exposure to an unknown source of your allergy. Food allergies can cause problems when ordering food in restaurants and communicating can be difficult. Follow our advice to make sure you have a safe and healthy trip.
Allergic reactions are caused by allergens. Almost anything can be an allergen for someone. Common allergens include: pollen, house dust mite, food, animals and chemicals. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from a runny nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes to the more severe form of allergy; anaphylaxis. Allergy is very common and it affects approximately one in four of the population in the UK. Each year the numbers are increasing by 5% with as many as half of all those affected being children.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can affect the whole body, often within minutes of exposure to an allergen but sometimes it can occur after several hours. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Anaphylaxis can be caused by many different things. These include foods such as nuts: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazils, sesame, fish, shellfish, dairy products and eggs. Non-food causes include wasp or bee stings, natural latex (rubber), penicillin or any other drugs or injections.
Symptoms include: flushing of the skin, hives, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, collapse and unconsciousness.
Most allergic reactions can be treated successfully with antihistamine tablets or cream. If you have had a previous anaphylactic reaction your doctor or specialist will have prescribed you an Epipen which contains Adrenaline (also known as epinephrine). Adrenaline works by constricting blood vessels and relaxing smooth muscles in the lungs to improve breathing. It stimulates the heartbeat and helps to stop swelling around the face and lips. The Anaphylaxis Campaign have produced a video on how to use your Epipen.
If you have a known allergy you should follow these advice tips to make sure you stay safe and healthy on your trip:
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Further information can be found on the following websites:
Written by Jane Bell RGN