Brits with allergies have been offered expert advice for travelling abroad safely this summer.

The team behind food allergy information app has advised allergy sufferers to learn key phrases and know emergency procedures before jetting off on their holidays.

Despite being governed by the same legislations, Brits often find that allergen information isn’t as easily accessible in Europe when holidaying in countries like Spain and Greece.  

This means travelling abroad can be a daunting experience for people with allergies, as they face numerous challenges that could impact their health and overall enjoyment, with one major concern being the language barrier. 

Communicating dietary restrictions and allergies in a foreign country can be difficult and might lead to potentially dangerous situations, particularly when dealing with severe allergies where even a small mistake can have serious consequences. 

Another issue is some people’s unfamiliarity with local cuisine, meaning travellers could encounter dishes with unknown ingredients and increase their risk of exposure to allergens. 

This problem is compounded by varying food label practices across different countries. What might be clearly labelled as an allergen in one country might not be in another, making it harder for travellers to identify ‘safe’ foods.

Allergy Menu’s founder Juliet Moran commented: “Travel should be a joy, not a health risk. But the sad fact is that travelling with allergies requires careful planning and proactive measures to ensure safety and peace of mind.

“To help people manage their allergies whilst travelling, we’ve issued our expert advice on what they can do to ensure a safe trip this summer. From researching local cuisine and learning key phrases, to carrying translation cards and packing safe snacks, preparation is key.

“Whether at home or abroad, restaurant owners have a legal duty of care towards their customers, so if they fail in their duty of care in any way they could be sued for an allergic reaction.”

Here are Allergy Menu’s top tips for travelling abroad with an allergy:

  1. Research and plan ahead

Before travelling, research the destination’s local cuisine and food labelling practices. Understanding what to expect can help in making safer food choices.

  1. Learn key phrases

Learn essential phrases related to allergies in the local language. Phrases like “I am allergic to,” “Does this contain,” and “I need medical help” can be crucial in communicating needs effectively. Use your mobile phone to assist with translations.

  1. Carry allergy cards

Use allergy translation cards that clearly state your allergies in the local language. These cards can be shown to restaurant staff, chefs, and others to ensure your dietary restrictions are understood.

  1. Pack safe snacks

Bring a supply of safe, non-perishable snacks from home. This ensures you always have something to eat in case you cannot find safe options locally.

  1. Choose accommodations wisely

Book accommodations that can cater to your allergy needs. Contact hotels in advance to inquire about hypoallergenic rooms, pet policies, and the ability to store or prepare your own food.

  1. Communicate clearly

When dining out, clearly communicate your allergies to restaurant staff and ask detailed questions about food preparation. Don’t hesitate to leave if you feel uncertain about the safety of the food.

  1. Carry medical supplies

Always travel with a sufficient supply of your medications, including epinephrine auto-injectors and antihistamines. Keep these with you at all times for easy access. Also, consider bringing a letter from your doctor which explains your allergies and the need for your medications.

  1. Know emergency procedures

Familiarise yourself with the local emergency numbers and the nearest hospitals or clinics at your destination. Have a plan in place for how to get medical help if needed.

  1. Purchase travel insurance

Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies related to allergies. This can provide financial protection and access to necessary medical care abroad.

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