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If you only knew (a glimpse at traveling with food allergies)

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of “you never come see us anymore.”  Not that visits were frequent before children but our closest relatives live at least an hour away.

I never knew how much stuff a baby needed when traveling. It’s quite a chore, especially if you’re staying the night!  Now let’s add food allergies into that mix. YOWZAS!

Here are some of the extra steps I have to take when traveling.

1. I start by thinking (and obsessing) over every little detail. Who will be there? Will they respect my rules regarding Squid’s allergies? Will there be food? If there is food, will it be safe? If it’s not safe, will people wash their hands before touching Squid? What will we eat? How long are we staying? How much food will we need? Should I take extra cleaning wipes for other people’s hands/our eating area?  HOW AM I GOING TO KEEP MY CHILD SAFE??? The list goes on and on and on!

2. Take all those questions from #1 and begin packing. It takes me AT LEAST two days to pack and make sure everything is perfect because we do not have the “stop at the nearest fast food option.”  It’s what I bring or nothing because after several reactions and way too many close calls, I really have a hard time trusting food that wasn’t cooked by me or with me present.

3. The day has come. We’ve made the trip and arrived safely. The hard part is over right? HA! Not a chance. Remember all of those questions from #1? They’re still buzzing in my head but this time they’re being played out in real life. I can’t relax at all during my visit due to worry about what Squid may accidentally be exposed to and how many hives he will get THIS time.

Vacation is not a vacation for me! My idea of a vacation these days is leaving Squid with Daddy and having some Mommy time of some sort. Family events where I can relax are very rare, especially if they involve food.  Needless to say, Thanksgiving is my new version of a complete nervous wreck nightmare!

4. Making it back home without hives or a hospital visit is nothing short of a miracle! Praise God!

Please be understanding. Please be patient. Food allergies are rough.

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Hawaiian Adventures: Contact Dairy Allergy

Our grand trip to Hawaii.  We had everything planned out.   My friend scrubbed her house top to bottom, sterilized her child’s toys, and washed the highchair.  What am I forgetting?  Oh yes, the pack-n-play. But her daughter hasn’t used it in forever.  It’s safe right?  WRONG!

We get there and get settled but of course after getting up early and traveling across 5 time zones with a screaming toddler, we’re tired.  My friend gets the room set up and we call it a night.  The next morning we wake up before the sun to find hives across Squid’s eye and face.

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I blamed his reaction on the fact that we went to Starbucks when we arrived and I accidentally touched his bear in his bag when I was getting out wipes. I promptly stripped his bed and washed everything. I also scrubbed down his bag. Problems solved? I thought so until the following morning.

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After he woke up with hives for the 2nd day in a row, I knew it wasn’t a contaminated bear. My friend gathered her spray bottle of vinegar and a container of disinfectant wipes and proceeded to wipe down every square inch of the pack-n-play. As an allergy mom, I should have taken that job upon myself.

The 3rd morning (below) was the absolute worst! Squid was extra fussy that night and I don’t blame him one bit. We had to slather his poor little face in antihistamine cream as well as a dose of benadryl.

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3 days of this and I finally had my culprit nailed down, the fabric sides. I, again for the 3rd day, washed all of his bedding items and then I drug the pack-n-play out into the yard for a wash. I took regular dish soap, a sponge, and the water hose and scrubbed until the fabric oozed with bubbles. Top, bottom, inside, outside, mesh, plastic corners, padded sides, EVERYTHING! After I rinsed it, I scrubbed it again. When it was dry, I soaked it until it was dripping with vinegar. Finally, I wiped it down with disinfectant wipes. I threatened that if he woke up in hives again, I would just burn the thing and be done. Luckily, the wash took care of it!

Allergy life is such a crazy adventure, especially with a contact allergy. Lesson learned.