A week away with food allergies.

I just got back from a week away in Florida. It was first time in 3 years that we went on an airplane. In this post I am going to chronicle everything I experienced. I may do a follow up later this week but I wanted to get the important points out before I forget.

Sunday February 14th. We took our first flight in 3 years. I was a bit paranoid given all the scary posts I read online about flying with a food allergy. My boys have dairy, fish, sesame and some tree nuts. We flew just days after the British Airways news. During our flight, peanuts weren’t served but Doritos and goldfish were, as well as dinner in first class one row ahead of me and they were heating up meals. My son’s nose bothered him the whole flight.  Just goes to show you the issue with flying is more than just about the nuts.

February 15 – 20th,   we spent the bulk of our time at Disney. My boys love that place, and now I do as well. This was my 5th time, my older sons 4th, and my younger son’s 2nd. It truly is the happiest place on earth. Each time I go away I get full kitchens because I always need to cook. Not at Disney!  I was so impressed! Never have I seen such a well done practice for food allergies. Each place has an allergy menu, each time the chef would talk to us.  My kids were able to have pancakes and waffles and all the places had Tofutti or rice dream. I was also able to get kosher meat meals for them as well. Even the Italian places were able to accommodate us. Every allergy dish comes with a wooden allergen tag so you know you’re eating an allergy dish.  I am telling you I wish I could get this type of thing here in NY. In addition, on the park maps they have Epi Pen locations marked. We always have a few on us but it was good to know.

We also went to Discovery Cove.  Discovery Cove is a park run by Seaworld. It’s amazing! My kids swam in the reef with fish, stingrays and more in a saltwater reef (yes even my fish allergy child). There is also a lazy river and you can pay more to swim with dolphins. Your admission includes lunch and free snacks. There we met with a chef who got us what we needed just like Disney. You should know not only did snacks include things like goldfish, pretzels, chips but peanuts also, so no, it’s not nut free.

Finally, Saturday night we met family members in another part of Florida. We had plans to go to a chain we knew, but due to large wait we went to another place. That was not such a great Idea in the end. First, they took forever to even order, and we were sitting in the front near the open kitchen. I knew since this place had dairy, and was outside of Disney; we only eat in kosher meat places, but given where we were, I thought it was worth the risk. I was not expecting what followed. My older son, the one with the milder milk allergy started coughing, so I gave him his rescue inhaler. 20 mins later he said he felt like he had a lump in his throat and he was still tight. I looked at my more allergic son and he seemed fine. I didn’t get it. I took my other son out of the place and made the choice not to take him back in. I gave him Benadryl and we all got food to go as we didn’t even have our food yet.  Once I got him back to where we were staying I gave him a nebulizer treatment and that cleared it all up.  Both my sons and I are asthmatic I go nowhere without meds.  I still couldn’t understand why my other son didn’t react.  How is it possible? The 3 of us are all allergic to dairy and ate the same this plain pasta.  3 hours later, my younger son came into me asking for pjs. I took one look at him and knew we were going to be going to the ER. His eyes were red, itchy and swollen. Under one he was getting hives. His nose was suddenly stuffed (just like the plane) and he was having red spots and eczema on his trunk.   I gave him a double dose of Benadryl as per the Dr. on the way to the ER. Thankfully only that and a dose of steroids was all that was needed.  I can tell you though, they do not treat allergic reactions the same in Florida as here in NY. They made him wait in triage, and my husband had to beg for him to be seen. Even with action plan and history!  That said, they also didn’t keep him for observation as I am used to; scary!

Even after all that, 6 hours later, we got on a plane back to NY. All in all it was a great trip and I can’t wait to go back to Disney! The happiest place on earth for food allergy families.

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