Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Travelling with an allergy child

Wow, in less than five days we will be making the jump over the ditch for good. While it is very scary leaving behind all of our support system, including the places we know to go to get great allergy friendly foods it is kind of exciting knowing that we will be finding new places that are great for allergy free foods.

My son is 5 years old and a bottomless pit at this point in time. We are flying Emirates and while they have a jaw dropping range of meals available for different dietary needs they do also have a statement on their webpage that they can not cater for peanut allergies as other people may bring nuts on board etc. I understand that they need to cover themselves and after all, we do need to take responsibility of these allergies and not rely on others if we are to live as normal a life as possible. The Autumn Allergy NZ magazine had a great article on travelling with allergy children and I used a lot of their advice.

1) We bought a Skip_Hop insulated lunch bag to put the kids meals in. We also bought two foo go storage containers which keep food hot or cold for certain lengths of time. I cooked the kids their favourite food (chicken sausages from WestLynn Organic Butchers in Richmond Rd, Auckland), with some Orgran pasta and popped these into the FooGo containers. I also packed some of their other favourites and a staple in our allergy lives some Natureland baby pouches. This meant that we wouldn't forget about any stray pieces of fruit in our bags but the kids were still getting that necessary Vitamin C and other nutrients.

2) I bought some Janola wipes to wipe down the back of seats, arm rests and tray tables. While waiting to board the plane I asked the attendant if we could be allowed to board amongst the first passengers so that I could wipe down these surfaces. They were more than happy for this to happen.

3) I made sure my epipen/anapen hadn't expired and practiced with our trainer so I had the instructions fresh and clear in my head.

4) While it wasn't necessary I asked and was provided with a letter from my son's GP that explained the allergy situation. We didn't need to use it but it was nice knowing it was there if we needed it.

5) Spoke to every single staff member we came into contact with about my son's allergies, from the person who helped us book it, the person at the check out counter, customs officials everyone. In fact one of the customs official wrote down the name of the cream we use for my son because he had very dry skin on his fingers. While some had more understanding of our situation than others I couldn't fault any of them.

When we landed in Melbourne I was terrified of what would be waiting for us going through their customs as we had declared so much stuff, foods, medicines, etc. Both my husband and I were quite thrown off when we were asked a couple of brief questions by a customs officials and were then allowed to go straight through. It really does pay to be honest!

6) Asked the pharmacist to give us a 50ml bottle to carry some antihistamine on board the plane in. This now stays in my son's kit with a syringe and has been used a couple of times, although not on the flights.

To finish this post I have added a dairy and egg free custard recipe. Cold or hot this is something you could put in the kids Foogo or thermos flask for lunches.

Dairy and Egg Free Custard

1 cup of rice milk
1/8 cup of rice milk (extra)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 Tablespoons of natural maple syrup (the real stuff)
1 heaped Tablespoon of corn starch (we use Ceres)

In a pot pour in the cup of rice milk.
Add the vanilla and maple syrup and heat through.
While waiting put the cornstarch in with the extra rice milk and mix together, making sure there are no lumps.
When the milk in the pot is hot but not boiling add the milk/cornstarch mix.
Stir constantly, the liquid should start to thicken up straight away, if not give it some time and keep stirring.
Once it has thickened to the consistency you like remove from heat and either serve immediately (over a hot pudding) or wait until cool.
We wait until it is cool and grate fresh fruit over the top or serve with banana.
If it doesn't thicken up enough for your liking, add more cornstarch added to a touch of milk to prevent lumps.
If we don't have maple syrup we use sugar, preferably brown to give it that yellow colour.

If you have any difficulty making any of these recipes let me know and I can try and help you out.

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