Whether you're hitting the open road or heading to the airport, travel can become more complicated when you or your child has an increased risk for a life‑threatening or severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). That's why it's important to be careful to avoid allergens anywhere you go. And wherever life takes you, don't forget to pack your EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto‑Injectors.
By taking a few precautions, you can reduce the risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) while flying.
Start with a little research.
Before booking a flight, ask your health care professional about your risk of anaphylaxis aboard an aircraft and about key precautions you can take. If you're cleared for air travel, call your airline to report your potentially life‑threatening allergies and find out about the foods and snacks being served on your flights. Before you leave, locate an allergist or hospital near your destination, just in case.
B.Y.O.F. (bring your own food)
Rather than relying on airport food vendors or the airline, pack your own snacks for the trip, and bring extra in case you're delayed. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits air travelers to carry food from home onto planes—just make sure it's wrapped or in a container.
TSA regulations for medications
You may request that your EpiPen® Auto‑Injectors be inspected visually rather than X‑rayed since the effects of X‑rays on epinephrine are unknown. Make sure your medication is clearly labeled; you may want to write your name on it as well. It's not necessary, but you may want to also bring a note from your physician explaining that your EpiPen® Auto‑Injector contains a medication for anaphylaxis.
Speak up at the gate.
When you reach your gate, tell the airline staff about your severe allergy. While airlines can’t always guarantee flights will be free of your allergic triggers, they may avoid using latex products or ask passengers in your row and in the rows around you to refrain from eating your trigger food(s).
In case of anaphylaxis, alert the crew right away.
If you begin to experience anaphylaxis, tell a member of the flight crew immediately and administer your EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine) Auto‑Injector and seek emergency help immediately.
Always carry your EpiPen® Auto‑Injectors
Pack your EpiPen 2‑Pak® in your carry‑on bag. When you board the plane, keep it with you, not in the overhead bin—if you need it, you’ll want to be able to access it quickly.
By taking a few precautions, you can reduce the risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) while traveling.
Plan your meals.
Before you leave home, decide how and where you’re going to eat. You’ll want to pack plenty of nonperishable, allergen‑free foods for the ride, as well as research restaurants and make reservations for your trip.
If there are special foods you need (or like) that may not be available at your destination, stock up before you leave.
Allergyeats.com provides a searchable database of many allergy‑friendly restaurants across the country.
Check your meds.
Be sure to check the expiration dates of all medications, including your EpiPen® Auto‑Injectors. You may want to bring extra supplies in case of an emergency. You may also want to research which pharmacies and hospitals are along your route.
Visiting a foreign country? Make your trip a success by following these simple tips.
Before you leave:
- Connect with an international allergy association, such as the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance. These associations can help you locate the resources you might need outside the United States.
- Make sure you have necessary medications, including your EpiPen® Auto‑Injectors. Check expiration dates (sign up for expiration date reminders), and consider bringing extra supplies. If you run out while traveling, the products you need may not be available in foreign pharmacies.
- Learn the names of your allergens in the languages of the countries you’ll visit. Be able to say and write them so you can alert others to your condition. You might want to consider allergy translation cards. (Selectwisely.com is one site that offers allergy translation cards for purchase.)
- Research the area you’ll be staying in. Is the country allergy‑aware? Will allergen‑free food be available? Plan to ship or bring your own food if necessary.
While you're there:
- Tell your traveling companions about your severe allergy. Make sure they know where you keep your EpiPen® Auto‑Injectors and how to use one in case you’re unable to administer the medicine yourself. Order an additional EpiPen® Trainer for free if needed.
- Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet, which can alert health care professionals to your condition even if you’re unable to speak.
- Locate the closest hospital and know how to get there. Determine the local phone number for emergency services.