Sunday, September 15, 2013

To Grandmother's House We Go: Packing for Asthma, Allergies, and Eczema

While we are blessed with a fantastic, accommodating, and understanding family, sometimes visiting relatives gets tricky when you have celiac disease, food allergies, eczema, and asthma.

Packing for Grandma's for the atopic child (asthma, allergies, eczema) 

This is not medical advice! It is just my opinion! 

Food seems to be the most difficult part of traveling with these conditions but allergies to Grandma's fluffy cat, or pesky pollen allergies, can cause major headaches for everyone, not to mention asthma attacks.  Eczema can flare in the new environment, and a carefree trip can turn into an itchy, wheezy mess. 

If we are dropping the kids off for a stay by themselves: 

* We make a list of safe foods, with their exact brand names and flavors in case we did not pack enough. We are lucky to have family that knows how to shop for our allergen set, and gluten free needs, but a list is still helpful!
* We leave a list of medications, and the times that they are given. 
*  All emergency medications are kept together in a SafetySack with a list of emergency numbers and emergency action plan. 
*  Daily medications are kept together as well with a list of when and how much to give. 

Lets Get Packing! The kids are excited, and ready to go!


All prescribed medications such as:
Nebulizer with medication
Rescue inhaler
Daily preventative/controller inhaler

Allergies (environmental):

All prescribed medication such as: Daily antihistamine, Nasal spray, Emergency antihistamine
Pillow- with dust mite encasing
One set of bedding- pillow case, sheets, blanket
Laundry detergent- small travel sized scent free/dye free

Allergies (food):

All prescribed medications such as: Antihistamines, Epipens, must keep both epipens together. Bring more than one set if possible. 

We make sure to bring food enough for at least one day, and the car ride.  If there is a grocery store nearby that has staple allergen free foods that we can purchase, and we have not packed enough for the entire stay, then we try to go shopping that first day, or the next morning. You can also mark safe food boxes with stickers so your children can see which foods are safe for them. 

Food for the trip as there may not be a place to eat on the way that can cater to your set of allergies.
Breakfast foods like dry cereal, instant cereal, or easy pre-made frozen food like waffles, sausage
Snacks: whole fruits, crackers, chips, etc.
Lunch staples, safe lunch meat can be packed in a cooler, allergen free breads, sliced veggies, and safe spreads such as Sunbutter, or soybutter, and allergen free jam.
Dinner, also can be pre-made, and packed in a cooler or frozen. Safe box mixes, like gluten/allergen free mac and cheese.
Drinks that are allergen free such as an allergen free juice or milk.
Dessert: An allergen free box of cookies for the grandparents to hand out, and maybe some pre-made brownies, or cupcakes.


All prescribed medications such as: Steroid creams
Hydrating Creams such as CeraVe Cream (not the lotion) 
Special Shampoo
such as tar shampoo, or head and shoulders for scalp eczema
Barrier ointment such as Petroleum Jelly
Gentle cleansers for bath time. We love Cetaphil wash and Free&Clear wash
Cotton PJs- long sleeved, to put over moisturizer cream

Emergency Medication and Information:
I keep all emergency medications, and numbers in a Safety Sack which is made of hard plastic, has a zipper, and is transparent. It also comes with a sheet to list allergens, emergency numbers, and an emergency action plan.
The SafetySack has a ring so that it can be hung anywhere in the home, like the kitchen, and brought along in a large purse for outings. It fits both inhalers, a spacer, two EpipenJR or Avi-Q, and Benadryl.

Practice your Emergency Action Plan with your host, if they are to babysit for any length of time, and make sure they are comfortable using the EpipenJR or Auvi-Q, and emergency inhalers with spacer. Bring the EpipenJR or Avi-Q trainers to practice together. You can also practice with an expired EpipenJR, or Avi-Q by injecting into an orange. 

It may seem overwhelming, and it can be at first, but with practice, road trips to Grandma's become easy to plan for! 

Great Resources for Caretakers:
A Pocket Guide to Food Allergies for Grandparents - Written for Grandparents. Short and sweet.
 "Food Allergies for Dummies- Funny name, but comprehensive, and easy to read. My favorite!  - A fantastic online course on the signs of anaphylaxis & using Epipens.
Kids With Food Allergies - A great resource for parents and caregivers
FARE - Food Allergy Research and Education

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