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Preparation Can Help Kids With Nut Allergies Travel Safely

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children with nut allergies need to take special precautions if they're traveling during the holiday season, an expert warns.

"The best thing to do is plan ahead. Though you can't plan for everything, being prepared will help keep your child safe and limit your holiday stress," Dr. Sean Cahill, an associate professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a Loyola news release.

One of the most important things is to keep your child's hands -- and surfaces that your child touches -- as clean as possible, he said. An allergic reaction can occur when children touch a surface that's been exposed to nuts and then places their hand(s) in their mouth.

Cahill offered the following general travel tips:

  • Packing snacks will ensure you have safe food for your child.
  • Make sure you know how restaurant food is prepared. For example, some fast-food restaurants cook their food in peanut oil.
  • In case of an emergency, have an EpiPen and antihistamine medications with you at all times.

Cahill also noted that peanuts are a common airline snack and aircraft seats often contain traces of nuts. He advised parents to use sanitizing wipes to clean all solid surfaces, including arm rests and tray tables.

Dress children in a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, to limit the amount of nut residue that comes into contact with their skin.

And remember to bring a note from your doctor so that your EpiPen doesn't cause you trouble with airport security, he added.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about food allergy.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, Nov. 22, 2010

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