Data presented at this year’s AAAAI Annual Meeting shows 98% of survey participants reported increased anxiety while traveling due to food allergies.
The study, presented by Christopher Warren, PhD, lead investigator and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, surveyed over 4,700 individuals or their caretakers about managing their risk of anaphylaxis during air travel.
Aside from participants reporting receiving inconsistent guidance regarding booking, security, and boarding, a surprising one-third of individuals intentionally avoided disclosing their allergies while traveling.
The most common reason people reported not disclosing is because they were afraid they would get in trouble or have some sort of an unwanted accommodation that they viewed as unhelpful and that’s obviously worrisome for a lot of reasons.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction to a food, drug, insect venom, or environmental substance. Without prior knowledge of a traveler’s food allergy, anaphylaxis can be mistaken for any number of health issues resulting in a delay in the administration of epinephrine. Epinephrine is the only drug that can halt and reverse the progression of anaphylaxis and delay in the administration of the drug results in poorer outcomes.
Also, a lot of these cases were parents reporting on behalf of children, and you’d hate for parents to model that behavior for children where — given the situation — “it’s easier to just fly under the radar and deal with this ourselves”. You want to be empowering children to be proactive and managing their medical condition in the healthiest, safest possible way.
Do you disclose your food allergies or those of your child to the airline before flying? Let us know why or why not in the comments section.