Having EoE and going on a trip may be scary for some patients, above all if the destination is a non developed country and if the patient’s diet is very restrictive. It is common to think that there will more difficulties following the diet.
One of the main barriers when travelling comes from the fact that travelling means to experience a new culture, and culture includes local food. For example, if an EoE patient can’t eat rice, soya and wheat, he or she may think that a trip to Asia Pacific is worthless given that there won’t be many options available.
Another worry derives from the fear of suffering some of the symptoms while travelling. The patients feel safe visiting their doctors, experts in EoE, who know their medical history and what needs to be done should an episode occur. For patients with EoE it is normal to feel, in some way, insecure when they are abroad because maybe the medical community in that country doesn’t know well the EoE and its implications, and also because of the difficulties to communicate in a language that they don’t speak.
Some tips for travelling:
-. For long flights, always pack your own food avoiding liquids (as they are not permitted on the plane cabin). More and more airlines operating the longer flights are developing an extended menu. They have included specialized options such as low carbs, low salt, no sugar or gluten free. It is important to note that it is not always guaranteed that these menus are free of the allergen/s the patients are sensible to.
-. Conduct research about your destination prior to your trip: try to find bio stores as they usually have different kind of cereals, milks, gluten free products and also products free of certain allergens like egg, soya.. etc. Also try to look at the menu of some of the restaurants on the city/cities you will be visiting and you can even drop them an email in advance if you have any doubts.
-. Pack your own food when out and about during your stay. Cereals, cookies, bread, milk may be helpful on some occasions. For example if your trip requires outdoors activities and you can’t eat wheat, take your own bread with you in order to make sandwiches.
-. Ask your doctor for the prescription of a drug that can help you with the symptoms in case you ingest something that you cannot.
-. Above all, do not think your EoE limits your ability to travel, it is true some considerations must be taken, however it shouldn’t impact you ability to have a great time!!!