Talking Allergies

Travel overseas with shellfish allergies?
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Author:  NoSea4Me [ Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Travel overseas with shellfish allergies?

Hi folks, I am anaphylactic to shellfish - diagnosed 1 month ago, and I am learning how to live with a shellfish allergy. My husband and I love to travel, but I am nervous about going overseas. Can anyone give me hints, tips, share their experiences? I am interested particularly in going back to Paris or to Japan, but I'm afraid to be in an environment where shellfish is so prolific and english is not the primary language. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Author:  Triliam [ Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:42 pm ]
Post subject: 


My son is allergic to fish and shellfish.

My brother in law is living in Singapore and my husband thought it would be a great opportunity to travel there. It stressed me alot. We asked his brother his opinion on whether it would be a good idea to come or not and he discouraged us from coming.

He said because of the language barrier it could be almost impossible to properly communicate our needs to the kitchen staff. Apparently the Singaporeans want very much to please and will agree and nod to whatever you are saying whether they understand completely or not. He said it happened to them often that they would order one thing on the menu and be brought something completely different.

I think it may be possible if you travel with someone who knows the language and can serve as translator or have access to a kitchen where you can be in charge or most of your food.

We have successfully travelled to Mexico by avoiding seafood restaurants and sticking to basics. He is a child so that was easy enough!!

I do believe that where there is a will there is a way. It just may require a whole lot more planning and organizing on your part!!

Good luck


Author:  NoSea4Me [ Wed Jun 20, 2007 3:29 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Denise for your input. Can I ask how things went in Mexico? We have travelled to Cancun in the past. Did your son go to the beach? In the water? etc. I would love to go back, but I'm still trying to find my bearings on what I can and cannot do.

Thanks again

Author:  Triliam [ Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hello again,

We went to Cancun and he did swim in the ocean. We also have a cottage where we spend alot of time in the summer and he swims in the lake safely. Another brother in law is also allergic to fish and he swims safely in lakes and oceans as well.

I don't know if that is a problem for some people but our allergist assured us that it should be o.k. and for now it has been.

I'm not sure how to advise you because everyone always seems to be different and react in different ways.

Good luck


Author:  notfishy [ Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:05 pm ]
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We have been to foreign countries - I have a very severe allergy. I take a note with me written in the language of the country I am visiting. If i can't find anyone before i go, I get someone from the hotel to write it - they always have someone who can speak English. I use the words - I might die - and it seems to get lots of attention. I always have granola bars in my purse for those times when I am just not sure.

Author:  bnanny [ Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:00 am ]
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please don't let your allergies run your life!
i have a severe ana allergy to shellfish, I have been to MANY countries in my short life (21) I just avoid shellfish, get a note in the specific language and always make sure I have my epi-pen with me and someone with me knows how to use it.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:12 pm ]
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I have multiple allergies and am anaphylactic to shellfish.

For me, Japan would be difficult - mostly because of the language barrier, and my soy allergy. I've travelled to Paris and extensively through France and, to lesser degree, in Portugal, Spain and Italy.

In France, I've found no difficulty explaining the shellfish issue, even on the Mediterranean, where there is a lot of seafood. Whereever possible, we do what Scott McKenzie has advised as Allergic Living's travel guru, though - we stay in places with a small kitchen so we can buy our own groceries for much of the trip.

In places where such accommodations aren't readily available, I just buy groceries that can be eaten cold. European labelling is very good. In many good, small French restaurants, you can also speak directly to the chef/cook.

Allergists tell the shellfish allergic not to worry about swimming. There are just no reports of such reactions - and there would be if it was a problem given the numbers of people with this common allergy. Maybe if you swam over a shrimp breeding ground and swallowed the water. But short of that, the water in the ocean is very diluted, so it's not supposed to be a problem.

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