Monday, June 10, 2013

Beach Condo Trip with Multiple Food Allergies, Eczema and Asthma

Background: My daughter's allergic to cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, flax seed, mustard, peas, and she is sensitized to wheat, which we are currently avoiding, along with sesame, which we suspect as another allergen, but that has not been confirmed.  She also has eczema and asthma.

Last year, we made a family trip to the beach, and Eczema Blues was kind enough to ask me to do a guest post about our trip.  This year, we decided that we would try renting a condominium, instead of just a hotel room with a refrigerator.  We really loved the hotel we stayed at last year, as it's right on the beach, but having a full kitchen really suited our needs, much better.  In fact, it was cheaper than the hotel, since we were staying in the last month of the off-season!  Even though it's a great deal of work to pack enough food to cook for the whole trip, plus the fact that I had to cook all the meals for the trip, it was much better than the stress of having to still prep all her meals to take down to a restaurant, wipe down tables, worry about the foods they're serving, etc.  This way, we could eat in a more relaxed environment, at our leisure, and in our lounge clothes, if we so desired!

So, if you read my guest post, you'll see the standard load of things I pack for a trip, but here are some additional things I needed for this trip: (We stayed 3 nights - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and left on Sunday...) (Amazon affiliate links benefit FARE.)

  • Rice cooker - to cook rice and quinoa 
  • Allergy-safe dedicated cooking/eating items: mixing bowls, pans, silicone spatula, measuring cups/spoons, eating utensils, plates, cups...The room had them for us, but I wanted our daughter to have her own clean/safe items for her food/drink.
  • Sheets for the bed - I had been planning to buy an extra set of sheets for her bed at home, so I could swap them out for washing more frequently, so I bought them ahead of this trip, to lay over the top of the bed sheets. 
  • ...and, of course, food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks, for the three of us, plus one lunch with Grandma and Grandpa (I always cook too much food at lunch, so we had plenty and were SO happy they were able to come for a short visit!)
Things I forgot to pack, that I need to remember, for next time:
  • Sponge for cleaning allergy-safe dishes/utensils
  • Safe dishwashing soap (we use free & clear cleansers)
  • Safe hand cleanser (Cetaphil)
  • Scissors for opening food packages
  • Zipper bags for storing leftovers/open packages
  • Chip clips
If you have the option, reserve a unit with tile floors, to minimize the allergens that could get trapped in carpeting, which can aggravate eczema and asthma.  You might also consider using a product like the Vent Mask, though I totally forgot to bring ours with us - shucks!  When we arrived, I got out one of my ever-present packages of wipes and wiped down the usual touch-prone surfaces - counters, door knobs, chair arms, sink edges, toilet handle, refrigerator handle, etc.  Yes, I am just a wee bit obsessive, (which is funny, because I can  be so messy, at home), but this was not our place and I don't know about you, but I often imagine that people have just recently eaten a peanut butter sandwich, with a side of Cheetos and proceeded to wipe their hands on everything. :O

This trip was our best one, yet, and I was so very happy.  We didn't have any incidents, other than one random hive on the first night, that was quelled with a dose of Allegra.  Beyond that, she didn't have any asthma or eczema issues, which was fanstastic!  I hope some of these tips help you all and if you have any additional tips to share, I'd love to read them.  Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

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