20. April 2016
Daily Life with a Peanut Allergy – One Father Reports (part 4)

Part 4: family vacations

There is now a lot of information about allergies and their symptoms that allergy sufferers and their families can obtain from websites, leaflets, and by talking to their doctors. Usually only the families of children with allergies know what daily life with allergies is like. In our five-part series, we interview a father in Berlin with a severely allergic child, provide insights, promote understanding, give encouragement, and reveal ways to cope in everyday life. We spoke to Christian, 41, about the challenges presented by his son Luis’ severe peanut allergy and how the family is dealing with it. The allergy was identified when he was four years old, and the boy is now nine. Christian told us about the family’s vacations and what they need to do to get ready.

Family vacations with a peanut allergy

Luis’ allergy must also be taken into account whenever the family goes on vacation. Although the family does not feel restricted in their vacation planning, “certain things are simply not worth considering, because it would all be too complicated”, says Christian dismissively. A vacation at a resort would be out of the question. It would take too much time to inspect the buffet at every mealtime. “In the end, we would have to do the cooking ourselves so that Luis could have his own food.”

It is much easier to spend their vacation in a holiday home. The family then goes shopping wherever they are staying. They do not have to take any special foods from home for Luis. They are limited in their choice of destination by the local language. “We speak very good English and French, and can get by pretty well in Italian and Spanish. In these countries, we have no problem reading and understanding the ingredients list on the packaging.”
They are going to France on their next vacation. In a holiday home, and by car. “The car is practical for us because we can also take kitchen utensils and quite a few other useful items with us. But we wouldn’t have a problem flying the short distance to Paris either.” The family does not go on long flights. For one thing, they would have to make sure that snacks such as peanut puffs would not be handed out on board. Luis has a reaction to them even when they are simply nearby. Then there is also the element of risk in not knowing what the other passengers are bringing on board.

We thank Christian for this interview. He spoke with Matthias Colli and Johanna Rupp from ECARF.

Next part:
– Peanut allergy and parental stress