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Solo Sistah Travels: Allergic Reaction To Food - Now What?

Solo Sistah Travels: Allergic Reaction To Food - Now What?

Sistahs @ Sistah Safety

Welcome Sistahs!

Let's talk allergies. I had my worst allergic reaction in the most unexpected place, exploring the enchanting landscapes of Sicily, Italy. I made the mistake of thinking that I knew Italian food because I've had Italian food all my life in the states...I was wrong.

Take a trip down memory lane with me. The sun is warm, the streets are bustling with locals, and the aroma of delicious Sicilian cuisine fills the air. As an adventurous foodie, I couldn't resist trying a plate of arancini, a traditional Sicilian treat. Little did I know that this culinary adventure would take an unexpected turn, as I found myself experiencing an allergic reaction. This experience showed me how unprepared I was for a medical emergency.  And so I want to help you prepare if you find yourself in a similar situation. So what to do?

Trust your instincts and remain composed

As a solo female traveler, trusting your instincts is paramount. When faced with an allergic reaction, it's essential to stay calm and composed. Take a deep breath, assess your symptoms, and remind yourself that you have the strength and resilience to handle this situation.

Find a safe haven

Try to find a safe and familiar environment where you can think and address your allergic reaction. If you're staying in a hotel or hostel, go back so you can regain your a sense of security. Take the necessary time to assess your symptoms and decide on the next steps.

Reach out for assistance

In a foreign country, it's important to know you're not alone. Contact the hostel front desk or hotel concierge or Airbnb manager where you are staying and explain your situation. They can offer valuable assistance, provide information about nearby medical facilities or pharmacies, and guide you through local emergency services if needed.

Utilize technology and translation apps

Technology can be a solo female traveler's best friend, especially in unexpected situations. Use everything you have, your translation apps on your smartphone  to explain your allergies and symptoms effectively to locals or medical professionals. Translation earbuds can be a life saver here because trying to understand a language that is not yours in an emergency situation is tricky at best.These apps can bridge the language barrier and get you the help you need, fast and accurately.

Engage with fellow travelers and locals

One of the advantages of solo travel is the opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals and the local community. The key here is to seek the community before you arrive.  It's a bit of a crap shoot sometimes.  It's a real challenge trying to find a short term support group. So what's the answer?  Try to find one activity that requires you to interact with people at least a few times a week while you are traveling.  It can be a volunteer activity or a class (we love self defense classes), no matter what you choose, this is your support group that can provide advice, recommend reliable medical facilities, or even go with you to get medical assistance. Engaging with a group offers the double benefit of having people to socialize with and people who can offer a sense of comfort and reassurance should you have an emergency.

Carry an allergy identification card

Before your trip, if you have allergies, create a small allergy identification card in the local language of your destination. This card should clearly state your allergies and any emergency contact information. Carry multiple copies with you and present them when eating out or seeking medical help. It's an extra layer of precaution that can prove invaluable.

Research local emergency services and healthcare facilities

Before your trip, research the local emergency services and healthcare facilities available in your temporary residence. Knowing the contact numbers for emergency services or hospitals in advance can save precious time during a crisis. As always, we highly recommend getting travel insurance that covers medical emergencies - it can get costly depending on where you are.

Food travel journal

Keeping a journal of the food you are eating is one of the best ways to both chronicle your journey and keep track of what you ate and when you ate it.  That information becomes vital in an emergency situation, it's easier to hand over your food journal than to try to explain and remember everything.  This is different from your travel journal so you really aren't going to keep personal information in this journal, no need to worry about anyone reading more than they should. If you are really good, you will keep the name of the restaurant, location and how much you paid for your food.  Then you have more than memories, you have a personal cost comparison guide for you to compare to other restaurants and a chronicle of the journey into your stomach...just in case. 

The short version..

My solo sistahs, navigating unexpected situations like allergic reactions can be daunting. Remember to trust your instincts, stay composed, and get help from fellow travelers, locals, and hostel, hotel or Airbnb owner or staff. By using technology, carrying identification cards, and doing a good amount of medical assistance research beforehand, you will be well prepared for the unexpected. 

Remember, the world is waiting for you, and Sistah Safety is your trusted companion.

Safe Travels, Sistahs.

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The Sistahs at Sistah Safety