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When Ollie was first diagnosed with food allergies, I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t want to leave the house unless we brought half of it with us. There were too many “what if’s” and “just in case’s” to prepare for. That meant lugging around a lot of stuff. Over time, I’ve pared our go-to food allergy emergency kit (aka. med bag) down to a reasonable amount of essentials I’m comfortable with.
the med bag bag
First, the bag itself. We use a Thirty One Cool Clip Thermal. The bag’s carabineer means it can easily be carried on its own with keys attached. My wallet has a strap on it too so now that we’re past the diaper bag phase, I can just bring the med bag with a few necessities attached. Always good to have a hand free to hold your toddler!
If our med bag is in a larger bag, I clip it to one of the bag’s inside straps so it never gets buried. I don’t want to waste any time digging in the event of an allergic reaction. The other great thing about this bag is it’s thermal. Epinephrine is temperature sensitive and should be kept between 68 and 77 degrees F. This bag gives me peace of mind that our EpiPens are at a safe temperature.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit we once lost our med bag while running errands and had to call every place we’d been to find it (they didn’t open the bag to see our information on the emergency plan). After this, I put our last name and phone number on the bottom of the bag in permanent marker.
inside our food allergy emergency kit: the meds
Inside, one of the most obvious items is epinephrine. We actually have EpiPen Juniors and Auvi-Qs. If you haven’t seen an Auvi-Q, check out their affordability program. We received two free this way! Some relatives feel more comfortable with the Auvi-Q as it talks you through the process. I like that a non-trained person could figure out administering it in the case of an allergic reaction.
Most educators are trained in EpiPens so we have those too. Thanks to these coupons, ours were NOT outrageously expensive this year. We use an EpiPen case from Mylan. It doesn’t look like they’re offering them for free anymore, but you can get similar cases from Allermates. The cases are thermal and add another layer of temperature protection for the epinephrine. The EpiPens and Auvi-Q fit together in one of our Mylan cases.
Make sure there is a copy of your emergency plan in the med bag. This should include everything your child is allergic to, allergic reaction symptoms, what to do in the case of an allergic reaction, and a number of emergency contacts. I like this one from FARE; it gives information on what constitutes an anaphylactic reaction and requires immediate use of epinephrine.
We keep Dye Free Children’s Benadryl in our med-bag, as well as Ollie’s prescription cetirizine (children’s Zyrtec). There have been a few instances of concentrated hives where a dose of an oral antihistamine did the trick. Don’t forget to keep a few sealed syringes in there too! Most pharmacies give you them for free.
If your child has asthma, an inhaler and nebulizer fit in the Cool Clip Thermal bag. It gets a little bit crowded but it works. Ollie was diagnosed with cough variant asthma. It is important to note that asthma might cause a more severe anaphylactic reaction, which the FARE emergency plan above highlights.
If your child has eczema, lotion should be in your bag. I swear Ollie’s skin goes from perfect to red and angry in a matter of seconds, for no apparent reason. I cover this fun in an eczema specific post. We use Pure Haven’s Dream Cream or Lotion as a non-toxic everyday lotion. I put some in a travel container for our bag.
inside our food allergy emergency kit: the extras
I ALWAYS make sure there are a few snacks in the bag. Some of my easy go-to options are applesauce pouches, fig bars, and fruit leather. You never know if you’re going to be somewhere when a treat is offered. Keep a few special snacks so your child never has to feel left out or hangry, as that ruins things for everyone!
Last thing in our med-bag: a toy. If you need to fit an inhaler in there, the bag is quite full. I squeeze a matchbox car and a mini book. We’ve encountered a few doctors office toys covered in food crumbs, so this way I always have some safe entertainment options, even at a last minute appointment.
When Ollie was younger and teething, you’d often find a teething ring and teething oil in there as well. Thankfully we’re past that stage now. I go back and forth on whether or not this little thermometer travels with us. When he was little, I liked to have it. Now that he’s older, it only comes with if we’re going on an overnight trip. A tiny first aid kit also travels with us on overnight trips. Given the bumps and bruises my not-so-coordinated toddler often sustains, I will probably start carrying the basics all the time: band-aids and a boo boo stick.
what would you add?
Hopefully, this gives you a few helpful ideas and more confidence to be out and about. Anything else you’d add to your food allergy emergency kit? Please let me know!