Oh field trips… a student’s opportunity to escape the mundane everyday classroom routine if even just for an afternoon or the day. However, for those of us with allergies these mini-escapes aren’t always as simple and involve some extra planning and coordination to make sure we stay allergy safe— after all who wants to miss out on that riveting museum exhibit!
Even though my field trip days are sadly behind me as I am now full on into post-secondary education, I still remember the extra work it took to stay safe on school trips. My biggest concern was making sure I had safe foods to eat (who wants to go hungry…am I right!?) while also making sure that those around me, whether they be classmates, teachers or those running the trip were made aware of my allergies. I found organization and communication to be key when attending school trips. My school had a specific procedure set up that required the same protocol to be taken for every school trip I attended. This involved both my teacher as well as myself to carry a set of my medication on the trip. This worked well however, I can’t stress enough that there are a lot of students who are attending one school trip. For me, it was a must to talk to my teacher well before the actual field trip to remind them of my allergies, the protocol to be followed and also to figure out other details about the trip.
The most important thing I needed to sort out before a school trip was what the food situation of the trip would be like. I.e. How many meal opportunities would there be on this trip, and whether these meals were being provided to us or we were responsible for providing our own meals. If meals were being provided for us, then it would be necessary to contact whoever was providing the food and make sure they were aware of my allergies and see if they would be able to safely accommodate my allergies. Many times this would be the case but there were always times when I would play it safe and bring my own food instead. Throughout my schooling I was very fortunate and went to an accommodating school. They always requested that if lunches and snacks were to be brought on school trips that they had to be nut free. However because I and other students had multiple allergies, it was very important to stick to our own food and avoid sharing. It’s never worth the risk no matter how tempting a lunch ‘tradsies’ may seem.
When it comes to overnight trips even more planning needs to go into food preparation. I would always have lots of extra food stashed in my luggage just in case. Rice Krispie squares had always been my favourite go-to snack. However don’t just rely on yourself, make sure you make contact with whoever will be providing meals and make sure they can accommodate allergies. I also found whenever I went on an overnight field trip where I would be away from my teacher as some points, I would designate a close friend as an ‘allergy buddy’ who carried another one of my auto injectors and who also was trained in how to use it.
Though going on field trips with allergies requires some extra planning and vigilance to make sure you stay safe, there’s no reason why you can’t get as much out of that exciting escape from classroom life as anyone else!
What have been your favourite school trips, and how did you stay allergy safe when attending them?