Copenhagen with allergies – planning a trip

I am going to Copenhagen as I’m attending the EAACI Allergy conference TOMORROW and so, I have been busy with the intricate planning which will enable me to travel there safely.

The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2014 (EAACI)

The European Academy of Allergy and
Clinical Immunology 2014 (EAACI)

More than 300 doctors and researchers from 40 different countries will attend the 33 edition of the annual congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) held in Copenhagen (Denmark) from the 7 – 11 of June. The attendees of the congress will discuss new advances in the field of allergy, an illness that affects more than 150 million people in Europe, which makes it the most common chronic disease.

I am really so excited. I have a shiny new journalist’s note pad and pen and questions at the ready. I cannot wait to meet all these amazing people, interview them and pick their brains about all the latest allergy research.

However the whole ‘going away to another country on my own’ thing is filling with such fear I’ve been having panic attacks.

Anaphylaxis - Fear of using auto-injector

#EAACI2014 – feeling trapped by allergies

Generally I don’t travel out of this country and we end up self catering or camping so that I have complete control of my food needs, but I realise also that I must be brave and learn how to communicate my VAST list of allergies and get over the intense shame and embarassment I feel about it. I HATE demanding things in restaurants, it makes me feel so ashamed and like I am being awkward and difficult, when all I want is a simple meal with no allergens.

Will restaurant staff speak good English? Will there be menus in English? Will I manage to order safely and communicate my allergies to the staff.

Or will they just spit in my food or not understand and make me ill?

I’m literally shaking with fear.

There are the obvious things like getting translation cards done. I need some more complex cards than the norm because I have so many allergies so I’m looking at getting my English one translated.

But all everyone is talking about is which restaurants ‘we’ will be eating in and all I want to do is scuttle back to my hotel room with some olives, humous, my Nairns oat cakes and hide. I am terrified. I hope I am brave enough to go to some places, to speak to them and to find some allergen friendly food. But I can’t plan yet as I know it will be fairly adhoc when we arrive. I have tried but where do you start in a huge city like Copenhagen?

Searching on google brings back nothing.

If you are thinking of visiting Copenhagen these websites, though in Danish, might help.

I have also discovered that there is an Allergy team at Copenhagen’s University Hospital so I will have their address in my handbag also, just in case I need to get to the right place FAST.

But I’m struggling to find any help. Having contacted both of the above organisations seeking any guidance I’ve heard nothing.

I must be strong. Stand my ground. Be Brave. And remember that even if I am too scared to eat out, there are supermarkets, I can eat fairly healthily on fresh fruit, veggies and my stash of BFree wraps, oat cakes etc.


Anyone out there with allergies who has been to Copenhagen? What should I expect?

You can follow my exploits on Twitter. Check out #eaaci2014 and watch the youtube video, about being trapped by allergies.

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About RuthS

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.


  1. You’re visiting what is labeled as the ‘happiest’ place on Earth. It is a place devoid of pretense and the only thing eschewed is someone out to impress. It is frowned upon.

    It is also home to the most famous of restaurants serving fresh and only local (seriously…he won’t serve anything he can’t grow or get in town) ingredients. Celebrities wait 6 months for a reservation. Being Europe, it is much more understanding and geared to allergies and devoid of many of the items known as ‘food’ in this country. It is also a home of healers…not doctors.

    Could you mail a box of your food ahead to the hotel?
    Maybe you could type an allergen card to show restaurant personnel. Use goodle translate to print in Danish.?? Copenhagen is a hippie hangout so there should be many avoiding the same allergens and places to buy. Any chance you’re flying on a Swiss Airline? They are the ones with the chemical sensitivity jets.

    I know the fear. It sucks. I hope you have a wonderful time enjoying fresh food in a lovely place.

    • Heath! Thanks so much for your comment. A seed of confidence is growing. I have my translation card, and an A4 sheet with the foods I cannot have. I have half my bag dedicated to safe food ;o) including oat cakes, small cartons of coconut milk, gluten and dairy free wraps, dairy and nut free chocolate, some safe muesli and some of my favourite dried apricots and dates. If I’m too scared to eat out I plan to visit some of the many interesting whole food health food shops. I will dine in style in my room paleo style. But maybe, just maybe, I might find somewhere safe to eat. This country is so hard though. More and more I am hearing the answer, “No, we can’t cater for you.” I am every chef’s nightmare as I’m allergic to so many things. Ashamed really. If I had a choice I would eat anything. I’m not fussy but unfortunately I end up in A&E or sick for a week depending on how much I’m exposed to. Not much fun. Wish me luck! I am so excited about seeing the city anyway and learning loads.

  2. Well guys, I’m back. I survived. I was so brave, I pushed my boundaries every day. I stepped right out of my comfort zone and felt the fear and it was OK. It was amazing. I ate out every night and tried stuff I would never have dared to try. My skin is a bit crap this morning and did flush a little while I was there but I was able to cover with my amazing origins cover up stuff. But amazingly I had NO hayfever while I was there while others were streaming and begging anti-histamines from me. It’s back now though. Welcome home Ruth! Nothing too bad, but I have a slight flare of redness on my cheeks. Perfect for the visit to the dermatologist tomorrow. You don’t want to look too good when you visit the specialist. Thanks to everyone who sent me texts, messages etc. and encouraged and supported me. It all helped. Thank you guys. Love you. Mwah Mwah.

  3. Awesome! Good for you!!! I love the moments when I own my health challenges rather than them owning me.

    Now, give it up. What’s this amazing origins stuff?

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