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.
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.
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.