When traveling with food allergies to Rio de Janeiro you have to pack your essentials, including epinephrine, research your dining options in advance, and have a “chef card” on you. Being smart about what you eat will prevent any dangerous incidents and make your trip much more enjoyable.
5 Tips To Stay Safe
1. Take Some Epinephrine And An Emergency Kit With You
You cannot buy epinephrine auto-injectors in Brazil. Therefore, if you have need of this emergency medication, be sure to pack several injectors. You can put them in your carry-on when traveling on a plane. However, you should have your prescription translated in Portuguese and might be asked to show the medication’s label.
If your allergy is serious, you need to take multiple copies of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan and Travel Plan of the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Alliance. The latter will be used for “official” situations where you need to prove that you have food allergies and require medications. The Travel Plan should be filled out by your doctor.
The Emergency Care Plan is a set of instructions you should have on you at all times and give copies to the hotel staff as well as your friends/family/travel companions. Discuss the plan with them beforehand to show how exactly they should help you in case of an emergency.
Above all else, do not forget to take epinephrine auto-injectors no matter where you go. Delaying the administration of this medication might lead to death.
2. Find Out Where The Closest Hospitals Are
You can look up the list of hospitals around you hotel online as well as ask the guide when taking a city tour in Rio de Janeiro. You can dial 1-9-2 in order to connect to a public hospital in Brazil. Be sure to add this information to your Emergency Care Plan.
You can also include contact information for one or several private clinics in the area. In case you have any health concerns aside from traveling with food allergies, it will be best to contact those clinics before you arrive and ensure they can provide the care you might need in an emergency.
3. Learn To Read Brazilian Food Labels
All people who travel with food allergies to Rio de Janeiro are in luck as Brazilian legislation requires all packaged foods to have clearly visible allergen warnings on their labels. Note that the rules demand identifying only 18 most common allergens (soybeans, nuts, dairy, etc.) and only foods manufactured after July 3, 2016 must have the warnings on the label.
The rules do not apply to foods from bars and restaurants, as well as hygiene products, drugs, and foods that are broken into portions and re-sold.
4. Prepare A Chef Card
The best thing to do when traveling with food allergies to Rio de Janeiro is to research restaurants and cafes beforehand and compile a list of foods you should avoid. However, even if you do this, have a chef card on you in Portuguese. It is best to have a few copies in case you lose one.
Show this card to the waiter and restaurant manager in order to help them understand exactly which foods you must avoid. In case you do not speak Portuguese at all, look up the right way to say you are allergic to something here and here.
5. Pack Your Own Food
In case your allergies are really bad or you have to adhere to a strict diet for some other reason, consider taking non-perishable foods and snacks with you. In addition, stay in a hotel/hostel that offers you the use of a kitchen. This way, you will not have trouble cooking your own meals to reduce risks.