With Halloween under our belts, the holiday season has officially started in Baton Rouge. It’s a time for jolly and joy, but if you struggle with celiac sprue, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, or another disease of the digestive system, it’s also a time for careful planning. Check out these gastroenterologist-approved tips for managing your digestive disorder this holiday season.
Plan your route and accommodations per your digestive condition: First and foremost, do your best to travel when your condition is stable. If it isn’t possible to plan your trip this way, travel a route you are familiar with. Taking the time to learn the rest stops, en route medical facilities, and friendly food options will save you time and prevent undue discomfort and gastric distress.
Check your medications: If you’re traveling frequently during holiday season, it’s important that you have sufficient medication to see your digestive system through the parties and gatherings. Make sure to carry your prescription medications in their original bottles to avoid confusion or security concerns. If you are traveling to a place where you cannot easily refill your medication, speak with your gastroenterologist about extending your prescription. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU RUN OUT. Please call ahead and provide adequate time for your doctor’s office to get the refill and your pharmacy to get it ready for you. If you haven’t seen the doctor in a while, they may need to see you before giving a refill, so plan well in advance for such situations.
Know your local healthcare options: In case of an emergency, make sure you’re familiar with the local healthcare options available to you during the holiday season. In addition, consider carrying contact information from your regular doctor.
Lend a knowledgeable helping hand: If you’re uncomfortable asking your host to accommodate your dietary restrictions, consider preparing or bringing food you know will meet your needs. In a home kitchen, cross-contamination can happen easily, so think about lending a knowledgeable and helpful hand by offering to contribute to the smorgasbord.
Be candid with your host: Every host wants their guests to have an enjoyable time, but they can only accommodate the dietary restrictions they know about. Whether it’s celiac sprue, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or another digestive disorder, you know how important it is to avoid your triggers. Let your host know that a good way to prevent cross-contamination at a potluck or many-dish meal is to allow those with digestive disorders, allergies, or sensitivities to serve first, so that utensils will not be misused or misplaced.
The holidays should be a time of gathering and good cheer. By following these tips and consulting with your gastroenterologist, you can focus your energy on enjoying the company of your loved ones. Now that’s something to be thankful for.