Living with food allergies can be overwhelming and sometimes frightening. The effects of a reaction can range from mildly annoying to deadly. If you or your children have food allergies, then you know that it can be a full time job to keep safe. I have found the following five things really help when navigating food allergies.
**Nothing in the following post should be taken as medical advice. Please always consult a doctor if you have questions about managing food allergies**
- Always read labels carefully. Food labels include important allergy information, but it is not always have to find. Sometimes the information about allergens processed in the same facility as the product are listed in much smaller print than the ingredients. Make it a practice to read every label every time you purchase a product. Manufacturers regularly change ingredients and an allergen may be added at any time!
- Separate safe and unsafe foods. This one is super important if it is your child who has the food allergy and they are old enough to grab their own snacks or meals. Assign areas of your cabinets and fridge for allergy friendly foods and for the unsafe foods so that no one accidently grabs an unsafe food when they are in a hurry.
- Prepare an emergency plan. If you or your child have a life-threatening food allergy, people who regularly interact with you or your child (including teachers and school staff) should have a basic understanding of what to do in case of a severe allergic reaction. Because people can panic in an emergency, it is best to have allergies, medications, emergency contacts, and any other important information in writing. Your doctor may write you one, but if not, you can do it yourself!
- Keep your guard up while dining out. Dining out with allergies can be tricky, because unlike at home, things are out of your control. Always let your server know about your allergy! You may also want to talk to a manager or someone from the kitchen. Specifically ask that your food be prepared away from your allergen. Most places will let you know if they can not do this. Some resturants will have a detailed notebook in the back that lists ingredients and nutritional information, but if the resturant you are eating at does not, do not be afraid to ask detailed questions!
- Always carry your medication. This one sounds easier than it actually is. Do not forget to have your EpiPen and Benidryl in something that you carry everywhere! If you can, carry two doses just in case!
We would love to hear from you? Do you have any tips for living with food allergies? Do you have a favorite resturant to eat at that goes above and beyond?