Anyone who suffers from food allergies knows all too well how difficult things can be when they go to a restaurant, travel, or attend any function where food may be involved. There are so many people involved in the process of food preparation and catering it can be impossible to inform every one of them about your food allergies, but that doesn’t mean you should have to limit yourself to eating only home cooked food. There are several things people can do to manage their food allergies, not only for their own safety, but also so they can live their life the way it was meant to be.
Read Labels For Potential Allergens
Many people who suffer food allergies already do this, especially if they’ve been plagued by a food allergy their entire lives. Before buying any food item, read any labels carefully so you know exactly what it contains. It is mandatory for manufacturers to list all ingredients in any packaged food.
Some food labels may be tricky however so to make doubly sure that you are not consuming anything dangerous, it is a good idea to first educate yourself about alternative names for the ingredients you are allergic to.
Don’t forget to check labels on cosmetics, lotions, and other self-care products, as some of these types of products may contain traces of allergens that may be derived from food-grade ingredients. This is especially true for those who want to try using more environmentally friendly products as well as those who may have known allergens to specific types of chemicals.
Growing your own foods is one of the best ways to combat severe food allergies. When you grow your own food, you already know where that food comes from and whether or not it is safe for you to consume.
Cross-contamination is a big reason why some people may not want to dine out as consistently or even as frequently as those with no food allergies. This is because cross-contamination in places like pubs and restaurants can be deadly for those with major food allergies. Though restaurants and pubs must be kept scrupulously clean, some cross-contamination may still happen.
If you are dining out for the evening, take a minute to inform the chef and staff about your allergy, and ask about the ingredients in the dish that you wish to order.
When cooking at home, one way to avoid cross contamination is by keeping your kitchen clean by scrubbing all flat surfaces with soap and water, and washing dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water with a hot-water rinse.
Keep Adrenaline Or Other Medication With You At All Times
If you’ve always lived with a food allergy, then you will already know it is advised to keep two adrenaline auto injectors with you at all times. If you take a different type of allergy medication or you are on different medications to counteract a potential allergic reaction, make sure you always have your medicines with you. This is especially true when travelling, when medication and doctors may be more difficult to contact or you may be told to wait until you return home for specific treatment.
Don’t be caught out without medication. Keep extra medicine on hand at all times.
Call Ahead When Necessary
If you are about to embark upon a holiday, or are travelling to a different city or country for business purposes, or if you want to try a new restaurant everyone is raving about, call ahead and discuss what types of food allergy preparation may be available so that you and the restaurant will know what to expect. If the place in question cannot meet your allergen-free needs, don’t be afraid to go elsewhere or even simply prepare your own food and snacks to ensure that you can avoid any type of allergic reaction while travelling.
As previously stated, make sure you have medication on hand and ready should an allergic reaction occur. No one wants to spend their evening out or their holiday in hospital because they failed to plan ahead. Make sure you are prepared for any type of allergy emergency.
Know Your Symptoms
If you experience itching, swelling, redness on your skin, or if you suddenly experience difficulty breathing from something you ate, that is a strong sign that you are having an allergic reaction. Get to a hospital and get medical attention immediately, and if you have your medication or an adrenaline pen on your person, use it. An anaphylactic shock can be fatal, but your reaction does not have to be that extreme to use your medicine to counteract the potential allergen.
If you have suffered an allergic reaction due to what you believe is somebody else’s negligence, such as incorrect labeling on a food item or inattentive restaurant staff then you may also have a case for claiming compensation. Advice on allergic reaction compensation claims can be found on this page.
Be Polite Yet Firm At Parties
Even with the best of intentions, some people may not be aware or may not understand your food allergy. You may find yourself in a situation where your host has gone to great lengths to prepare a special dish for you and may take offence if you refuse to eat it. The best way to handle this situation is by explaining to the host that you appreciate the effort but cannot take the risk because of your allergies. Most people are very understanding about this and will immediately apologise or offer an alternative that you are not allergic to.
If you are going out with friends or going on holiday with friends, let them know about your food allergy so everyone will not only be aware but can also help if an emergency occurs and you need medical attention.
Food allergies don’t have to hold you back or limit your life. As long as you prepare yourself through avoidance and careful planning, a food allergy should not prevent you from enjoy social events and dining out.