10 Tips to cope easily with Food Allergies
By: Dana Al- Salah - Food Allergy Coach
Yes, there is no cure found yet for food allergies, however, there are specific measures and precautions that can be taken to lower the risks of food allergy attacks; like avoiding certain types of foods and ingredients and recognizing early symptoms of an allergic reaction.
And to make your life easier, there are lots of things you can do to stay safe and manage your food allergy like a pro. Here are 10 tips that you can easily follow:
- Always read food labels. Make sure you read food labels and ingredients each and every time you purchase a product, even if you have tried the food before, ingredients might change, and an allergen may be part of a new formulation.
- Hand sanitizers do not remove allergens, make sure you always wash your hands with warm and soapy water.
- Take care when cooking and remember that even a trace amount of an allergen may be enough to cause a reaction in some people. It’s a good idea to keep the special designated clean area for food preparation and a set of cooking and eating utensils exclusively for the food allergic person. Remember to wash hands and watch out for cross-contact.
- Cross-contact is when safe food comes in touch with unsafe food or an allergen, making it unsafe for a person with food allergy.
- Always carry your medication and most importantly your epinephrine auto-injectors - if you were prescribed for one along with your antihistamine, inhalers and others medication
- Make sure to always carry safe snacks wherever you go, you never know when you will need a bite and you are never sure you will find a safe one.
- Teach your food allergic children not to share food and to always ask their caregivers if the food was safe to eat before eating it.
- If you have one member of the family, who has a food allergy. Then you have to be careful and avoid cross-contamination. It's a good idea to have two sets of cooking and eating utensils — one exclusively for the allergic person — so that a knife used to prepare a peanut butter sandwich isn’t used later to spread butter on the toast of someone who's allergic to peanuts. You should wash all the utensils and cookware used with soapy water between uses.
- Plan your dining out thoroughly; let the chef know what are your allergic to and it won’t hurt if you give him/her a list/card of the ingredients you are allergic to. This is a common practice and you can customize a template of such a card on the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Web site, www.foodallergy.org. Fast food restaurants and coffee shops are no exception. Read labels and ask questions before deciding what to eat and drink.
- Make a list of steps to take should you accidentally eat the food you are allergic to and carry a printed copy of the plan with you.
Last advice is to always refer to your physician or a food allergy coach if you are not sure of the precautions you have to take to stay safe and to cope well with your food allergy.
Your health and wellbeing come first!