Food allergies can be very difficult to deal with. While for some food allergies can simply be a bother, for many others, this condition is deadly. Constantly avoiding foods in fear of anaphylactic shock can be psychologically draining as well. But there are plenty of things you can do to mange potentially severe food allergies. Here are some tips:
Demand Ingredient Lists When Dining Out
There’s nothing more difficult for people with a food allergy than dining out. If you are concerned about a menu item, as a customer you have the right to ask what’s in the food. Several restaurants now actually offer common allergy information. There’s nothing embarrassing about asking if an allergen is present in a dish. You should carry a chef card when you dine out. A chef card is a simple note specifying allergies and saying that the meal should not come into contact with that allergen during preparation. You can carry a chef card into fast food restaurants too. It’s in everyone’s—yours and the business’s—best interest.
Get Self-Tested for Allergens
Get yourself a food allergy testing kit to find out which unknown substances you may be allergic to. If you are allergic to peanuts, there’s a chance that you may be allergic to macadamia nuts as well. These tests are good for testing food intolerance. Intolerance of certain food items can lead to issues such as bloating and constipation. Instead of going for a trial and error effort that could go very wrong, get yourself tested.
Don’t Ignore the Listed Ingredients in Label
When you are out grocery shopping, don’t just read the front of a label. Detailed ingredient lists are often found on the back. If you have chronic food allergy issues, go through this ingredients list to find out if there are any food items you could be allergic to. Allergy information on food labels often only lists common allergens like nuts. Lesser known allergens may not be listed, so it’s important to check the ingredients list on the label every time you buy a new product.
Avoid Cross-Contamination When Cooking
Not everyone in the household may have food allergies or intolerance. Therefore, when cooking, the person with the allergy or intolerance must be careful to avoid cross contamination. For example, a knife used to spread peanut butter on a slice of bread shouldn’t be used again to slather jam on a muffin served to the person with the peanut allergy. Try to use separate utensils and keep allergy-causing items separately.
Get a Medical ID Bracelet
A medical ID bracelet can help people with food allergies inform healthcare professionals and others regarding potential allergens.
Try to Make Your Own Meals
Instead of risking an intolerance reaction or an allergic reaction eating out, try to make your own meals at home. This way you can always avoid the allergens and ingredients that may cause you a stomach upset.
Last but not least, don’t forget to carry your emergency medication with you, especially when dining out. Keep spares at home, work, and in your purse, bag, or wallet. It’s also best to carry antihistamines as well.