It is estimated that upwards of 15 million Americans have food allergies. This number continues to increase every year for unknown reasons. Some of the more common food allergies that affect people are peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten, fish and shellfish, and fruits and berries.
Following these guidelines can help with preventing an allergic reaction to certain foods.
- 1 Avoid food made of or containing ingredients you may be allergic to.
- 2 Read all labels carefully before consuming the product to avoid common allergens.
- 3 Companies are not required to label packages with “may contain” warnings – so only purchase processed food products that are clearly labelled.
- 4 Avoid “high-risk” food establishments that use ingredients you may be allergic to (e.g., Chinese and Thai restaurants usually have peanuts).
- 5 Always have an epinephrine auto-injector (“epi-pen”) in case of emergency, and two for children.
- 6 Educate family, friends, and caregivers about any food allergies you or your child may have.
- 7 Set up a food allergy emergency care plan with schools and educate them on what they need to do if there is a reaction.
- 8 Avoid contaminating “safe” foods – always use clean utensils and wash your hands after touching different foods.
- 9 Educate your child on foods to avoid and what to do if they find themselves having an allergic reaction.
- 10 Consider having your child wear a medical alert bracelet if they do have severe food allergies.
- Become familiar with the allergen and what kinds of foods they are found in.
- Learn to read and decipher food labels for hidden allergens.
- Obtain epinephrine auto-injectors and keep them near at all times.
- Create a food allergy emergency care plan for your children for when they aren’t in your care.
- Invest in a medical alert bracelet for severe food allergies.