Managing Food Allergies Over the Holidays
Holiday season is a time to be merry, but for people with food allergies, you also have to be prepared for anything. The fact is that when you cook meals at home, you know exactly what foods you need to avoid and you can take complete control. But when you go to holiday parties, you're facing a host of complete unknowns.
This is because it can be challenging to identify exactly what people used to make their appetizers, drinks and foods. Further, even when you aren't allergic to the ingredients in an item, you'll also need to worry about cross-contamination existing. The reality is that the chef could've been preparing something else that you're allergic to at the same time, and the trace particles that come from contact with utensils and baking sheets could exist even in foods that'd otherwise have been safe.
If your allergies are severe, even this most miniscule exposure can cause a life threatening reaction to occur.
Common Food Allergies
While these facts are certainly cause for some serious concern, you don't have to forego the social scene this year. The most important step in keeping yourself safe no matter where you go is to know exactly what common food allergies exist. Please review the list of these common ingredients you may need to avoid below, since these are the basic things contained in many holiday treats and foods.
- Tree Nuts
The best way to protect yourself is to be on guard throughout any social events you attend. But there're also some easy things you can do to take charge and greatly minimize your risks.
- If possible, alert the host to your allergy concerns and ask lots of questions about what foods contain and how they're prepared.
- Never take chances if any potential exists that foods could have even miniscule amounts of a food that could make you sick.
- Bring your own foods for the group that'll be sure to be safe for you to eat. Also bring your serving utensils and watch the plate to be sure it doesn't come into contact with anything that could cause a reaction.
- Be prepared with an Epi-pen in case the worst does happen despite your best attempts to keep yourself safe.
- Recognize the early signs of a food allergy (such as itchiness, hives, trouble breathing, swelling throat, stomach distress and drop in blood pressure) so you can respond right away.
- Also alert your friends and family about the situation and what to do if you should get into danger.
While many of the most popular holiday meals and treats do contain items that can cause common food allergies to flare, the good news is that there're many easy substitutions you can make to popular recipes in order to have tasty and safe things to eat this season. For ideas on allergy-safe holiday recipes and ingredient substitutions, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) website atwww.aaaai.org/patients/specialfeature/recipes.stm.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)
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