The holiday season and good food go hand-in-hand, but for anyone with a food allergy, dining can be fraught with danger. If you rely on milk, egg, peanut or tree nut treatments to prevent risk, the traditional holiday dining experience might be a source of unwanted stress. With that in mind, we have some of our favorite food allergy tips to help Atlanta families enjoy delicious food without the worry of an allergic reaction.
Holiday Dining Tips for People With Food Allergies
Preparation and communication are at the heart of safe holiday dining. Let’s look at how to stay safe without sacrificing the best aspects of the holidays.
Communicate Your Allergy Needs
If you’re visiting relatives or friends during the holidays, make sure to communicate your allergy needs. Parents of kids with allergies should also discuss any risks in advance. Most people know at least one person with a food allergy and are usually happy to accommodate individual needs.
Carry Allergy Medication
Keeping any allergy medication close by is crucial for tackling the onset of symptoms. An epinephrine auto-injector is particularly important in the event of a severe allergic reaction. While anaphylaxis is relatively rare, fast action is vital for treating severe breathing difficulties caused by a food allergy.
Watch Out for Cross-Contamination
Understanding how to avoid food allergy mix-ups at holiday dinner parties can prevent accidental exposure to allergens. Cross-contamination might be the biggest danger during dinner parties as many dishes are prepared in a small area. However, with a plan to separate and clean utensils, pans and preparation areas, risks can be reduced.
Bring an Allergy-Free Dish
If you or your child is dining away from the home, consider preparing an allergy-free dish. Creating a safe meal takes the pressure off the host and still allows a person with allergies to join in with the fun.
Stay Vigilant for Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms usually occur within minutes after eating food, with signs including breathing difficulties, itching, a runny nose, skin hives and stomach issues.
Check Ingredient Labels
Ingredient labels should clearly identify allergens, including traces of peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and other examples. Make sure to check the packaging while shopping and before cooking.
Speak to an Allergist About Testing
To stay safe from food allergies during the holidays, you need precise information about the allergen. Your allergist can provide increased clarity through allergy testing and an analysis of the relevant medical records. If necessary, allergists may also recommend medication or even oral immunotherapy treatment to prevent severe reactions for some allergies.
Contact Atlanta’s Trusted Food Allergy Treatment Center
If you are concerned about food allergies during the holiday season or throughout the year, Dr. Chacko is here to help. Our allergy centers in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek offer expert allergy testing and treatment. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment now.
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