May has arrived, and it marks the beginning of Food Allergy Awareness Month. Organized by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), its aim is to help people learn about food allergies, acknowledge challenges faced by the food allergy community, and connect people with allergies together. Food allergies can be difficult to manage, but if you take the right precautions, you can still eat well and enjoyably. Here are some things you should know about eating with a food allergy during Food Allergy Awareness Month and throughout the rest of the year.
Talk to Restaurant Staff Before Eating Out
Going out to eat at a restaurant is exciting for many people, but if you have food allergies, it may be accompanied with anxiety and fear. Make sure that the staff knows about your allergy before you start eating. You can also request to talk to the chef or give the kitchen staff an allergy card. When your meal arrives, speak up if something doesn’t look or smell right; it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be sure the people you’re dining with know what to do if you begin having an allergic reaction and know that you have epinephrine on you just in case.
Carry an Allergy Card
If you are eating out or traveling, carrying an allergy card with you can help alert the people around of your allergy and what to do in an emergency.
Your allergy card should include:
- List of allergens
- Specify which allergies are life-threatening
- Emergency contact information
- Should include parent/spouse/friend and doctor
- Suggestions regarding cross-contamination
- Example: recommendation that utensils and kitchen equipment be cleaned
- Instructions for what to do in an emergency situation
If you are traveling in a foreign country, carry an allergy card in native language of the country you’re traveling in as well as your initial card.
Do What Makes You Comfortable
Whether you were recently diagnosed with a food allergy or you have been living with your diagnosis for years, you may feel pressure to compare yourself to other people with food allergies or people who don’t have allergies. Two people can have an allergy to the same food but have different experiences, parameters, and reactions to it. Don’t make changes to your diet or lifestyle that you don’t feel comfortable making. Remember that being safe and thorough can be lifesaving if you have a food allergy. If you have any questions or concerns about the progression of your allergy and how to accommodate it, talk to your allergist.
Do you have a food allergy or suspect you may have one? Talk to Langford Allergy.
Dr. Langford and our team will conduct an informative allergy test to determine if your reaction is an intolerance or allergy. Based on the results, we’ll begin a treatment plan to help you manage your diagnosis. Schedule an appointment or call our office to learn more: 478-787-4728