With an estimated 15 million Americans suffering from food allergies, many consumers may wonder what steps can be taken to manage the more than 170 foods which have been reported to cause allergic interactions. Although food allergies are most typically reported in children, adults also face numerous food allergy issues- coping with allergies does not have to be a stress-filled journey, here are five tips from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (read more) to help manage a food allergy lifestyle.
Communicate food allergy needs with all contacts possible– Ensure that friends and family are aware of the food allergy- this is a proactive way of ensuring social occasions run smoothly, especially when friends or loved ones are preparing food for the event attended. Ask the prescribing doctor to fill out a scheduled medical plan for emergency dosage amounts if needed, prepared forms are available online- download, print out and ask the prescribing provider to complete.
Prepare and make necessary arrangements if planning to dine in public– Call ahead, prevention is an effective cure. Contact the culinary establishment ahead of time and requesting specific items or accommodation, this is a crucial step to avoiding possible public contamination.
Create kitchen quality control guidelines– For the purposes of sanitation and cross-contamination issues, when cooking or preparing food, utensils, and all surface food preparation areas must be clean and separated, as noted by the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Using colored stickers to identify tools and cutting boards will help household members keep track, prevent possible confusion and streamlines the kitchen area for users and guests.
Study labels for pertinent information– Research all products thoroughly and inspect labels carefully for ingredient data. To avoid possible contact with an allergen, examine the presence of the allergen factory-wide during production, even if absent from the product itself. This is a corporate level of cross-contamination that can be effectively managed by consumers, some labels do report if the factory processes commonly known potential allergens. A carton of oatmeal could be produced at a facility that also processes nuts- certain food manufacturers sensitive to consumers facing food allergies will publish this information on labels.
Anticipate emergency response situations– Prepare for a chaotic event by carrying suitable medical identification and/or symptom reducing medications, stabilize a potentially devastating situation with forethought and planning. A medical bracelet or card can save valuable time in the event of an allergic reaction. Medications that control the symptoms of an allergic reaction are available and can be carried on the person in the event of an unforeseen reaction.