Millions globally suffer from allergies or have developed new ones in food each year. While most of them only incur minor to almost unnoticeable effects, some result in severe, life-threatening reactions called anaphylaxis.
Food allergies happen when your immune system triggers an abnormal reaction to specific food ingredients. OTC pills can manage some allergies, but often, you can have anaphylaxis, as mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, we have prepared the best tips for curbing and managing allergies better, especially for food lovers.
Develop An Emergency Plan
At some point, you might accidentally ingest food that can trigger your allergies, and it would be best to have a plan to manage your symptoms and recover fast, especially those with a history of anaphylaxis.
The first step in developing an emergency plan is to check in with your doctor and build a medical kit for medications you can bring. Either you have those in epi-pens in varying dosages or OTC meds you can take before a meal. Speaking of pills, you might check out discounts and Loratadine coupon cards to make your emergency kit less expensive.
Once that’s done, you have a ready-to-go allergy kit in case of severe allergic reactions and a foolproof plan to avoid any permanent effects.
Understand Your Symptoms
Allergies live throughout your lifespan. That said, you must understand the foods you’re allergic to and the symptoms of a reaction. The reason is that this helps with formulating an emergency plan and avoiding panic should a reaction happen.
To help you understand your symptoms, here are some common symptoms you’d experience in an allergic reaction. If you experienced one of these symptoms below, take note of it and add it to your allergy plan.
Skin: Itching, Swelling, Hives, Rashes
Eyes: Redness, swelling around the eyes, itching and tears
Upper Respiratory: Hard sneezing, Nasal Congestion, Difficulty Breathing
Mouth: Swelling of Tongue, Itching of lips
Other: Weird tingling sensation, sense of ‘impending doom’ or a combination of two
There are other symptoms not mentioned at this point. Nevertheless, observe the symptoms in your reactions to determine if they’re just a minor reaction or part of a full-blown anaphylaxis.
Individuals with food allergies have varying degrees of sensitivity and reactions, but both must be aware of the potential cross-contamination of allergenic ingredients.
Cross-contamination occurs when an allergen is unintentionally mixed with a food that’s not supposed to contain the said allergen. That could be in many forms, from cross-contaminating foods from one another or an allergen contact. For example, if you’re allergic to crabs, using a spoon from a crab boil to eat your meal could cause an allergic reaction despite your meal being non-allergenic.
Fortunately, avoiding cross-contamination is easy. You just have to take note of these critical points.
Remove Allergic Sources- Dispose of products, meals, and ingredients that could contain allergens.
Sanitation- Thoroughly clean all utensils, cookware, and equipment recently contaminated with allergens. As simple as soap and water should do the trick.
Organize- When living with multiple individuals, organize your utensils and bowls to ensure they won’t be used or exposed to foods you’re allergic to.
Additionally, when eating meals outside of your home, like cafes and restaurants, make sure that you inform the servers ahead of your allergies or specific cooking preferences to reduce the chances of getting a reaction and contamination.
Dine Out Carefully
As said earlier, you must inform the staff of your allergies when dining in a cafe or outside food establishment. Some people with food allergies often carry an allergy card, a note that contains specific ingredients that could cause a reaction.
This is important, especially for people prone to anaphylaxis. It would help if you also informed the staff before taking an order. The chefs and cooking staff should take note of your preferences and procedures to avoid cross-contamination.
Fast foods are also no exemption. Either you communicate your allergies to the staff or not dine at all. It would help if you remove yourself from any possibility of an allergic reaction.
Experiment With an Elimination Diet
Trying an elimination diet can significantly help you curb your food allergies by knowing specific ingredients and meals you’re allergic to and taking them out.
An elimination diet is a short-term diet plan that involves selectively eating different meals and determining if they can cause a reaction. And because removing allergens is the only way to avoid a reaction, an elimination diet can help you understand what food needs to be “eliminated.”
Food allergies are the worst. They can disrupt your dining experience and, sometimes, potentially cause a life-threatening condition. That said, the best way to live a life with allergies is to be smart about what you eat and understand what causes your allergies.
The points mentioned above are a great way to start an effective allergy plan and best practices to reduce any chances of a reaction. So contact your local doctor today for an allergic plan and be ready for anything to enjoy an exceptional meal for someone with a food allergy.