Living with a food allergy, especially if you have been recently diagnosed, can be a very challenging aspect of life. Knowing what’s what and remaining vigilant can make the difference between a great night out with friends, and a devastating trip to A&E.
For this reason it is important to protect yourself, and knowledge is your best tool to do so. With the right know how, you can not only make living with a food allergy manageable, but also stress free as well.
So, here are some tips to get you on your way to better coping with a food allergy:
First and foremost, always read the label when buying food! Packaged foods tend to be heavily processed and can contain all sorts of ingredients. The first thing you need to do is make yourself aware of what the things you want to eat at home contain. Knowing you can eat freely within your own home will gain you a lot of peace of mind.
It is also worth noting that manufactures often tweak the ingredients of their foods. So even if you have eaten it before, regularly check the things you are used to – you wouldn’t want a nasty surprise.
Keeping an allergen free house is easier said than done, especially when those you live with are not following the same diet. The best way to deal with this is to ensure that everything is cooked separately, and that different sets of kitchen utensils are used. This way you minimise the risk of cross-contamination, and ensure your food remains allergen free.
Having a food allergy can be a very stressful situation, and is a proven cause of stress related illness. For this reason it is worth joining a community, such as an online forum, which specialises in food allergies. This way you can find a lot of likeminded people, share your worries, and find out a lot of useful advice. You may even make some new friends!
Ensure that you take an emergency kit with you whenever you go out. This usually contains an EpiPen (2 is preferable), oral antihistamines, a card with emergency contact details on, as well as any other prescribed medication. With these you should be prepared to deal with most situations that could arise.
These are handy bracelets that should give any medic an idea of what your allergies are should be in no condition to speak, or incapacitated.
Make a step by step process to follow when you think you have eaten something you are allergic to. Have a printed out copy with you at all times to remind you, and guide others.
When dining out, make an effort to let the manager or chef know that you have food allergies, and tell them exactly what they are. Ask politely if your food can be prepared separately from the rest to avoid cross-contamination. Some even take chef cards with them, which are handy printed notifications to inform chefs exactly what your conditions are.