How to Protect Yourself from Your Food Allergy

Many people have food allergies that are life-threatening. A lot of other people often don't understand the seriousness of a food allergy and seem to not really care, or don't know how severe or scary an allergic reaction can be. Be prepared in advance to react quickly for your own sake in case others around you are not sure what to do.

Steps

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    Get tested. If you do experience an allergic reaction after eating a food or ingredient you will probably want to go to the doctor for tests to isolate the allergen.
    • They may take your blood, but this is the least accurate and has the highest chance of false positives.
    • They may perform skin tests which is more accurate. They will put a measured drop of solution with allergen in it on your skin and assess if you develop a wheal.
    • For food allergies the most accurate test is called an oral challenge. This takes the longest to perform and requires a 4 hour waiting period to make sure you do not experience anaphylaxis.
    • The doctor will tell you the items to which you are allergic. He or she may also prescribe an Epi-Pen in case you are at risk for anaphylaxis.
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    Use an Epi-Pen as follows:
    • Take the Epi-Pen from the box and covering.
    • Pop off the blue stopper on the back.
    • Firmly press the orange tip into your thigh and hold it there for about 10 "Mississippi." The Epi-Pen is a epinephrine auto-injector and it will stall or stop a reaction from occurring for about 10-15 minutes. You will either want to be taken to the nearest hospital or call the Emergency Services as soon as or before you inject it. The Epi-Pen can be inserted through one layer of any fabric, including denim, so there's no reason to remove your clothing.
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    You can also ask your doctor for a practice Epi-Pen that contains no needle or drug. You can use this Epi-Pen to practice on yourself or have your friends and family practice giving you an injection.
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    Read assiduously. If you have food allergies you will want to read ingredients on everything.
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    Review the menu and decide what you think you might want to order. Before ordering tell the waiter what your food allergies are and ask them if the meal that you want will be completely safe. Ask what precautions they use to prevent cross-contamination. Ask what oils they use; if they use something you're allergic to, make sure it does not come into contact with your food. For example, peanut oil. The same may be said for any sauce or puree which may have ingredients not mentioned in the flavor description.
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    Stay away from foods that may contain allergens. Eat at another table or keep your distance.
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    Be ware of baked goods. Baked goods are sometimes tough - you will have to ask the person who made it. If they used a mix, just refuse, but thank them for the info.
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    If in doubt, leave. If you ever feel uncomfortable about anything in your surroundings, you can always leave. This is about your health, so don't be concerned about politeness.

Tips

  • If you use an Epi-Pen, don't throw it away. Have the EMT take it.
  • Meet other people with food allergies; they understand.
  • Never ever eat or drink something you're allergic to just because you want to participate or be "cool". You only get one life, and in that life, you can have lots of chances to be "cool."

Warnings

  • Keep your Epi-Pen with you at all times along with Benadryl for relief from hives or rashes.

Things You'll Need

  • Epi-Pen
  • Benadryl
  • Phone

Article Info

Categories: Allergies and Immunization