Knowing which foods trigger food allergies and avoiding those foods is the best way to prevent allergic reactions. Unfortunately, food allergens are often hidden in sauces, ice creams, baked goods, and other items.
If you have food allergies, read food labels carefully. Be aware of Reference other names for food allergens, such as "caseinate" for milk or "albumin" for eggs. Many people think that seeing "nondairy" on a label means there is no milk in the product. This is not necessarily true.
Sometimes products are recalled when food ingredients are missing from food labels. For a list of recalled products, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts page at www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html.
Tips for eating out
Eating out can be dangerous for people with severe food allergies.
- Bring safe substitutes from home. For example, bring soy milk to have with cereal.
- Be aware of possible cross-contamination. For example, an ice cream scoop may have been used for Rocky Road ice cream, which contains peanuts, and then used for your vanilla ice cream.
- Alert the wait staff to the possibility of a severe food reaction. Carefully question them about ingredients. If they are not sure, ask to speak to kitchen staff.
- Always wear Reference medical alert jewelry Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window that lists your food allergies. Medical alert jewelry can be ordered through most drugstores or on the Internet.
If you or your child has ever had a severe allergic reaction, always carry an Reference allergy kit that contains a syringe of Reference epinephrine Opens New Window and Reference antihistamine Opens New Window tablets. Give the epinephrine shot as soon as you or your child feels a reaction starting. Then take the antihistamine.
- Reference Reference Allergies: Giving Yourself an Epinephrine Shot
- Reference Reference Allergies in Children: Giving an Epinephrine Shot to a Child
If you are traveling to another country, learn the words for the foods that trigger your allergy so that you can ask in restaurants and read food labels. Call airlines, tour operators, and restaurants ahead of time to explain your food allergy and request safe meals. Prepare your own food when possible. Discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 23, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology