In my previous blog, I discussed how my first business trip for Alternutive ended with me having an allergic reaction to tree-nuts. Accidental allergic reactions can happen no matter how careful you can be about your allergy. To help prevent allergic reactions and help people react effectively during an allergic reaction, I’d like to share some basic safety tips. These are lessons I’ve learned over a lifetime of living with a nut allergy and experiencing allergic reactions. Please pass along to anyone you know with a food allergy!
Food Allergy Safety Steps
Precautionary steps to prevent allergic reactions from happening:
- Always read ingredient statements and allergen warnings on packaging before you eat anything. If something you want to eat is homemade, check with the person who made it.
- Be careful of cross contamination – if an allergen warning says a product is made on shared equipment with an allergen you’re allergic to, don’t eat it.
- Make food allergy safety kits and keep them within reach at all times. A food allergy safety kit should contain everything you need to help your body fight away harmful allergens. This can be different for everyone based on specific allergies, so customize your kit to suit your allergy.
- My kit: Epi-Pen, Benadryl, Toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, Hand Sanitizer, portable cell phone charger, medical ID card. I keep a kit at home, in my car, in my backpack, and in my golf bag. Keep them in different places for easy access.
- Educate your family and friends about what they should do to help you if you have an allergic reaction. Make sure they know where you keep your food allergy safety supplies.
Allergic Reaction Emergency Steps
Allergic reactions can happen by accident and spread quickly. It’s important to be prepared to act immediately and effectively to handle the situation. Follow these tips if you or someone you know is having an allergic reaction.
What to do if you’re having an allergic reaction:
- Make the people around you aware that you’re having an allergic reaction and which allergen you’re having an allergic reaction to
- If no one is around you, immediately call 911 for medical assistance
- Use the medicine your doctor has instructed you to use for an allergic reaction. Typically this would be Benadryl or an Epi-Pen for someone with a nut allergy. This can be different for different allergies, so please check with a professional to understand what you need to do in this situation.
- Use floss, brush your teeth, and rinse your mouth out with mouth wash. Eliminate as many traces of the allergen from your mouth and throat as you can.
- If your hands come in contact with the allergen, wash them or use hand sanitizer to remove allergen traces from your skin.