Well it’s that time of year when you see all those relatives that you haven’t seen since last year at this same time. Why is that? Hmmm, I’ll let you speculate on that. Maybe for you it also brings a feeling of dread, especially when Aunt Sally never listens to you about your life threatening food allergy. After all it’s just “in your head”! Why is it every time she sees you she tells you that you have crazy food preferences and it’s really just a bother to have to make something different for you? Makes you feel kind of special, doesn’t it?
But really this time of year can be very difficult for people with food allergies especially if you are invited to a lot of parties or family gatherings. This can be a source of stress and take away from the enjoyment of getting together with others. It’s not that you don’t want too; it’s that dealing with the allergy (which involves the immune system where even a microscopic amount of the food has the potential to lead to a serious or life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis) can be disconcerting.
You certainly don’t want to feel left out, so what do you do?
Well we have a few suggestions for you:
- Hosting the event yourself. You then have control over what ingredients are put into goodies and you can mark item with known allergies for you or others. Post a list of ingredients on a q-card. People with allergies appreciate knowing the ingredients. This will result in more enjoyment and take the worry out of the event for you.
- Let you guests know what the food arrangements are. Inform them that there are foods present which are allergy free and those that are not. Labelling goes a long way in making people aware. Of course, have separate utensils for your food items and request your guests pay attention when using them. Also, make sure there is no cross contamination during the preparation stage.
- If guests offer to bring food or beverages that can be problematic it’s ok to decline their offers or suggest they bring non-allergenic items.
- If hosting the event is not possible and you are invited out then call ahead and speak with the host or hostess advising them of your allergies. We have found that when we do this in our family people are very respectful when it comes to allergies.
- When going to a party bring items that you know are safe for you and stick to those during the event.
- It might be a good idea to eat a light snack beforehand so if you can’t eat the provided delights you won’t be totally hungry.
- For those who have an epi-pen (epinephrine) bring it along, always!
- Always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating your allergy or have a medical card with instructions on it.
If you have any suggestions for events where there is a possibility of an allergy being present please post your suggestion on our blogs so we can share them with others. Thanks for helping us keep people safe.