Strategies for Managing Food Allergies During the Holidays

If you have a food allergy, you’re used to avoiding some foods and happily choosing those that won’t cause hives, rashes, stomach pains, and other symptoms common to food-driven allergies. But that can be very difficult to do when a large portion of many holiday celebrations focus on seasonal treats and delectable feasts.

Allergies are our specialty here at Premier Allergy & Asthma. We’re proud to serve the residents of Ohio from 10 convenient locations in Dublin, Westerville, Canal Winchester, Lancaster, Marysville, Delaware, New Albany, Hilliard, Grove City, and Grandview.

Each office is staffed with highly qualified medical providers who understand the pitfalls of food allergies and the strife they can cause during the holidays. We’re here to help you overcome your allergies year-round and are happy to provide a few strategies for managing during the holidays.

1. Check the labels and then check them again

We all tend to eat differently during the holidays, including foods that we only grab off the grocery shelves once or twice a year, so you may not be as familiar with the ingredients. Most labels are equipped with an allergy warning, but be sure to check for your specific allergens, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, or whatever food you’re allergic to.

2. Avoid “just this once” thinking

Many of us who are trying to lose weight, reduce our cholesterol levels, or protect our overall health tend to think it won’t hurt if I take a tiny bite or give in to temptation “just this one time.” That may be true. 

When you have food allergies, however, even a small sampling can make you feel miserable for hours. Even worse, some food allergies can bring on anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.

3. Bring your medication to the celebration

Get in the habit of carrying your medication, especially your epinephrine auto-injector, along with you. Keep it close by so you can take it quickly should you accidentally eat a forbidden food and experience a reaction. 

Make sure those sharing the holiday with you know about your allergy and where you keep your medication. In the case of anaphylaxis, administer the medication immediately and call 911.

4. Share your concerns

Whether it’s your allergy or your child’s that keeps you up at night, share your concerns with caregivers, relatives, and friends, and inform them about the many health risks food allergies represent. Also make sure they know what to do if you or your child develops symptoms and can’t communicate clearly.

Also make sure they know that even trace amounts of an allergen can cause a significant reaction which means they need to thoroughly clean countertops and other surfaces that may have held certain foods.

5. Bring your own holiday sensation

Offer to host the meal yourself or bring a few of your own menu items to the feast so that you and your family and friends can enjoy an allergy-free celebration. And don’t be afraid to eat ahead and respond with a polite “no, thank you” when a questionable food comes your way.

For a thorough evaluation and further information about food allergies and how to manage yours throughout the year, schedule a visit with us at Premier Allergy & Asthma today. 

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