Staying Allergy Safe for the Holidays

Back in April, I posted how to remain allergy safe for Easter.  I’m going to post some of the same ideas and add a few more that are specific to this socially-heavy holiday season.

The most important piece of advice that I can give you for staying safe during the holiday season is to be prepared in all situations.  Here are some tips on how to do that:

  1. Rescue Medication – Absolutely do not leave home without your rescue medications (e.g., Benadryl, inhaler, EpiPen, etc.)!  Check expiration dates and get prescription refills now, if necessary.
  2. If eating at a restaurant for a holiday celebration, suggest an allergy-friendly restaurant, look for the menu/ingredient list online ahead of time, talk to your server about your allergy needs, or pack your own food.  Don’t hesitate to do any of the above.  Most restaurants would rather have safe patrons than no patrons at all.
  3. If you are hosting a family with food allergies, I ask that you try to be cautious with your food preparation and be accommodating to their needs.  It is such a blessing to food allergy sufferers that you are willing to make adjustments, and not focus on the inconvenience.
  4. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or other Christmas/Holiday events, you have more control over what is served.  If it’s a potluck sort of gathering that you’re hosting, just make sure you have some alternatives for your own allergy sufferers or any allergy guests.
  5. If you are celebrating at another’s home, keep in mind the following:
  • Make suggestions for food that is allergy-friendly.  Keep in mind that people who are not used to cooking this way and using extra precaution are at increased risk of inadvertent cross-contamination or just not knowing about all ingredient names/variations.  Proceed at your own risk!
  • Don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions; you do not want to fear cross-contamination or a hidden forbidden ingredient.  Even a “little” to non-food allergy people can be a “lot” to a food allergy sufferer.
  • Offer to bring several allergy-friendly dishes.
  • Pack your own food.
  • Don’t worry about offending someone else by bringing your own food, asking questions or making suggestions.  You or your loved one’s life is at risk!

Finally, try not to be anxious over a holiday gathering/celebration.  Be cautious, but have fun and enjoy your time together.

My plans for Thanksgiving are two-fold.  I am taking a few allergy-friendly dishes to all of our gatherings.  I am also packing food for my son.  I am not willing to take any risks in the hope that something is okay for him to eat.  It’s just not worth it.

What are your holiday plans for staying allergy safe? Do you have any further suggestions?  Please share your stories and any advice you have for our readers.

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