Food Allergies

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Here are a few tips to help you manage your food allergy:

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace describing your allergy in case you ever need emergency care.
  • Carry a self-injectable epinephrine device and a dose of rapidly absorbed antihistamine in case of a severe or rapidly progressing reaction.
  • Read food labels and lists of ingredients closely and don't be afraid to ask questions at restaurants and other places you eat about ingredients and how foods are prepared.

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Food Allergies and children

Parents of children with Food Allergies face special challenges once their youngsters leave the house for significant parts of the day. At school or day care, lunch items may be swapped across the cafeteria table, and snacks don't always come with ingredient lists. Here are some steps parents can take to help their kids stay safe:

  • Inform your child's teachers and school nurse about the food allergy. Go over the food allergy action plan with them and review what they should do in case of a reaction.
  • Have one of your child's favorite treats always available at school and ask that your child be given this treat if there is any question about the safety of a snack provided by others.
  • Talk to other people who spend time with your child about the food allergy. Make sure they understand that a reaction can be life threatening, and review the action plan with them so that they are well versed in what to do if one occurs.
  • Talk with your child about the food allergy and make sure he or she understands which foods to avoid and what to do if a reaction occurs.
  • Bring an injectable epinephrine device to school and make sure your child's teacher and the school nurse (in addition to your child) know when and how to administer the medication.
  • Write up a food-allergy action plan for what to do if your child has an allergic reaction. Review it with all the adults who spend time with your child.
  • Give your child a Med-Alert bracelet or necklace, and be sure it's worn at all times.
  • When your child brings home food without labels, toss it unless you are certain it's safe. This is especially important at Halloween, when the motto should be: No label, no eat.

Last reviewed on 11/6/09

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