Christmas time is feasting time. Unfortunately it can also be allergy time. As we attend one party after another, trying out food we normally we do not eat at home, we are exposed to allergens in the food that can trigger allergic reactions. According to WebMD, the eight most common foodstuffs associated with allergic symptoms are:
- Cow’s milk
- Shrimp and other shellfish
- Salads & fresh fruits
It is most unfortunate that a lot of these food stuffs are actually healthy stuff. I mean, have you ever heard of allergies against things we shouldn’t eat? Anybody with allergic reaction to sugar? To fat?
However, another source of allergy is food additives, e.g. food preservatives and colorings that may be present in any processed food that we eat.
But you may ask, what is the big deal about food allergies? Well, allergic reaction doesn’t only bring mild symptoms like rashes, sneezing or tummy aches. It can bring about anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that includes swelling of the throat, cutting off the airway, difficulty in breathing, and eventually cardiopulmonary arrest.
However, people with allergies need not miss out on the fun and feasting at Christmas time. What is needed is proper planning and preventive measures.
So what should we do at Christmas time, or any time for that matter, when we have to dine out or attend a party, knowing we are potentially allergic to certain foodstuffs? Here are some tips:
Avoid the Food Allergy Trigger. Avoidance of exposure is always the key to avoid serious allergic reactions. Read the labels in the food products you buy. Inform your host/hostess, your waiter about your allergy. They can then advice you as to what dishes you should avoid.
Bring the party at home. When you do the cooking or hire a caterer, you have more control over the menu/ what goes into the food. In case of a potluck party, remind your guests about your allergy.
Inform your friends. The more people know about your allergy, the more people can watch over you, and can help you check out the food.
Have your anti-allergy medication ready and within reach. You should carry your antihistamines on your person. Tell your friends where it is so they have access to it in case of emergency.
Talk to your doctor about allergy shots. Check out whether you are qualified for anti-allergy shots. Your doctor can tell you more.