New to a Life of Food Allergies
Recent findings from US national studies show that onset food allergy is on the rise where 26 million adults were found to have allergies and 12 million of these adults developed their allergies after the age of 18. We heard several stories where there are people who only found out that they’re allergic to certain foods sadly after triggering life-threatening anaphylaxis.
We still don’t know what’s causing food allergy, about onset food allergy, how it’s occurring, and what to do to prevent it.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about food allergies or you’re one of the many people who suddenly developed it recently, here’re some tips that can help your new journey safer and hopefully moves you further away from anaphylaxis.
This list will give you an idea about what people with food allergies have to deal with and how serious this condition is.
It’s always better to consult an allergist or ask your doctor for a referral before avoiding foods. Food allergy has its severe form, though not all food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, it’s still best to hear it from your allergist.
Learning how to cook
Once your allergy triggers had been specified and discussed to you by your allergist, it’s time to do your research on what food that you usually eat that contain it. One of the safest ways to stay away from problem foods is knowing what its ingredients are and cooking your own food is unbeatable in this aspect. If you’re not into cooking, start searching for some simple and healthy dishes online that you can easily prepare.
Avoiding take outs, fast foods, and buffets
Developing food allergies as an adult may mean that you have to remove something that you’re used to or enjoy doing like eating in a fast food restaurant or ordering take outs when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking dinner and replacing it with something new like preparing your own food. Sadly, to someone with food allergy, ordering take-outs, eating in fast food restaurants or buffets are not options anymore. You need to make sure that you know what’s in your food or how it’s made even. There are several restaurants that you may need to try out, especially those who cater to someone with food allergies. There are some steps to safely dine out with food allergies so don’t cross out dining out yet.
Saving for safe food or snacks (because it’s more expensive)
If you’re still in college, it’s common knowledge that your food is college budget dependent and many students survived with the help of 24/7 convenient stores, Chinese take-outs, or a bowl of instant ramen you’re stashing in your room. All of these will change when you develop food allergies. You need to be more responsible and save up so you can buy safe foods that don’t have your allergens.
There is a great online store in Australia, Happy Tummies, that sells a wide range of baking ingredients and snacks that are Allergy-Safe.
Spending more time reading packaging labels of the same food items
Getting used to checking product or food labels takes time and practice. Many of us we’re not taught to do it every time that we wanted to eat something. However, to avoid allergy attacks, you need to be more cautious about the food that you wanted or plan eating. Carefully reading food labels, checking out the difference in packaging, and package warnings are things that you need to do before adding it to your cart. Always keep in mind that food ingredients may change or get an update so practice reading food labels and packaging even though you’ve consumed that same food before. Watch out for product recalls as well due to undeclared ingredients or cross contamination so we suggest that you do extensive research before trying it out.
Always carrying medicines and cleaning items
Food allergy attacks may come in different forms like cross contamination where, for example, a peanut free food was prepared on the same facility where its counterpart was prepared too. Or a scenario where you sat on a common chair and table and suddenly got an allergic attack due to the previous person who used it ate food that has your allergen in it.
To avoid these situations, don’t forget to carry out your important medicines (Benadryl, other anti-histamines, epinephrine auto-injector, etc.) and cleaning stuff like baby wipes, alcohol, or other cleaning sprays. This may mean that you need to get used to carrying a bag that can accommodate all of these essentials and if you want a more organized way of carrying your meds, we at PracMedic Bags® offers a wide range of options for your medicines or EpiPens so don’t forget to check out our products if you haven’t done so already.
Spend a lot of time talking to staff of an establishment
Having food allergies will teach you to be your own advocate and a responsible person. Whether if you’re in school, restaurant, hotel, spa, office, AirBnB etc., you may need to talk to staff, managers, chefs, clinic administrators about your condition and let them know how they can help you stay safe. This can be turned as your skills and might really help you if you love to travel.
Constantly facing the fear of severe allergic attack that can happen anytime
Lastly, this is very understandable and should not be seen as a weakness. Suddenly realizing that you have food allergies can really be scary even for adults so you might be constantly feeling anxious or worried. Allergy attacks have its levels and it can happen anytime even with all the preparations and safety measures that you took but it can be handled. There are people with food allergies who handle their condition very well and they are living proof that it can be done.
Always be vigilant and watchful about your environment and always have a plan to counter an allergy attack. Don’t take any risks and bring your EpiPen or Auvi-Q everywhere.
Don’t wait for your situation to escalate, if you feel that your allergic reaction will result in anaphylaxis don’t hesitate to use your EAI then call 911 or your emergency medical response.
Being diagnosed with a food allergy can be life changing and it can either make you stronger or the other way around. It can be life-threatening and should not be taken lightly. The best that you can do is accepting it and living with it to the fullest. Responsibility, humility, courage, and advocacy are some of the positive life lessons that you may learn from it and like other conditions, it’s not all negative, but depending on how you’re seeing it.
Allergic Living – https://www.allergicliving.com/2019/01/16/study-finds-doubling-of-adult-food-allergy-5-important-takeaways/
WebMD – https://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20190111/adult-onset-food-allergies-increasing-confusing
Medical News Today – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321159.php