When you have food allergies, you have to be especially vigilant when going out to eat. Just a brief exposure to a certain food source can have serious consequences. While others can go to a restaurant without a second thought, those with allergies have to be more careful. Here are four tips for eating at an eating establishment when you have food allergies.
Learn What’s in the Food
You can best avoid allergies by knowing what’s in the food you’re eating beforehand. When you go to a restaurant, see what kinds of ingredients go into their food. For instance, if you have a peanut allergy, you should check to see if they cook in peanut oil. While ordering, you should let the staff know of your allergies. They should have clear information about how to prevent illness via cross-contamination.
Wear a Bracelet
In the event that you have an allergic reaction to food at a restaurant, a medical alert band can be life-saving. Look into getting medical alert bands. You can put your name, known food allergies, and any other vital pieces of information. Be sure to have this written legibly and to have the band snugly fit on your wrist. In an emergency, you can point to your wrist so someone knows to call for medical help. If you’re unable to even do that, medical professionals who arrive on the scene will be able to help you faster because you’re wearing it and they’ll know exactly how to respond.
Have an EpiPen
An EpiPen can be another way to save your life after an allergic reaction. When going under anaphylactic shock, it releases a strong chemical dose. You should have it handy whenever going out and make sure that at least one person in your party knows how to use it. Once the dosage has been delivered, you should go see a doctor.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Even if you make sure to not order anything that could cause a reaction, there are still risks. If you have airborne allergies, they could be triggered by crumbs left behind by other diners. Wait until staff wipes tables down before sitting. If you sense something is wrong, speak up soon. Your allergies are a very serious matter.
It can be tough finding things to eat with food allergies, but it’s certainly not impossible. You just need to do as much planning as possible and not be afraid to ask questions. If you make this effort, you can have a peaceful, allergy-free time while eating.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. For your medical alert band needs, Hannah recommends Reminderband.
INFOGRAPHIC: Food Allergy Fact Sheet