Taking Caution with Food Allergies

Family gatherings are filled with fun and food.

While food can make any gathering more fun, it’s important to keep in mind that some of your loved ones may have food allergies that prevent them from eating the delicious dishes you’ve created.

Allergic reactions range from a mild skin rash to anaphylactic shock, requiring immediate medical attention. Here are the top five allergies to be aware of as you plan your next gathering:

  • Cow’s milk: Cow’s milk allergies are most common in babies and young children. It affects 2-3% of all children. Cow’s milk can show up in foods such as milk powder, cheese, yogurt, cream and ice cream.
  • Eggs: Egg allergies vary person-to-person. Some people may not be allowed to have any eggs of any kind, while others may be allowed to have eggs if they’ve been cooked a certain way. The best way to know is to talk to the individual or their parents to understand the severity.
  • Tree nuts: People with tree nut allergies are also allergic to foods and other products that contain or have come in contact with tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. People with a tree nut allergy are advised to avoid all tree nuts, even if they only react to one, because they are very similar. Here are some kid-approved food ideas.
  • Peanuts: Peanut allergies differ from tree nut allergies because peanuts are legumes. Baked goods, cereals, vegetarian meat substitutes, ice cream and edible fruit arrangements can all contain traces of peanuts that can cause a reaction.
  • Shellfish: People with shellfish should avoid all shellfish foods or foods that the shellfish has touched. For some, the vapors from cooking shellfish can trigger an allergic reaction.

Every case of food allergies is unique. You should ask the individual how severe their reaction is to understand the necessary precautions you should take. The only way to make sure the home is completely allergen-free is to keep all foods with the allergen out of the house. If the allergy is triggered by air-borne particles, this is the only option to ensure the individual is unaffected. If that’s not feasible, the next best way to accommodate those with allergies is to keep their food completely separate from the foods containing allergens. You should also completely clean the utensils used to make the other foods before making the allergen-free foods to avoid any contamination.

What’s the best allergen-free treat you’ve had? Share with us in the comments.

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Photo credit: Mypurgatoryyears

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