While many stores and radio stations have moved right into Christmas carols and decorations, Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away. People will be reconnecting with loved ones and enjoying the turkey meal. For those with food allergies, this time of year can be stressful. Potlucks, get togethers, and goodies circulating offices and events mean more chances for an accidental exposure and possible reaction. Here are some ways to avoid a trip to the emergency room this Thanksgiving and holiday season.

Let People Know

If you are going to a party or having a potluck at work, informing people of your food allergies is the most important step. This will allow people to prepare ahead of time to make a food allergy friendly dish, or at the very least they will be able to inform you that their dish does or does not contain any of your allergens. Providing suggestions for food allergy friendly alternatives and bringing your own safe dishes can also help reduce the risk of exposure.

It is important to note that the likelihood of all the dishes at a party or potluck will be food allergy friendly. Some people might not be willing to change their beloved recipe to meet your needs. If there is a dish you really want to enjoy, bring it yourself. And of course, do not forget your epinephrine auto-injectors.

You’re Hosting

Maybe you are hosting and a guest has informed you about their food allergy. If you are unsure as of what to do, start with simply asking! Ask your guest if they have any food allergy friendly recipes or if there is a dish they specifically want to enjoy or wish to bring. Take photos of nutrition information on food packaging and share these photos with guests that have food allergies. It is very important to clean all cooking and dining surfaces thoroughly as to remove allergens. this will help with cross contamination. Another way to help with cross contamination is to allow those with food allergies to serve themselves first if you are planning to do a buffet style meal. Creating ingredient labels for dishes can also help those with food allergies feel safe and welcome.

If you are struggling with your food allergies and need help in treatment or understanding them better, please see one of our Board-Certified Allergists at National Allergy & ENT. To schedule an appointment please call (8430 797-8162 or schedule online.

Sources: FARE, Kids With Food Allergies