Tis The Season To Be Safe

It’s the most social time of the year with Christmas parties where family and friends get together, usually involving some level of dining together. Unfortunately, this can be a stressful time for some food allergy sufferers as food allergies don’t take a vacation- but it shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying the festive season.

Here is a list of ideas to help ensure this holiday is a safe one;

Always, always carry the required medication in case of a reaction.

Check all the expiration dates for all medication and ensure you have an action plan in place in case of an emergency.

Go over your action plan and food safety rules in the car with your children prior to arriving at your destination so that it is fresh in their minds on arrival.

Communication is the key:

If you are invited to a party at another family’s home then don’t be shy about having open dialogue with the host; i.e. inquire if they have baked or will be serving items with the allergen in question. If they are then offer suggestions of replacement ingredients, etc.

This is an opportunity to educate others; politely discuss your concerns about the food allergens, cross contamination and work on creating a safe environment including asking guests to wash their hands.

For young children ensure they understand they must ask you if the food is ok prior to eating it.

Play it safe: Bring your own food: This will reduce your concern about what foods are safe.

Create dishes or platters that can be shared among other guests and will make the food allergy sufferer feel less isolated.

Attach ingredient cards on your food to introduce awareness and encourage others to do the same.

If you are hosting the event and have visitors that flew in, check all their bags for snacks they may have purchased or been given during their travels. Often times, they will be bringing in a dangerous food item without realizing it.

For food allergy children ensure there is a guardian supervising at all times.  Create a system that allows each parent or elder sibling the chance to socialize while maintaining a protective environment.

Be vigilant, check labels, check ingredients and have the food allergy sufferer be prepared to say no to treats reiterating that safety always comes first!

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