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If you or your child has food allergies, you know how difficult it is avoiding allergens while eating out. In recent years, awareness in restaurants and employee training has been improving, but dining out will always remain nerve-wracking for those with food allergies. With careful planning, however, it is possible to truly enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
Increasing your safety while dining out begins at home. The first step is to know what menu items to avoid. Do research to find out where hidden ingredients lurk. It isn’t obvious, for example, that Caesar dressing includes anchovies or that licorice candy contains wheat. A restaurant employee with the best intentions may inadvertently serve a food containing an allergen. This is why it is important for you to be well informed about foods that may cause an allergy for you or your child.
With the summer comes wonderful outdoor treats: picnics, barbecues, camping, bike rides, trips to the beach, and more. Unfortunately, the summer also brings with it some not so wonderful things: stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants to name the most common. For most people, an insect sting means only an annoying stinging sensation accompanied by mild swelling. For some, however, insect venom can cause potentially fatal anaphylaxis. Severe symptoms include nausea, facial swelling, breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, and a drop in blood pressure and circulation.
Mild symptoms can be taken care of relatively easily. The following steps are usually sufficient treatment for mild reactions: move to a insect-free area; remove the stinger; apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel; apply hydro-cortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a baking soda paste; and take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine.
Food Allergy Awareness Week is observed from May 8 to May 14. This annual observance was initiated in 1997 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), an organization that advocates on behalf of patients and families. The goal for the week is to educate the public on this potentially life-threatening condition.
A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to eating a particular food. The symptoms of a food allergy range from hives to digestive problems to potentially life-threatening swelling of airways and a drop in blood pressure. The medical term for this condition is anaphylaxis.
Milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish are the most common foods that cause allergic reactions in the American population. According to the Mayo Clinic, 6 to 8 percent of children under 5, and 3 to 4 percent of adults live with food allergies.
Allergies to peanuts are common, especially in children. Love of Easter candy is also common, especially in children. Unfortunately, many types of Easter candy contain peanuts or traces of peanuts that could prove deadly in a severe allergy attack.
Happily, nut-free chocolate bunnies are available. Hershey’s makes many nut-free chocolate bunnies and other chocolate candies. Yummy gummy options are Sour Patch Bunnies, Swedish Fish Eggs, Starburst jelly beans, and Jolly Rancher jelly beans. Peeps are also nut-free.
An additional source of Easter sweets is your own kitchen. Try melting nut-free Baker’s chocolate into bunny, egg, and chick molds. Molds can also be used to make Easter-themed Jell-O shapes. Here, you get the bonus of a fun activity to do with the kids.
Don’t forget that it’s very important to inspect packaging yourself for allergy warnings. Even if there are no warnings, watch your child or loved one carefully while they eat. Those with peanut allergies should always wear some type of medical alert jewelry in case of anaphylactic shock. A medical ID bracelet or medical id necklace can be a true life saver.Despite the pervasiveness of nuts, children with peanut allergies can hop along happily with the rest of the kids, enjoying an Easter candy sugar rush.
Many of our customers order medical ID bracelets for nut allergies. With Halloween just around the corner, I'm sure you all know which candy is and is not safe for your allergies. Just in case, here is a list of some candy that is nut free and is manufactured in a nut-free environment!
- Junior Mints
- Tootsie Rolls
- Hershey Kisses & snack sized bars
- York Peppermint Patties
- Mike & Ike
- Hot Tamales
- Sour Patch Kids
- Sweet Tarts
- Lifesaver Gummies
What is your favorite nut-free Halloween candy?