Living with a food allergy is never easy, but if you learn how to manage it properly – you can greatly improve your quality of life and avoid experiencing a serious allergic reaction. Here are some expert tips that will help you manage your food allergies easily.
Research shows that certain producers have confusing labels that pose a danger for people living with allergies. There are three ways in which food labels mention allergens:
- Ingredient name – allergens are sometimes included in the ingredient name. So if you’re allergic to milk, you may look for the ingredient name “buttermilk”.
- After the name – some manufacturers will put the name of the allergen after the ingredient name, like this – “whey (milk).”
- After the list – At the bottom of the ingredient list, some manufacturers put a “contains” section, like this – “contains soy, milk, and wheat”.
Even if you avoid the food you’re allergic to, sometimes it isn’t enough. For example, if you’re allergic to dairy, you should also avoid flipping your burger with the same spatula you used for flipping a cheeseburger.
Know Your Symptoms
The key to recognizing you’re having a reaction is knowing your symptoms. Usual symptoms of a food allergy include:
- Shortness of breath;
- Itchy rashes;
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting;
- Teary eyes;
- Slow or rapid heartbeat.
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Have a Plan
Everyone close to you should get completely familiar with your allergy and know exactly what to do if you experience a reaction. The AAAAI has a useful emergency action plan for anaphylaxis that your doctor should fill to tell your friends, school staff, and coworkers exactly what they should do.
To manage your food allergy make sure you avoid all contact (direct and indirect) with your allergen. You should also educate people around you on what to do in the case you’re having a reaction.