How to Keep Kids with Food Allergies Safe: Food Allergies for Kids
According to the CDC, four out of one hundred children under the age of 18 have food allergies (CDC). A food allergy is a specific immune response to harmless components in food. Reactions to these immune responses range from slight tingling sensation around the mouth and lips to severe anaphylaxis.
Avoid the Specific Allergens: Allergies as Food Poisoning
Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions. The eight major food allergens are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish. These allergens cause the most serious allergic reactions in the U.S.
The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to completely avoid foods containing the specific allergens for which your body has developed antibodies to combat. For instance, when eating out at a restaurant, always ask about the likelihood of cross-contamination. If the likelihood is too high, plan on eating somewhere else. As a general rule of thumb, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Eating at Restaurants: Avoiding Allergic Reactions
When I developed my red meat allergy in high school, eating a grilled breast that had been sitting next to a hamburger on the grill was enough to make my lips and throat swell. For a long time, all I ordered at restaurants were salads and sides of fruit. I still need to make sure there’s no bacon on my salads, but I don’t need to be scared I will have an allergic reaction anymore. Now, I will order my meat pan-seared and will ask the server to notify the chefs of my allergy, so the chefs can use a separate pan and utensils.
Based on the severity of you or your child’s food allergy, it may be best to pack a premade meal to the restaurant. Usually, the resultant’s staff will understand, but it is always nice to call ahead and give a heads-up to the establishment.