Tips from FARE For Holidays With Potentially Life-Threatening Allergies

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It’s no secret that the holiday season is an ultra stressful time when it comes to managing food allergies.  Fudge, cookies, and homemade candies come out of the woodwork for December, then go back into hiding come January.  Everywhere you turn someone is offering a sweet treat, and 99.9% of the time it’s unsafe for those of us with food allergies.  Our vigilance in maintaining a safe, holiday environment for our children has to increase and we can’t let our guard down.

Here’s a few statistics from a survey performed by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Mylan to justify our nervousness during this time of year:

Did you know?

55% of parents of children with potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies report that their child has experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) during a winter holiday event. The statistic rises to 70% among families in urban areas.
98% of parents of children with severe allergies report that their children have holiday events planned with friends and family or at school.
Jo Frost Holiday Tips for Managing Food Allergies
Thankfully, we’ve got FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) on our side.  Here are FARE’s tips for successful and safe holiday celebrations:
    *RSVP – ASAP! Be a great guest by contacting your host as soon as your invitation arrives. Start by communicating gently and by educating others; remember, your host is hoping to plan the “perfect” holiday party or meal.

    *The rules. Go over “the rules” for parties with your kids in advance so that the most important safety rules, such as not eating a food unless he or she knows the ingredients, will be fresh in their minds when they arrive.

     *Make it and they will eat. Offer to bring safe food so that you know there will be something there that your child can eat and your host doesn’t have to worry about separate food preparations. Share dishes that would be allergen-free.

     *Ship ahead. If you’re flying to visit friends or family, you may want to make some simple allergy-free foods that travel well and ship them to your host ahead of time.

 

     *Start the trend. Include an ingredient listing card with your food contribution to the party. Also, add an ingredient card to all food gifts you send out from your kitchen. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness at a party and with friends.

 

     *Tag-team parenting. If your whole family is invited to a party, plan ahead with your spouse to divide the task of supervising your young child. With designated “on duty” times, your child will be supervised, and each parent will have time to socialize. This keeps little hands away from allergens that may be out (such as a bowl of chocolates or nuts).

     *Carry medications. Per the NIAID food allergy guidelines, always have immediate access to two doses of epinephrine just in case unrecognized food allergens are hiding in holiday treats.

I think these tips are GREAT for avoiding dangerous allergens and being prepared to treat anaphylaxis.  What special things will you do during holiday events to keep your food allergic loved ones safe??
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