It's important to focus on preventing a reaction when you're living with a food allergy.
Are you one of the estimated 15 million Americans living with food allergies? Well here are a few simple strategies that can help you stay safe.
• Be aware. Be knowledgeable about your diagnosis and know exactly what foods to avoid. Read food labels and ask about the ingredients used in a given recipe. Offer to bring a dish when attending a gathering or party so that you're sure there will be something safe for you to eat.
• Be cautious. Prepare food with care to avoid cross contamination. Take extra steps to help prevent a reaction when eating at school, in restaurants or anywhere other than home. Talk with a teacher, restaurant manager, chef or other person in a position of authority prior to choosing or ordering food to inquire about safe options.
• Be prepared. Know what the symptoms of a food allergy reaction might be and be aware of the fact that symptoms usually surface about an hour after eating the food. Be ready for a reaction by wearing medical alert identification and having any prescribed medication handy at all times. In the case of a severe reaction, called anaphylaxis, you should call 911 immediately.
If you think you may need to be tested for food allergies or if you have any allergy questions, talk to your doctor. For help finding a doctor, use our online Find a Physician service or call us for a referral at 1-855-477-DRMC (3762).