Written By Emma Sturgis / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
People develop food allergies when their bodies' immune systems mistake nutrition-rich foods for harmful invading pathogens like viruses. In turn, they trigger a host of unpleasant and often dangerous reactions. This is called an autoimmune response.
Food allergies are incredibly common. In fact, 32 million U.S. adults and children suffer from them.
Although medical research into food allergies is promising, there is as of yet no cure for the condition. Therefore, mitigation and treatment must remain the focus for affected individuals and their families.
If you are one of the millions of Americans affected by a food allergy, here are some extra precautions that you must take to protect your health and your life.
Keep An EpiPen Handy For Food Allergies
EpiPens are literal lifesavers for many individuals with a food allergy. The "epi" in EpiPen stands for epinephrine, otherwise known as adrenaline.
EpiPens are designed to be administered as an emergency prophylactic in case of an allergic reaction when seconds and minutes matter. Often, there is not enough time to make it to an emergency healthcare provider, so an EpiPen becomes a matter of life and death.
Know Your Individual Risks For Food Allergies
As the adage goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Stopping an allergic response before it starts is the best way to protect your health.
You can do this by conducting extensive testing with a medical provider to definitively determine all the food allergies that you have. Then you can rest assured that you know everything you should avoid putting in your mouth.
Read Every Food Label If You Have Food Allergies
In the era of processed foods, junk ingredients are often hidden. For example, while it may seem counterintuitive that a box of corn flakes would contain wheat, they actually do contain barley malt, a gluten-containing ingredient.
Without proper reading and awareness of ingredients, a person with celiac disease could very easily make the mistake of eating corn flakes and experiencing a negative response. Fortunately, these products have undergone allergen testing.
Federal food labeling requirements mandate that companies list common allergens that are present in the food item. Always read every label every time, even for products that don't seem to pose a threat on the surface.
Talk To Restaurant Managers And Staff If You Have Food Allergies
Most restaurants in the modern era are trained to be sensitive to the food allergies of customers. Many, in fact, print all their allergen information in the menus and even have special sections dedicated to allergen-free menu options. However, it's always a good idea to discuss your servers and managers to make sure that you are not getting any allergens in your meal.
With these basic precautions, you should be in a good position to avoid any unexpected allergic reactions as you move through the world.
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Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, Mass. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.