The holidays are upon us and food allergies can directly affect your holiday plans. One of the most common food allergies is peanut allergy. The allergy to peanuts tends to be a lifelong allergy and there is concern over the rise of peanut allergies in children. Siblings of individuals who are allergic to peanuts are at an increased risk of being allergic to peanuts as well. Approximately 20% of children may outgrow their allergy, however, the remaining 80% will not. To keep the holidays free of disruptions, there are ways to avoid this allergen if you are allergic to peanuts or have concerns of being allergic.
Itchiness, swelling, sneezing, or abdominal pain that occurs after eating can be a sign that you are allergic to something that you have consumed. Some foods, such as peanuts have the potential of causing a fatal allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis). Avoiding peanuts is key but it is always important to have an anaphylaxis action plan if you or a loved one is allergic. You should know the signs and symptoms to watch for, have access to an epinephrine auto-injector, and most importantly know where to seek immediate emergency medical care if anaphylaxis occurs.
Having an allergic reaction or fear of an allergic reaction during the holidays can interrupt your plans. Package food products sold in the United States that contain peanuts as an ingredient are required to list the word “peanut” on the label. The holidays are however full of foods that are homemade and not bought from the store. To plan ahead and avoid any holiday disasters, contact the host of your holiday parties to ensure that they understand the importance of avoiding peanuts. If flying to your holiday destination, notify the flight attendant of your allergy to ensure they do not provide peanuts as an inflight snack. Bring extra medication in case an allergic reaction occurs.
May we all have a safe holiday season and enjoy time with our family and friends without unnecessary disruptions from allergies. However, if you or a loved one develops symptoms of food allergies contact our office at (616) 994-2770 for an appointment to find out if testing for food allergies is an option for you.