Don't Let Food Allergies Spoil the Picnic

By on July 11, 2010

SATURDAY, July 10Summer is the best time for eating outdoors, so why let food allergies spoil the party?

In some people, that innocent-looking picnic spread could provoke symptoms ranging from hives and stomachache to life-threatening difficulty breathing. But by working with an allergist, you can head off a potential emergency.

“Food allergies are serious, but with a little preparation, you can still enjoy summer parties. An allergist can help you identify the foods that are causing your symptoms and create a plan to steer clear of problems,” said Dr. James Sublett in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Here are some of the association’s suggestions about how to avoid food allergies at picnics and barbecues:

  • Bring your own condiments in individual-sized packs. That will help prevent cross-contamination when people share large containers of condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup.
  • Pack allergic and non-allergic foods separately so one won’t contaminate the other.
  • Use a plastic tablecloth on a picnic table so food particles left by previous picnickers won’t cause allergic reactions among your guests.
  • Carry emergency medications if needed.
  • Bring separate spoons and other utensils for items that are shared to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Grill foods for guests with allergies first, or cook the items on a fresh piece of aluminum foil. Also, allow guests with allergies to dig into the food first, before cross-contamination of items can occur.
  • Bring anti-bacterial wipes and gels.
  • Check your cell phone coverage. If your picnic or barbecue is away from home, be sure you can get a cell phone signal in the area so you can call 911 if someone has a severe allergic reaction.

Also, if you know someone has a severe allergy to a given food, don’t bring it. There are plenty of other dishes to enjoy.

More information

For more about allergies, try the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Source: HealthDay

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