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U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Avoid Food Allergies This Holiday Season

Large family eating Christmas dinner

This holiday season, you may be planning to travel and to visit places where you can relax, or you may want to stay at home and spend time with your family and friends. The most significant aspect of holidays is the food. It is what makes a holiday fun and exciting, along with creating great memories with the people you love.

However, this is also the season for food allergies. Because of this, preparing for the holidays with food allergies is a must. You should keep in mind that it is not only you who can suffer from allergies but also your visitors or guests. If you are the guest, there are things you should consider protecting yourself.

Today, we will go over several ways to avoid food allergies this holiday season. Let’s get started!

When Traveling

Plan your route and itinerary ahead of time. There should be places that will cater to your diet and any allergies you might have. You can ask these restaurants what specific ingredients they use to keep you safe. If you happen to be staying in a hotel, it’s best to check again with the hotel staff for food that might be an issue.

However, it is best if you bring some foods which you know are safe for you to eat. It’s easy to pack up items from home and bring them along with you, unless you are traveling on a plane. Even so, you can ask the airlines for a list of ingredients so you are safe.

The main concern here is that is if someone is unsure what is in the ingredients of a specific food, and if you have any doubt that it may be something you may be allergic to, then you should avoid this food.

Dining at Home

You may also have a choice to spend holidays at home. Before you invite your friends, ask them or try to know what kind of food they prefer. Also, ask if anyone who is coming might have any food allergies in order to help cater towards their needs.

If you have a friend or family member who does have a food allergy, then you should have a variety of food ready and always read the labels to see the instructions and indications about allergic reactions.

Dinning at Your Friend’s House

Of course, you cannot just demand for something. As courtesy, you should make your friend feel you appreciate whatever he or she has prepared for. The best way is to offer for help. Go to your friend’s home early and suggest foods to prepare.

You can tell your friend ahead of time about your allergy. If you visit another person whom you are not that very close, you can bring some food or snacks for you or for your kids in case you run out of choices.

If you receive an invitation, this is your chance to politely ask what foods to expect and mention you have some allergies. There is nothing wrong with being straightforward than being too late.

Food allergies are a major concern for a lot of people these days, especially during the holiday season. To enjoy the season and all it has to offer then make sure you eat what’s safe for you, and if you have a friend or relative with a food allergy make sure to make them food that is safe for them and always remember to read the label. Nevertheless, there are still more ways to navigate the holidays with food allergies.

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Common Food Allergies


Image is from FARE

Theoretically, any food you consume would cause an allergy. However, only a handful of foods can cause around 90 percent of allergic reactions to food. The substance responsible for allergic reactions in drinks or foods is known as an “allergen.” In regards to food, almost all allergens are proteins. However, for most individuals, these proteins are not allergens since their immune system hardly reacts to them

The Most Common Allergenic Foods

These are also referred to as the ‘big eight.’ They are;

  • milk
  • wheat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • peanuts (groundnuts)
  • soy
  • shellfish (including crab, shrimps, and mussels)
  • nuts from trees (including almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and walnuts)

Most allergic reactions to food among children are to soya, milk, peanuts, eggs, wheat, and nuts from trees. Most children seize being allergic to these foods early on in their childhood. A majority of adults typically react to fish, nuts, shellfish, citrus fruit, wheat, and peanuts.

Fish allergy

Fish allergy can be responsible for causing severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Children are less likely to have an allergic reaction to fish and shellfish than adults. This could be attributed to the likeliness of adults having eaten fish more often than children. If you get allergic to one type of fish such as haddock, then you are likely to react to other types of fish including cod, whiting, mackerel, and hake. The reason for this is that the allergens contained in these fish are quite similar. Unfortunately, cooking does not terminate fish allergens. In fact, if you have a fish allergy, you might be allergic to cooked fish but not raw fish.

Egg allergy

Egg allergy is more common in childhood just like most food allergies. By the age of three, almost half the children who have it grow out of it. Egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis in a few cases. There are three proteins in the egg white that would make you get an egg allergy namely: ovalbumin, conalbumin, and ovomucoid. Cooking can help you destroy some of these allergens, but not others. Therefore, you might find yourself reacting to both cooked and raw eggs.

Occasionally, you might find yourself reacting to eggs because you are allergic to turkey, quail or chicken meat, or even bird feathers. This is typically called bird-egg syndrome.

Milk allergy

This is the most common food allergy in childhood as it affects 2-7% of babies below one-year-old. Milk allergy is prevalent among babies with atopic dermatitis. A reaction is typically triggered by small amounts of milk that can either be passed from feeding cow’s milk to the baby or through the mother’s breast milk from dairy products she has consumed. While most children grow out of milk allergy by age three, a fifth of children who are allergic to cow’s milk remain allergic to it even as adults

In most cases, the symptoms of milk allergy are mild and can affect any part of your body. They include;

  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • vomiting and
  • difficulty in breathing

Milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis in very few cases.

You can be allergic to either casein or whey, or even both of these allergens. Heat treatment like pasteurization changes whey so if you are sensitive to whey, you might not react to pasteurized milk. However, heat treatment doesn’t affect casein, so if you are allergic to casein, you are more likely to react to all types of milk and its products.

Some highly hydrolyzed milk formulas might be suitable for babies with cow’s milk allergy.

The food allergies named above are just a few of the many affecting humans.

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