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Monday, September 26, 2011

Anaphylaxis (allergic reactions)

I know I have blogged about this before, but food allergies are still such a part of our lives. Hubby and I both have allergies, along with all 3 of our kids. But food allergies are a problem for myself and Son #2. There are various things that can trigger anaphylaxis such as:

  • Foods - peanuts, treenuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds), eggs, milk, fish and shellfish (shrimp and lobster) and soy. To learn more about food allergies, click here.

  • Medications - ibuprofen (Advil), asprin, antibiotics and anesthetics. Click here to learn more.

  • Insect stings - yellow jackets, wasps, bees, hornets and fire ants. Click here to learn how to avoid stings.

  • Latex - disposable gloves, syringes, and IV tubes. Click here for more information.

I am allergic to seafood, and it can show up in the strangest places. I was at a catered lunch that asked for an RSVP, and I did mention that I was allergic to seafood. However, after I scooped a little pulled pork on my plate, I came upon the baked beans. As I put the ladel in the dish, I was shocked to find shrimp! I've never seen shrimp in BBQ beans before, and especially since I mentioned that I was allergic to seafood! I quicky set the ladel back down and scanned the other foods. I looked at the ladel that was in the beans and was hoping no one had used that in the pulled pork (you never know.....) since they had tongs for the meat.

I was okay eating the meat, but I was really frustrated. Why add shrimp to beans? And why didn't they have signs saying "allergy alert-seafood present?" Especially since we had to RSVP for the luncheon and list any allergies we had.

The problem with food allergies is that you can never fully relax. Especially if you are eating out at a restaurant, someone else's house, or even a catered lunch at a conference. We're forever inspecting our food for seafood and tree nuts. It also helps if we serve our plates first, before anyone starts mixing up different serving utensils for different foods. And many platters we will completely avoid, especially desserts. It's surprising how many desserts call for tree nuts in the recipe. And they pile all of the desserts on one tray, some have nuts, and some don't. But you can't chance it. There is always a risk of cross contamination. How do we know they used a separate knife to slice up the desserts without nuts and with nuts? Most people don't even think about that.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of the allergies listed above. You should ALWAYS have an EpiPen with you. And if you have to use it, call 911! The airways can close off very quickly, and it's best to let the ambulance take you to the hospital-they can run red lights. Click here for more information about allergies and EpiPens. They even have an app for your cell phone!

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