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Monday, November 26, 2012

Survived the holidays with food allergies

(Shutterstock image)

Having dinner with others is always an adventure, especially if you have food allergies. Anytime we have a family dinner or eat out at a restaurant, we have to watch for tree nuts and seafood.

I was at a conference for work last week, and the featured lunch item was salmon. Most places will have chicken as an option, but I had to call and double check just to be sure. When I saw all the plates of grilled salmon the other people were eating, I was a little nervous and asked if they cooked the chicken on a separate grill. The employees there assured me that the chicken was cooked first, then they grilled the salmon.

You can never be too careful, every kitchen is different. And it doesn't hurt to ask how they prepare the food. It CAN hurt if you don't ask (anaphylaxis anyone?!) Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that causes your whole body to react. These are symptoms of anaphylaxis from Webmd's website:

  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Tightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closing
  • Hoarseness or trouble speaking
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat or pulse
  • Skin that itches, tingles, swells, or turns red 
  • Anxiety or dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
The Webmd website recommends getting medical help-FAST!!  They have more steps listed on how to treat anaphylaxis. To learn more,  click here.

And if you have food allergies, keep checking your food and asking questions. I've seen one of my teenagers have anaphylaxis, and I never want to see that again for as long as I live. It's a scary experience, but thankfully he did live through it.  


  1. This is not, strictly speaking, about this post, but I can't figure out another way to contact you. I'm newly diagnosed and having frequent attacks - only one of which has resulted in an ER visit. My problem is I'm at home alone most of the day with a toddler - and my family is concerned about what happens if I have an attack while alone with him or while outside with him. I'm not sure how serious a concern this is. I do have a rescue inhaler. My asthma does seem to be cold-triggered, and I do transport him to preschool and back in the morning. Thoughts?

    1. Wow! Welcome to the "fun" world of asthma! Here's a link to a slideshow on WebMD, that explains about asthma.

      Have you been to see an asthma specialist? I have found that primary care doctors and asthma specialist treat asthma very differently.
      The National Guidelines for treating asthma suggest that if you use your inhaler more than twice a week, your asthma is not in control and you need to "step up" your medication to include a daily, controller medication. Usually an inhaled cortico-steroid. (Flovent, Pulmicort, Asmanex, Qvar) That will keep your airways from swelling which will help if you are exposed to an asthma trigger. It's really important to keep the swelling down in the lungs.
      One of my triggers is cold, so I use a scarf in the winter to breathe through. You can also cup your hands over your nose and mouth to warm up the air before you breathe (and it makes you sound like Darth Vader!)
      Please go see a specialist, make sure you are on the right medicine and hopefully he can educate you too. Are you near any large hospitals? Many of them have asthma educators that can meet with you and educate you about asthma. Here's a link to part of the an educational booklet our hospital uses.

      Hopefully that gets you started, let me know if you have anymore questions