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Picnic Food Panic

by Tracy Bush, Nutrimom

June is the wonderful time of year when the cold weather finally leaves us and our days are filled with fun, sun and food. How many of us begin to pack up our picnic baskets or join others for a cookout or barbeque? Food is the universal method for people to bond but with food allergies, it can also be something that makes us take a step back to carefully evaluate where our next bite comes from before we even take it.

Safety in Serving
It’s wonderful that so many people are using gloves when they are serving food to minimize cross contamination but even a simple glove can be an allergic trigger for some. Although latex allergies effect less than 1% of people in the United States*, this allergy is just as deadly as a food allergy for those that are affected by it. Symptoms of an allergic reaction after coming into contact with latex can include itching, swelling, sneezing, hives and anaphylaxis and can be life-threatening just like a food allergy reaction.

Pass on Plastic
With so many of us looking to have less dishes, we often use plastic containers, utensils and stock up on bottled water for a way to make cleaning up from a food function easier and faster. But did you know that there are those that are allergic to plastic? Imagine finally finding your allergy safe foods but not being able to eat them because they are in a plastic bowl or not having any utensils to eat them with. No matter how minimal or severe the possible reaction could be, an allergy is an allergy and it’ always bsest to stay on the side of safety.

Bug Spray Can Bug You
Of course the last thing that you want to do is have the insects enjoy your foods (or you) more than you are. Although it’s customary for parents to spray down their families with bug repellents, there have been countless records of certain bug sprays as an allergic trigger. Always read all of your labels, check ingredients and consider alternative methods to keep both the bugs away and your allergic reactions.

Sanitizing Safety
Hand sanitizer seems to have replaced hand washing over the years but just because it’s fast and easy does not mean that this is the most effective method of ridding hands of dirt and allergens. Simply put, hand sanitizer does not remove any dirt or allergic proteins- it simply spread it around. Hand sanitizers also tends to dry out the skin, causing cracks and an instant entryway to your bloodstream- something that nobody wants if they are about to come into contact with a potential allergen. Stick to the basics and wash your hands with warm, soapy water for clean hands and peace of mind.

Take precautionary measures before you venture out:

  • A simple phone call or email asking about the serving conditions only takes a few minutes
  • Bring your own latex-free gloves to ensure your food is a safe food
  • When in doubt, pack your own safe foods to minimize your allergy concerns
  • Consider chemical-free plant-based bug repellant
  • Always have two epinephrine auto injectors because being prepared can save your life or someone else’s

Food allergies are a part of your life but so is staying safe and being prepared will never harm you. Just as you buckle your seat belt before you drive, taking precautions can save your life for any unexpected events that may happen. Be safe, be happy and enjoy your foods.

About the Author
Tracy Bush (also known as Nutrimom ®- Food Allergy Liason) is a Food Allergy Consultant, Author, Blogger, Mother & Self-professed “Kitchen Geek”. Her resources are a mixture of product reviews, recipes and advice mixed with a tinge of humor and can be found at AllergyPhoods.com.

* Information obtained at http://www.aafa.org/page/latex-allergy.aspx