Food Allergy Survival Guide for Memorial Day

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meat on a grill
  1. Memorial Day is approaching, and most Americans have their mouths fixed for hot dogs and hamburgers. For those with food allergies and sensitivities, however, Memorial Day can pose a threat. While many are planning cookouts, food allergy sufferers are planning how to navigate through the weekend without having an allergic reaction. With 15 million Americans suffering from food allergies, holidays like this one are hard to enjoy. The allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers know how difficult food allergies are and have created a survival guide for you to enjoy Memorial Day without the suffering.

Present the Host With a Food Allergy Card Beforehand

It’s important to inform the host of your allergies before the cookout so they have adequate time to prepare. For those with a food coloring allergy or sensitivity, ask the host to offer other options for meat, such as chicken or turkey. Be open about all of your food allergies and don’t be afraid to ask them to verify all the ingredients they plan on using in your meal.

Read Labels on Pre-packaged Food

Allergens can hide in certain foods, such as breads and desserts. If there is a store-bought item on the table, read the ingredient label in its entirety. You should also research hidden allergy names in your food. For example, if you suffer from a corn allergy, it is best to stay away from maltodextrin as it is often made from corn. Being knowledgeable about your food allergies will help you survive this Memorial Day.

Bring Your Own Allergy Friendly Food to the Cookout

When in doubt, bring your favorite dishes that you can enjoy. This way, you know it will be allergy free. If you feel uncomfortable bringing your own plate, offer shareables for everyone to indulge in. “Allergic Living” provides some yummy allergy friendly recipes that you can share with the family.

Be Prepared With Your Epinephrine and Allergy Medication

While avoiding your food allergy is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction, accidents happen and there is always a risk for cross-contamination. It’s important to carry your over-the-counter allergy medication (such as Benadryl) and epinephrine device (such as Epipen or Auvi Q)  to all social events and have an emergency plan in place. Make sure you train friends and family how to administer epinephrine. A Board Certified allergist can demonstrate how to use an EpiPen and also determine which medications you should carry to relieve any mild symptoms related to your food allergies.

Meet the Physician Collaborator

Dr. Moreno is a trained allergist and immunologist that specializes in food allergies, asthma, sinusitis, and hay fever. She is board certified with the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Board of Pediatrics. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Moreno by calling 212-686-4448.