Holidays are a fun time for most, but for allergy sufferers they bring a higher risk of exposure. With holiday treats all around you, especially at a party, staying safe is no easy task. The most important part of managing your allergies at a holiday party is to be prepared before you arrive. But what exactly does being prepared mean?
Create an Action Plan
Before you get to the party, have an action plan of how to avoid allergens. This could mean only eating specific foods, only eating food that you’ve brought if it’s a potluck, or simply being prepared in the event of an allergic reaction. Be sure to bring along your epi-pen or rescue inhaler so that help is close-by if you are exposed to an allergen by accident.
Inform the Hosts
Talk to the host of the party ahead of time and inform them of your allergy. This will allow them to take extra precautions to avoid cross-contaminating foods with allergens and even look up new, allergy free recipes. At a minimum, they’ll be able to tell you what foods to avoid at the party. You can also suggest the host throws a potluck style party where everyone brings their own dish. That way if you’re concerned, you can stick to just eating what you brought from home.
Know Your Treatment Options
If an allergic reaction does occur, you’ll need to receive medical treatment quickly. Even after using an epi-pen or inhaler, you should seek treatment to ensure to reaction is done. Look up the address of the party and compare it to nearby emergency rooms and urgent care centers. Around the holidays you’ll receive much quicker, and more affordable, treatment at an urgent care than an emergency room. If you’re having difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, call 911 right away. If possible, bring someone with you to the party who is aware of your allergies and medical history in case you’re unable to communicate it with the medical staff.
If you think you’re having an allergic reaction but you’re unsure, seek treatment at an urgent care center right away. It’s always better to get checked out and be safe than to wait too long and suffer from respiratory distress. It’s hard to know where potential allergens may be hiding at a holiday party, so pay close attention to how you feel the entire time you’re there!