Allergy Foods

Food Allergy Strategies

When a family member suffers from a food allergy, the entire household is affected. A simple solution: keep the allergen out of the home. But of course that's not simple at all--especially if someone has an allergy to a common ingredient, like wheat.

A better strategy is to separate foods into "safe" and "not safe" categories, carefully labeling containers and keeping them on separate shelves in cabinets or the refrigerator. The organization Kids With Food Allergies suggests using red and green self-adhesive stickers, which can be purchased at office-supply stores. Red means "stop," of course, and green means "go."

Consider using separate dishware for nonallergenic items and those that need to be avoided. For toddlers, use the same sippy cup for all drinks at home and away and make sure no other child uses it. In fact, brothers and sisters need to take an active role in keeping the home safe for the allergy sufferer. Stress hand-washing before and after eating or food prep. Guests should be asked to wash up as soon as they enter your home too, as even a small amount of residue from allergens can cause a serious reaction.

Take care to avoid cross-contact--contamination by an allergenic food. Prepare nonallergenic meals first, and never use the same utensils or other kitchen equipment to prepare allergenic and nonallergenic dishes. Be vigilant about cleaning counters and tables with hot, soapy water.

Sources

"Food Allergies: Reducing the Risks"; "Food Allergies: What You Need to Know;" www.fda.gov/forconsumers

Food Allergy Research & Education, www.foodallergy.org

Kids With Food Allergies, www.kidwithfoodallergies.org