Dining Out Safety Tips for Allergies

AllergiesA food allergy is the body’s misguided immune response to a harmless food item. However it can trigger an allergic response even if a tiny amount of the allergen enters the body. This does not mean that you must give up dining at your favorite restaurants.

Here are some important tips for safe dining:

  • Restaurants use common pots and pans for several dishes
  • The chef may not be totally aware of the ingredients and hidden sources of allergens in packaged food that forms the basis of every restaurant meal.
  • You may feel odd mentioning your food allergy since you want to avoid special treatment.
    You can manage the food allergy properly if you prepare in advance. Follow these steps to an enjoyable meal at any restaurant.
  • Select a restaurant that specializes in allergen free food. Ask your doctor or nutritionist to recommend such restaurants if they exist in your town or locality.
  • Order from the menu and avoid buffets. In a buffet the utensils are close together and people may mix spoons when serving themselves increasing the chances of contamination and food allergy.
  • When you are aware of your food allergy, it is best to avoid restaurants specializing in sea food and food items containing eggs, milk, nuts, soy or your specific allergen.
  • Always question the chef about ingredients in the dishes and ask him to recommend dishes without those ingredients. Specify that no packaged ingredients be used as they are hidden sources of allergens and can trigger an allergic reaction. Restaurants will always accommodate a special request for allergen free food as they want to retain you as their customer.
  • Go for simple dishes with minimum ingredients that have less chance of containing allergens in the form of preservatives. Similarly order sauce by the side and not with the main dish to minimize your risk of food allergy.
  • If you dine out regularly the best alternative is to make a chef card. This card clearly lists the food items and their derivatives that you are allergic to. Present this in advance to the chef or at the start of the order so that you get a wholesome and delicious meal. Make several copies of this chef card in an attractive manner to brighten up your dining experience.

What to do in case of an allergic reaction in a restaurant

  • To be on the safe side always carry emergency medication like an epinephrine injection that someone can give you in case of a severe anaphylactic reaction.
  • Always visit a restaurant with friends or family so that they can help you in case of an allergic reaction.
  • Keep a card in your wallet that indicates your allergies so that you can get immediate and proper medical care in case if an allergic reaction.

A food allergies does not mean a life of home -cooked food. You can enjoy dining out if you keep the above steps in mind to protect yourself from the food allergen