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Holiday Tips for People With Food Allergies

While this time of year can often bring good tidings and holiday cheer, it can also bring a certain level of anxiety and special concerns for people who suffer from food allergies. Traveling to visit family, holiday parties, and seasonal baked goods can pose many challenges and can be potential barriers to fully enjoying what the holiday season has to offer. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is offering tips to help those with food allergies overcome these challenges, and get in the holiday mood.

“The holiday season brings about special challenges for families and people with food allergies,” said FAAN founder and CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong. “Every year we provide advice and suggestions to encourage everyone with food allergies to continue to be diligent about their food choices during the holidays, but also to remember to have fun – getting into the holiday spirit is important too!”

According to the FAAN, here are a few tips that can help when traveling to a friend or families house:

- No matter what your holiday plans are, always have your epinephrine on hand. Make sure to plan ahead when traveling during the holidays so that family and friends will know of your allergy and the proper treatment plan in case of a reaction.

- Clearly explain to your host what your food concerns are, and how you can work with them to make sure there will be no surprise allergic reactions. Make it clear to your host that you or your family member can die from an allergic reaction.

- Send your holiday host food label reading information ahead of time. Many have found FAAN’s “How to Read A Label” useful. This can help your host make intelligent choices when picking out the food to serve at your holiday gatherings.

- Suggest some delicious safe menu ideas for the duration that you’re there, and cook together. Bring your host a gift of home-made allergy-free treats to show them that allergy free foods can still be delicious.

- To minimize the impact on the host you can also bring your own food, or ship special food ahead of time.

- When you arrive, spend some time in the kitchen ahead of any planned festivities so you can designate an “allergy-free area” in the kitchen, or prepare some safe foods.

Holiday parties can also pose similar challenges. To help celebrate the season at social gatherings follow these tips:

- Eat before you get there so you won’t be hungry or tempted to eat anything with unknown ingredients.
- If you are going to a house party, talk to the host about the food served and the ingredients used. Bring along some tasty allergen-free foods to share.

By following these tips and preparing ahead of time for any possibilities, you can still enjoy a reaction-free holiday season and have some tasty allergen-free holiday treats to share with friends and family.

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