How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic with Food Allergies

Posted by Lisa Ragan on

During this COVID-19 pandemic time many people are experiencing a lot of uncertainty and fear regarding how to keep themselves and loved ones safe and healthy. But what if you and/or your loved ones have food allergies? This can create an additional level of challenges to deal with.

Tips for Staying Allergy-Safe

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help you and/or your loved ones, if you fall into this category:

  • Make sure your EpiPen is not expired, if you require having an EpiPen.

  • Make sure you always have your EpiPen close by and accessible.

  • Read ALL the labels on EVERYTHING! Ingredients can (and do) change without notice.  

  • If you are using grocery delivery or grocery pickup, ensure the items you ordered are EXACTLY what you ordered. Store employees who are doing the shopping for you may accidentally select a different product than what you ordered. Many products' packaging can look similar but have slightly different ingredients which could cause you an unexpected reaction. Alternatively, they may substitute what you ordered with another item, if what you ordered is not available. Check and double check.

  • If you have safe and non-safe food being eaten in the same house, have a system in place that helps prevent potential cross contamination issues. 

    • Safe food items are CLEARLY marked "SAFE".

    • Create a safe area in either a kitchen cabinet or kitchen pantry to keep safe food items separate from the non-safe food items.

    • Clean counter tops before working with safe food items so there are no non-safe crumbs, ingredients, etc. left behind.

    • Wash your hands before you touch safe food products.

    • Especially, wash your hands after you touch non-safe food products, so there is not the potential for the non-safe food residue to be placed on items around your home, which could be touched by the person with the food allergy, and they end up with a reaction. 

    • Don't share the serving utensils being used at meal time between safe and non-safe foods.

  • Respect and honor your food allergies. AVOID the food you know you should. Eating foods, you should not eat will compromise your immune system. Symptoms from food allergies or food intolerance can sometimes appear to be like symptoms for a cold, and now is not the time to have a “cold”. During this pandemic time, you especially do not want to compromise your immune system with foods that will give you symptoms that could lead to actually becoming sick with a cold - or even worse. 

    • For example: If you typically get congested when you eat dairy products, that congestion can lead to excess amounts of phlegm that can mess with your ears, eyes and worse, your sinus and bronchial areas. (The Coronavirus affects lungs, which is a bronchial area…) 

  • Be sure to continue taking your vitamins and/or supplements to keep your immune system healthy. If you are not taking anything, consult with your health care provider regarding what you can take to keep your immune system in tip-top shape (i.e. Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Omega 3, Probiotic, etc.).



April 24, 2020

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