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Food Allergies and Holiday Parties: A Guide for Keeping Safe

December 2018 Share with   facebook   twitter

Helpful tips from Food Allergy Canada

The holidays are usually an exciting time, but for families managing food allergies, holiday parties can be a challenge. To help you prepare, here are some tips, whether you are celebrating with family, friends or co-workers.

If you’re a host
Be Allergy Aware. Ask your guests about food allergies in advance, because they may not volunteer that information (especially in a workplace setting).  By planning ahead, it will make it possible for everyone to enjoy the party.
If you’re a guest
Be prepared. Carry your epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen®/AUVI-Q®) and wear your medical identification (e.g. MedicAlert). Let your host know about your allergies well in advance and offer to help with the menu or offer to bring your own food/snacks. If the event is in a public space (such as a restaurant or pub), call ahead at off-peak hours to inform them of your allergies and arrive early to speak to the chef/manager.
If you have an allergic reaction
Take action. If you/your child has a severe allergic reaction, use the auto-injector immediately and call 9-1-1. Get to hospital by ambulance. Don’t try to drive yourself especially if you’re the one having a reaction.
Reach out. A person having a reaction should not be alone. Have someone ride along in the ambulance with you. Ask a friend to stay the night after you have been released from hospital.
Follow up. Make an appointment to see your allergist if you have any concerns or questions following the reaction. When you have the time, follow up with your host as well.
A New Year
Reflect. Whether you’re a host or a guest, the post-holiday season is a great time for reflecting on the holidays: what went well and what could be done differently next year. Take stock of your allergy plan. And while you’re at it, check your auto-injector’s expiry date. If it is close to expiring, get a new one. It’s the best gift you could ever give yourself.
Visit for more tips and resources, including downloadable facts/tips sheets you can share with others.
Food Allergy Canada is a nationally registered charity committed to educating, supporting, and advocating for the more than 2.6 million Canadians with food allergy. Sign-up to receive the latest allergy-related alerts and updates.
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