Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tip of the Day: Overcoming Fears About Food Allergies

How do you overcome your fears about food allergies:

I don't know about you, but sometimes I have let my fears about food allergies hold me back from doing the things I love to do, like eating out and vacationing. The fear I have especially flares up after having a severe allergic reaction. I have experienced a few near death moments and sometimes I have been too scared to eat for weeks after one of those.
I also have been known to be afraid of large crowds where I can't see an easy and quick way out to get to a hospital if I need one in an emergency. And even the thought of getting on a plane where I am 35,000 feet above a hospital has been known to scare me to the point of crying and begging the flight attendant to open the plane door to let me off.
But it really doesn't need to be like this. Living with severe food allergies can easily cause panic, fear and stress, but I believe there are ways to cope and handle these issues surrounding allergic reactions and food allergies.
1. Always carry your Benadryl and Epi Pens.
2. Wear a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace at all times.
3. Tell every friend, relative and co-worker about your food allergies and what to do in case of an emergency (If your friend or relative is not interested in being aware or helping you in an emergency then I think you should let that person go. Co-workers need to be informed regardless of their interest in your health.)
4. Dine in restaurants where the wait staff and kitchen staff care and cater to food allergies.
5. When making travel arrangements call the airline and hotel and inform them of your food allergies and ask what they are able to do to ensure your safety.
6. When you go to a large concert or event buy seat tickets near an exit. Never put yourself in a position where it would take you pushing your way through a crowd of 100 or more people to get help if by chance someone dropped a peanut on you at a ball game.
7. Mentally prepare yourself when dining out, taking a trip or going to a concert. Think of your action plan of how you will handle an emergency before you leave your house. Be prepared.
8. In case of an allergic reaction, remember to always stay calm. Going into panic mode during a reaction will only make the reaction worse. Just breathe and take the steps you need to in order to survive.

Thinking about all of this can be overwhelming for someone who has just been diagnosed or has lived with it for years, but it's necessary.

If you have a plan and are prepared, your fears should subside. I can't say they will be eliminated, but I think being prepared and feeling safe wherever you go is a big help in healing your fears.

Nicolle Avery

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