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Food Allergy Chronicles: Tip # 2: Train Your People

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food allergy chronicles

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TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE 

Lack of knowledge and information is the most dangerous thing for an allergic person. If the people around you do not understand allergies and anaphylaxis, things can get very dangerous very quickly. There are a few things you can do to help everyone around you better understand. Cross contamination is a huge thing. Your friends and family need to know you don’t, you can’t, you will not, share food. If you have a specific toaster, cutting board, product, etc., it needs to be respected. My family keeps a separate everything for me. I have my own butter, my own toaster, my own cutting board. My food is kept sealed, labeled and in a refrigerator in the garage among many others things, because the worse of my allergies is wheat and we worry about cross-contamination. Anaphylaxis because of cross contamination can happen because of the tiniest little crumb. Because someone put their knife that buttered their bread in my butter.

Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? Easy because you’re in charge. 99% of the time that’s true. You can control what happens for your allergy sufferer in your own home. 

Enter the dinner party. The huge family gathering. The neighbors over for a meal or a party. Boom ~ cross contamination can happen in a split second and it has in my house. It happens so quickly even with the most careful of families. No matter how careful we are, no matter how much we prepare, when “outsiders” (non-allergy family and friends) come into the mix ~ accidents happen. Unfortunately those accidents can be life-threatening. When we have large gatherings now, I no longer sit at the main table. I have chosen to sit at another smaller table (usually with my niece) so there is no risk of anyone using the wrong spoon, the wrong butter, the wrong anything. It is usually done completely by accident in a split second. That’s all it takes.

Your friends and family should be able to ~ MUST be able to ~ recognize the signs of a reaction. As I have said before, my 7 year old niece can, so it’s safe to assume an adult can. Your people MUST know where your auto-injectors are and how to use them. Epi-Pens come with trainers, USE THEM. If you’ve misplaced your trainer you can get a new one on the Epi-Pen website. Your people need to understand the seriousness of the situation and be able to react. If everyone is trained what to do ahead of time, they will react better and quicker when they are required to.

As I said in Tip #1 (Always Be Prepared): We are different and that’s O.K. Own it. The more comfortable you are with your situation, the more likely your people will be comfortable with your situation. If they are comfortable and knowledgeable, you will be safer in the long run.

Because my food allergies are only a part of the allergies I suffer from, we also have other standard practices in place in our home:

  • Installation by a licensed company of an air purification system on our HVAC systems
  • We all use the same shampoo and soap – one that does not cause a reaction
  • Everyone’s clothes are washed in a detergent that is safe for my skin
  • We NEVER open windows during pollen season EVER.
  • No one wears or sprays perfume or cologne in our house
  • Our house is kept as dust free as possible. EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING is vacuumed as often as possible. Every corner, every piece of furniture, every window, blind, shade, every mattress. The only curtains that are used are washable curtains that can be taken down and washed regularly.

TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE. Your people are your family, your friends, your co-workers. Anyone you deal with on a regular basis. The better they are trained, the safer you will be.

Gluten-Free-Cross-Contamination-Tips

Keeping your allergy sufferer safe at home should be a top priority. Home is their safe haven. Home is where everyone should understand their allergies and their safety should be second nature to everyone that lives there.

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