Christmas is a time for celebration, but it can also be a time of great stress because of the demands of family and friends.
Allergies are common during the festive season and can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Food allergies can make you feel very ill, even if you have only eaten a small amount. Your throat may start to itch or you may develop swelling in your face, eyes and lips. Food allergies are usually diagnosed by an allergist, who will examine your medical history, discuss your symptoms and perform tests to determine what type of allergy you have.
If you suffer from any food allergies this Christmas, there are some simple steps you can take to make things easier:
- Warn guests about any food restrictions in advance. You should also ask them to bring their own food if needed.
- Make sure that all food is clearly labelled as gluten free, nut free or dairy free. This will help avoid any confusion when serving up the food and may mean that some people choose not to eat it if they know they have an allergy.
- Check ingredients in store-bought items before buying them. If there is no label on an item, ask the person serving what ingredients are used in making it so you know whether or not it may be safe for your guests with allergies.
- Make sure the house is clean and free from dust mites and other allergens that could trigger an allergic reaction during the holidays.
- Keep pets out of bedrooms where your guests will be sleeping. Pets carry pollen on their fur which can cause sneezing, coughing and wheezing in those sensitive to them.
- Keep an emergency plan on hand at all times (phone numbers for emergency services and local doctors).
- Always read food labels carefully before buying any packaged items as sometimes allergens are not listed on the label.