Food allergies are quite common. If you or a family member has a food allergy, it’s important to practice strict allergy management guidelines in the home. Exercising caution to avoid the allergen can help reduce the risk that the patient will require emergency care for a life-threatening allergic reaction . However, if an allergic reaction does occur, the emergency care physicians at Regional Medical Center of San Jose are available 24/7.
Prepare for Emergencies
Although a food allergy management plan can help your family avoid emergencies, it’s still best to be prepared for serious reactions to occur-just in case. Your doctor can provide a written emergency action plan that details the steps you should take in the event of accidental exposure. Post this plan in a common area of the home. Keep your child’s auto-injector and other medicines available for use, but out of reach of children.
Understand Food Labels
Packaged food products are legally required to include information about the presence of allergens . Some labels also caution consumers about whether the product was made on equipment that may have been cross-contaminated with the allergen. Read each food label carefully before you purchase a product and consider talking to a dietitian for further guidance.
Organize the Kitchen
You will need to decide whether to completely ban the allergen from your home or whether non-allergic family members will be allowed to consume the food. If you choose the latter, it’s time to organize your kitchen. Keep “safe” and “unsafe” foods completely separate and well-labeled. If the allergic patient is a child, make sure he or she understands which refrigerator shelf or pantry area contains “safe” foods.
If some family members do continue to consume the allergen, then it’s necessary to avoid sharing utensils, cups, plates, and similar items. Scrub each item well and wash down all kitchen surfaces with soap and water after use. All family members should wash their hands thoroughly before and after eating and preparing food.
In the event that a life-threatening allergic reaction does occur in the San Jose area, please call 911 without delay. The emergency care team at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is always available to respond swiftly to allergic reactions, stroke cases, adverse heart events, and other medical emergencies. For non-emergent inquiries about our hospital services, you can contact a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881.