Every family has different routines and lifestyles. And so, although everyone with food allergies must avoid their allergen, exactly how this is accomplished can vary from home to home. It can be tricky to make the transition to living with food allergies , but the team at West Hills Hospital is always here to help you. Our physicians and nurses can help your family figure out how to manage allergens in a way that fits your lifestyle, and we’re here with emergency care when accidental exposure happens.
Deciding whether to eliminate unsafe foods
For some families, it makes sense to ban allergens from the home altogether. This can be a good option when the child with food allergies is too young to understand the importance of avoiding unsafe foods. However, it’s possible that making the home an allergen-free zone will make it more difficult for the child to cope with the allergy outside the home.
When making this decision, you may wish to consider these factors:
- Whether a food ban would place hardship on the rest of the family
- Whether the child is capable of learning how to manage the allergy
- The ease with which an allergen(s) could be completely substituted
Purchasing and storing food
Regardless of whether the home is an allergen-free zone or not, it’s always necessary to read food labels before purchasing them. Do this every time, even if you’ve purchased the product before. Manufacturers have been known to change their ingredients from time to time.
If your home isn’t completely allergen-free, your family must follow a strict system of separating safe and unsafe foods. Use color-coded stickers to indicate the safe (or the unsafe) foods. Keep all foods in sealed containers, and store safe foods on separate shelves, away from unsafe foods.
Cross-contamination is a serious threat for people with food allergies. To prevent unsafe foods from contaminating safe foods, your family should follow these steps:
- Scrub hands before and after preparing food
- Scrub kitchen surfaces before and after preparing food
- Scrub the table before and after eating meals
- Prepare safe foods on a counter away from unsafe foods
- Use separate utensils, cutting boards, knives and measuring cups
Emergency care is available 24/7 at West Hills Hospital for patients who develop serious or life-threatening allergic reactions. Call 911 for all true medical emergencies. General healthcare questions about our patient-focused and compassionate medical services can be directed to a registered nurse in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.