As you progress into adulthood you will need to become more independent and vocal about your allergies. Stop relying on your parents to carry around your EpiPen and to check food packaging. Here is a guide to becoming more responsible for your own allergies…
1. Remember your adrenaline injectors
Remember to bring your EpiPens wherever you go. There are many ways that you can carry your adrenaline injectors discreetly, no matter what the situation – there are no excuses! Let your friends know where it is in case of an emergency. If your friends are unaware of your allergy, let them know what the symptoms are and how to deal with a reaction. To teach your friends how to use your adrenaline injectors: you could use a trainer pen or show them demonstration videos (there are some on the Jext app). Alternatively, it is likely that your injector comes with an instructions guide which you could use. Also, for further information you can visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website.
2. Always check the labels
Whatever you eat make sure to check the labels for your allergy. Even if you have eaten food from that particular brand before you still need to be cautious. Recipes do change from time to time and sometimes labeling for products in different size packs can alter. Don’t risk eating anything that has a ‘may contain’ label, as there will be an alternative which is free from cross-contamination.
3. Eating + Drinking – Out + About
Wherever you eat make sure to check whether the food is free from your allergy. Even if you have eaten that particular dish before, make sure to double check as recipes can change. You could either contact the restaurant in advance, raise the topic with a waiter or see if allergy menus are available.
Take extra care when consuming alcohol. Remember to check the labels, as some wines contain milk and eggs, whilst some gins and liquors contain nuts. Don’t share your drinks, just in case anyone you are with happens to have previously consumed something you are allergic to. Of course, try not to drink too much as you may not take your allergy so seriously.
4. Get Cooking
If you have time, having an allergy is a good excuse to improve your culinary skills. Whilst many pre-packed foods stamp ‘may contain’ labels across their products, you can always make your own which you know are definitely suitable for you. Plus, homemade food is likely to be more nutritious, cheap and can impress your friends, family or housemates. There is a section on the blog for recipes which we will be updating so, why not have a look and see if anything takes your fancy. Also, there are plenty of recipes on the internet and in books targeted at allergy sufferers.