Holidays with Food Allergies
For many of us, the upcoming holidays serve as a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
Inevitably, sharing meals as a group is a joyful part of these traditions. For those with food allergies, extra care and attention is needed to ensure that these holiday traditions are safe.
Below are some ways to ensure that you and/or your loved ones stay safe.
- If you are not hosting, call in advance to learn about the menu. Explain any food allergies you’re managing, and ask about bringing a safe dish for you or your child.
- Politely ask the host to keep packaging, or snap a photo of the ingredients label, so that information is easily available.
- If the meal is being served buffet style, make sure that individuals with food allergies serve themselves first to limit the risk of cross-contamination
- When in doubt, bring a meal you trust, including a favorite treat. Many traditional holiday meals contain highly prevalent allergens such as soy in brines and basting liquids, milk in potato dishes, wheat in gravies and dressings, eggs in sauces and baked goods, nuts in “special occasion” vegetables, pilafs and stuffing, and all of the above in desserts.
- Consider feeding any food allergic members of your family prior to arriving at the host’s home to avoid wanting to nibble without first confirming which foods are safe.
- As always, make sure to have emergency medications available in case of accidental ingestion. Most importantly don’t leave home without you epinephrine auto-injectors.
Taking the above steps should help keep you or loved ones safe during the holiday celebrations!
Ananth Thyagarajan, MD
Allergy Partners of Springfield, Burke, VA
Dr. Thyagarajan (or “Dr. T.”) was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed his allergy and immunology fellowship at Duke University. He practices in Burke, Virginia about 20 minutes outside of Washington, DC. He has earned the esteemed honor of being named a Washintonian Top Doc every year since 2017.
His interest in Allergy and Immunology stems from the science of the immune system and the ability to treat both adults and children. He has numerous publications and abstracts in the fields of allergy and immunology. He has received awards in research, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology Outstanding Abstract Award. His research has been selected to be presented at annual meetings of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. His philosophy is to work with patients and their families in creating an effective and practical treatment regimen. He strongly believes that open and robust communication between patients and providers leads to better health outcomes.