Food Allergy Action MonthBy Leslie Terjesen on Friday, April 29, 2016
Tips for Keeping Safe at Home
- Learn how to read food labels and make sure everyone in the family can, too. Keep our How to Read a Label fact sheet pinned up on your refrigerator or on your pantry door.
- All family members should wash their hands before and after eating to avoid the transfer of food allergens.
- Scrub down counters and tables after food preparation and after meals. To effectively remove food protein from surfaces, wash the surfaces with soap and water.
- Practice proper food preparation to avoid cross-contact. Thoroughly clean counters, cutting boards, knives, slicers, spoons, measuring cups, mixing bowls and other food prep equipment between foods. Have separate sets of utensils for handling safe and unsafe foods. Some families use separate dishes (usually designated by different colors), too.
- Separate safe and unsafe food by designating specific shelves in the pantry and refrigerator and storing all foods in sealed containers.
- Label either the problem foods or the safe ones — whichever is easier.
- Create allergen-free zones in your home, or restrict eating to the kitchen and dining room only.
- Beware of airborne allergens when cooking; keep a safe distance from the cooking area and allow the air to clear for 30 minutes afterward before entering the room.
- For young children, fixed seating arrangements at the table may be helpful. This will discourage younger siblings from sharing “tastes.”
- Stock up on the essentials and have safe substitutes on hand.
- Assemble an emergency kit that includes your medications, auto-injector, and Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. You might want to make two kits – one that stays in the house in a convenient, safe place that everyone knows, and one that travels with you.