Make Valentine’s Day Allergy Free

February 8, 2016

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, schools across the country will throw class parties and couples will show their affection by taking their dates to fancy dinners and giving tokens of their love in the form of chocolate and fine food. On such a happy occasion, full of love and good intentions, it’s important to make yourself aware of the food allergies and sensitivities all around you, because honestly, there aren’t many things worse than tragedy at a celebratory event. The important thing to remember is that food allergies can be avoided. If your kids plan to take special treats to their friends at school or you find yourself going to dinner with someone new, it’s important to know about some of the most common allergies found in candy and food. If you’re aware, there’s much less of a chance you’ll serve something that could be potentially harmful.

About 1 percent of the overall population, including 8 percent of children, lives with a food allergy. A food allergy is the immune system’s overreaction to a protein found in a particular food. The most common foods responsible for the majority of food allergies are cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. With food allergies, symptoms can occur with exposure to even a tiny amount of an allergen. An allergic reaction might cause hives, red itchy skin, itchy nose and eyes, vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea within minutes of eating a certain food.

Not to scare you, but to make you aware, every year up to 200 people die from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can cause shortness of breath, low blood pressure, vomiting and swelling. So, to make this plain and simple, if you don’t know the children or people you’re giving candy to well enough to know for certain they don’t have food allergies, then ask them!

Food items commonly associated with Valentine’s Day include milk chocolates, candies with nuts or peanut butter, and several shellfish items, including lobster, shrimp, crab, clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. The list goes on. If you plan ahead Valentine’s Day can be enjoyable for everyone. Kind in mind, there are many, many options to gift and serve those with food allergies, it just takes thoughtful planning and mindfulness.

Unfortunately accidents happen. When they do, Texas MedClinic is here to help. In the case of food allergies, or anything else, if it is a life threatening emergency, you must go to your closest emergency room. But, if the reaction is topical (from contact) or much less severe, come in and see us. Our physicians are here from 8am-11pm seven days a week and our staff would be happy to help. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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