Yum. Holiday cookies and cakes. Eggnog and mulled cider. All the gatherings and parties happening and all the lovely food being served. Our Extension office party is today and we will being enjoying pot-luck, from moose meat stew and shrimp to Buche de Noel; a hearty spread. I brought some peanuts in, then wondered about allergies. Shellfish and nuts… I don’t think anybody here is allergic to either shrimp or peanuts, but you never know. I am allergic to strawberries and have to be really careful with jellied cookies and fruit spreads of unknown construction. For prevention, I ask about the ingredients, but very specifically….” This looks lovely, are there any strawberries in it? I am allergic to strawberries. ” If there is no one to ask, then I simply don’t take the chance and won’t eat it.
Most people are happy to tell you if there are some or is a small chance that there is an allergen. One miss-bite and I could blow right up like a puffer fish. Not all food allergy reactions are the same. One time you might have these symptoms:
- Skin reactions such as hives, redness or swelling
- Itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting
- Tightening of the chest
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Runny or stuffy nose
Food allergies can sometimes increase in symptoms with exposure:
Anaphylaxis signs and symptoms can include:
- Constriction of airways
- Swelling of your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
- A severe drop in blood pressure (shock)
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
It is helpful to know when there is an allergy vs. a food intolerance, or a plain old aversion. For example I am allergic to strawberries, I have an intolerance to hot peppers, I have an aversion to tripe.
When hosting an event, have a small card with the ingredients or disclaimer… contains peanuts (allergen) contains milk (lactose intolerance). Most people won’t get near foods they don’t like, but not everybody is aware of what is in seasonal dishes.