If you or your child has been diagnosed with a food allergy, you’ll often hear the word “avoidance.” That’s because there is no cure for food allergy, and avoidance of the food allergen is the only way to protect against a food allergy reaction. The symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe, including anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset, life-threatening and may cause death.
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Once you have been diagnosed with a food allergy, your allergist will likely prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector and provide you with instructions on how to use it. When getting your prescription filled, check the expiration date of your auto-injector and ask about whether your pharmacy offers an auto prescription renewal reminder service. As an extra precaution, note the expiration date on your calendar, and be sure to replace all devices when they have expired.
Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector or have immediate access to it. Seconds count in cases of anaphylaxis, and epinephrine is the only medication that can reverse the symptoms of anaphylaxis. If you have multiple auto-injectors, store them at room temperature and do not expose them to extreme cold or hot temperatures.
Ask your allergist to provide a written food allergy action plan, outlining the treatment course you should follow in the event of an allergic reaction. Make sure school staff and all caregivers have a copy of this plan. To help communicate your food allergy to others during an emergency, wear medical identification jewelry.
These preparations are essential – no matter how carefully you avoid your allergen, accidents can happen, so be prepared.