Tips for keeping holiday allergies in check
Everyone loves a good present during the holidays.
But not every surprise is a good one. For those with severe allergy concerns, the holidays and their massive spreads of homemade goods with uncertain ingredients can be a minefield.
Even so, there are simple things you can do to help friends and family members avoid any allergy incidents during the holiday season.
Try these three things this season:
Know (and respect) the condition: Make sure you write down your guests’ allergens so you don’t forget them when you start preparing treats. Always take your guests’ allergy requests seriously. Something you’ve consumed hundreds of times safely might cause a reaction in a guest. For some, even the smallest amount can lead to an emergency room visit.
Read the ingredients: When making your favorite Christmas cookies, be sure to check the ingredients. Many ingredients contain trace amounts of allergens like nuts that for most people are never noticed but for others are a major concern. Check to make sure you aren’t unknowingly serving allergens to guests who might have a reaction, and make sure to check the ingredients every time you cook, as formulas can change.
Keep the kitchen (and utensils) clean: Wash your hands thoroughly before and after making each dish. Make allergy-friendly foods first, then seal them away. Never cross-contaminate foods by using a utensil from an allergy-causing dish in one that you intend to keep free of a certain allergen. Keep, store and serve the allergy-causing and allergy-free foods in different parts of the house to avoid potential confusion. Once you’ve mastered these tips, encourage your guests to follow the same rules. If you’re having a potluck, make sure that everyone knows what allergens to avoid, how to check for their presence and how to avoid cross-contamination.