Food allergies can cause very serious reactions that may become life-threatening. Most children diagnosed with food allergies experience reactions to one or more of these foods: Milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. After a diagnosis, it can take a while for a family to adjust to the necessary lifestyle changes. The physicians and nurses at MountainView Hospital are here to help your family with any allergy-related challenges you may experience. We also offer 24/7 emergency care in the event of a severe reaction.
Avoiding food allergens
Severe reactions are treatable with an epinephrine autoinjector, but there’s no cure for the allergy itself. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid all exposure to the food allergen. Some families decide to make their entire household allergen-free, while others carefully separate allergen-free foods from foods that may cause reactions.
Whichever approach your family takes, whomever is responsible for purchasing food for the household must carefully read all nutrition labels to determine if a product is allergen-free or not. Read the label every time, even if you’ve previously purchased that specific product, as manufacturers may change their ingredients from time to time.
If your family isn’t eliminating the food allergen from the entire household, each family member must be diligent about avoiding cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination occurs when a food is placed on one surface, like a cutting board, and then another food is placed on that surface. The second food will pick up trace amounts of the first food. This can also occur with other items, like serving utensils and knives.
To prevent cross-contamination, follow these steps:
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after preparing food
- Wash surfaces with soap and water before and after preparing food
- Use separate utensils for preparing safe and unsafe food
- Use color-coded stickers to identify safe food products
Going to school
Many school districts already have food allergy management plans. As soon as a child is diagnosed, parents should get in contact with the administration to discuss the child’s medical needs. The school must keep an epinephrine autoinjector easily accessible in the event of a severe allergic reaction.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a severe allergic reaction, administer epinephrine and call 911 to request emergency care. Non-emergent inquiries about the healthcare services available at MountainView Hospital may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 962-5021. Our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas provides superior, patient-centered care for individuals at every stage of life.