Some tips about food allergies

• Most serious reactions to foods happen away from home two reasons: (1) you don’t ask if a food item contains the substance your child is allergic to and/or (2) you don’t have epinephrine with you. If you have a child with food allergies, never leave home without your Epi-Pen or Twinject.

• Since manufacturers can change ingredients at any time, read product labels every time you go to the grocery store.

• Epinephrine loses its effectiveness if it’s kept in an environment that is either too hot or too cold. Never leave an epinephrine auto-injector in your car during the day.

• Not all ambulances are equipped with epinephrine. Therefore, if you call 911 for an allergic emergency, make sure they send a life-support unit.

• When your child’s Epi-Pen or Twinject expires, practice using the device on an orange or grapefruit. Although these devices come with trainers, it may make you more confident if you practice with the real thing.

• Bring expired epinephrine autoinjectors to your doctor’s office so they can be disposed of with medical waste.

• Buy (and read) a copy of Food Allergies for Dummies by Dr. Robert Wood, a national authority on food allergies.

• Become a member of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network