This has been an unbelievable journey of highs and lows in terms of the press, social media, leadership and data. There have been times when I feel like an emotional pinball machine and I am sure many of you can relate. Understanding what factual information, I need to know and then filtering out the rest of the “drama” has helped me keep a sense of balance in my life. We will get through this! My goal is to make your journey less stressful through information, education and support (hopefully with some smiles).
I believe this is a good time for an update on key items that are relevant to those of us in the Food Allergy Community. The most important relates to the revised recommendations from FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) on Emergency Plans for Anaphylactic Reactions. Due to the risks of exposure to COVID-19 in hospital settings, FARE has put forth new guidelines for Home Management of Anaphylaxis during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This plan adopts a home assessment piece and you should carefully consider what is right for your needs. The full detailed information and downloaded diagram are available on FARE’s website at: https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/home-management-anaphylaxis-during-covid-19-pandemic.
I encourage you to review the new guidelines and consult with your medical team about your emergency plan. If you change your existing plan make sure everyone is aware of the new plan. Especially now more than ever, it is vital to have 2 auto-injectors of epinephrine accessible at all times.
Food is at the center of our world and we all are keeping a close eye on our key products. If you have essential food products you need, try to have at least two of each item. If your local large supermarket is sold out you can check your local specialty stores, warehouse food clubs, online stores, contact the food manufacturer directly, restaurant suppliers and restaurants themselves. In some cases, they will hold aside a few items for you due to your food allergies. You can also access your local allergy support groups and post online what item(s) you need. People have shipped items from one state to another or have been able to offer up an alternative that can replace a needed item. This trying time has proven that the food allergy community is strong and a great source of support.
Most of us are cooking at home for meals and snacks which allows us to have more control over the safety of our food. I find peace in this aspect of staying at home. There are many restaurants that do offer curbside, drive up and delivery options for food. Make sure you are comfortable with the restaurant and that they can make safe food for you and your family. Ideally speak with the person in charge of the cooking and make sure your allergies are noted and how they will be dealt with in a safe way. If there is any doubt in your mind, it is better to pass on that restaurant and be safe.
Grocery delivery and curbside pick- up are also part of our everyday world.
Be clear with the product item you are ordering that it is for a medical food allergy and state you wish no substitutions or if you can offer an exact product name, flavor and size that can be substituted. It is best if the shopper can text or call you directly if a change needs to be made on a particular product. Remember to check the labels to make sure nothing has changed and it is still safe for your household.
Finally, take time to process your feelings and create outlets for relaxation and fun. Part of keeping our immune systems strong is good food, sleep, exercise and mental health. I have included resources to keep you updated on food allergies and COVID-19. If you need any support from recipes, cooking, shopping or emotional support please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Safe and Healthy!
- FARE Resources for those with Food Allergies COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19 Resources
- Food Allergy Wizards Blog Posts of Recipes and Resources