Summer is here, and warm and sunny days are ahead of us for the next couple of months — meaning lots of barbecues, outdoor parties, and picnics.
While these gatherings are a favorite for many, some summer festivities can be dangerous for people who suffer from severe food allergies, which are more than six million Americans. If accidently exposed to allergens, they can experience severe allergic reactions, commonly known as anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a type of allergic reaction that occurs within seconds and can cause airway obstruction, skin and intestinal irritation, and altered heart rhythms. It can come on suddenl escalate quickly, and what's worse, can be deadly. Insect stings and party balloons are some other allergens to watch out for in outdoor settings, but food is the most common trigger for these kinds of allergic reactions.
If you suffer from anaphylaxis, you can still attend parties and picnics with friends and family. But to be safe, you and those around you should watch out for allergens that could be hiding in your food. That means knowing which ingredients are used in dishes, and maybe even bringing your own.
To help those who suffer from food allergies avoid contact with harmful allergens this summer, Robin Miller, nutritionist, cookbook author, and Food Network personality, shares some of her tips with The Daily Meal.
Miller says protecting yourself from allergic reactions is about knowing how to avoid exposure to allergens as well as knowing what to do in case of accidental exposure. She’s working hard to make others aware of how to do just that and to help find solutions for all types of food allergies. By partnering with Auvi-Q, a epinephrine auto-injector that talks users through the injection process during an allergic reaction, she’s helping make it possible for people with allergies to have a fun and allergy-free summer
Severely allergic to eggs, Miller has helpful tips for avoiding exposure to allergens, whether you’re hosting an event or attending one.
If you’re attending a party or event hosted by someone else or just going out to eat, always speak up. Ask the host which ingredients will be used to prepare the food and if they mind cooking a dish or two that doesn’t include your particular allergen. Otherwise, bring your own allergy-free dish. At a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients used in a dish and to make special requests.
If you’re hosting a get-together and you don’t have allergies, be courteous to your guests by asking them ahead of time if they have any special dietary requirements. If they do, try to cater to their needs when preparing food. To let your guests know which dishes contains which ingredients, you can use place cards to label them.
For those warm summer night barbecues, try Miller's allergy-free barbecue recipes. Free of the top eight food allergens, Miller's recipes use only five ingredients or less. Although they each have few ingredients, she makes sure they're loaded with great tastes and flavors. Her barbecue recipes include main dishes such as Tex-Mex London broil and chicken taquitos and sides like grilled green beans, potato salad, and guacamole.