Avoiding your triggers
One of the best ways to manage and reduce the risk of anaphylaxis is to avoid or at least minimise your exposure to the triggers that cause your symptoms.
The first step is to know what your triggers are! For some people this is obvious, but for others, special tests ordered by a doctor may be needed.
Once you know which substances cause your symptoms you can take steps to avoid them. But, this is not always easy. Sometimes triggers can’t be seen, or are found in places you don’t expect them. That’s why it’s important to be prepared by carrying an adrenaline auto-injector if that’s what your doctor recommends.
- Read food labels – all manufacturers are obliged to list ALL ingredients on food labels and also add a warning if food has been prepared near other foods that are common triggers for allergies, such as nuts.
- Let restaurants know BEFORE you arrive. No chef wants a diner having a bad reaction after eating something he or she shouldn’t, so the staff will be happy to tell you what foods are safe for you. Some restaurants are also happy to make minor changes to dishes if you give them advance warning.
- Make sure your child knows NOT to swap food with others. Let teachers and parents of children your child is visiting know about any allergies.
- Check out our recipes for a range of dishes suitable for those with specific food allergies.
Insect bites and stings
- Cover up as much as possible, including wearing closed shoes, and use an insect repellent.
- When outside check your drinks for wasps, etc, before taking a swig.
- Avoid perfumes, bright colours and flowery prints, which attract bees.
- Avoid latex, particularly near your skin, face, eyes, nose or throat. Many products contain latex, including bandages, baby bottle teats, baby dummies, rubber bands, clothing elastic, rubber toys, balloons, rubber grips, some condoms and diaphragms and a wide range of medical equipment.
- Wear a medical identifications bracelet stating you are allergic to latex.
- Advise doctors and dentists well in advance of any operation, investigation or dental treatment.
- Avoid takeaway food prepared or served by food handlers wearing latex gloves.
One of the most important things you can do to avoid exposing yourself or your child to potentially dangerous triggers is to tell people about it. You’re not complaining, or being alarmist, you are taking necessary precautions that may save your own or your child’s life.
If others understand that eating that piece of cake or playing with a balloon could possibly make your child stop breathing, they are more likely to be vigilant than if you just say ‘Chloe can’t eat cakes or biscuits’, or ‘Ethan can’t come to a party with balloons’.
Tell the people close to you what your triggers are, how you can be kept safe from them, and what to do if you do have an anaphylactic reaction.