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We think that our son might be allergic to nuts. How should we handle this over the holidays when there seem to be so many situations when foods are served with nuts?

Dear Dr. Cory:

We think our son might be allergic to nuts. How should we handle this over the holidays when there seem to be so many situations when foods are served with nuts?

Terry Carroll: Newark, Delaware

Dear Ms. Carroll:

Although avoidance is the best way to handle food allergies, it may not always be possible. Using an antihistamine before a party or gathering where there may be exposure to an unrecognized food allergen could help prevent or reduce the severity of a reaction, but should not be relied upon for protection. Never leave home without appropriate medications, equipment, and an allergy action plan (written with the help of your doctor). For those with severe sensitivities, self-injectable epinephrine should be available.

Parents of food-allergic children should pack a snack from home for their child when school classes have holiday or birthday parties. It's the only way to avoid inadvertent exposure to allergenic foods.

The holiday season is often troublesome for those with food allergies. At a time when cookies and other treats are readily available, the chance of accidental ingestion increases. The most common food allergies include: milk, eggs, legumes (especially peanuts), and nuts from trees, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts.

Because it can only take a tiny amount of the offending food to trigger a potentially dangerous reaction, those with food allergies should exercise caution and avoid the following party foods if you have one or more of the allergies mentioned:

* Bakes goods/pastries (which contain several allergens including nuts)

* eggnog

* fruitcake

* meatballs

* cheese/ice cream/other dairy products

* glazed rolls/bread

* macaroni mixes

* quiches

* some salad dressings and vegetable/hip dips

* mixed nuts

Accidentally eating something that triggers a food allergy is all too easy. And unfortunately, homemade items do not have ingredient lists. Foods can also be contaminated with small amounts of allergens through contact with storage containers, baking sheets, and utensils. Food allergy reactions can also be intensified by smoking or exposure to smoky areas.

Sincerely, Cory SerVaas, M.D.
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Title Annotation:Ask Doctor Cory
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Humpty Dumpty's Magazine
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Previous Article:Our son's allergies really seem to kick in during the holiday season, especially after we bring in our Christmas tree. Could he be allergic to it?
Next Article:Winter fitness fun.

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