#YHSafetyTips - Allergy Safety

Posted by Matt Bushey in #YHSafetyTips, Jun 28, 2017

Allergies are real. They are not a laughing matter. People who are allergic to certain things can have anywhere from a mild to an anaphylactic reaction to the allergen.

Things that people are allergic to can range from:

  • Pollen
  • Food
  • Pets
  • Drugs
  • Latex
  • Mold
  • Insects
  • and many more different things in smaller cases.

Many children each have different kinds allergies. Parents are and should be deeply concerned as to what their children eat and what they are around. Children allergies are mostly around nuts, but many also have cow’s milk and egg allergies.

Food allergies
Food allergies can be anything! Which sounds really scary and overbearing. But, the majority of the allergies are in a narrow amount of things.

These include:

  • Peanuts (peanut allergy is the main cause of anaphylaxis in children)
  • Tree Nuts (such as walnuts, pecans and cashews)
  • Shellfish (such as shrimp and lobster—the main cause of anaphylaxis in adults)
  • Fish
  • Cow's Milk
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Here are a few tips to help you avoid cross-contact of food allergens:

  • Wash your hands and have your guests wash their hands when you enter the house. If they touched anything outside the house this will be cleaned off right away.
  • When preparing food for the family, prepare the "safe" portion of the meal first. Then any other "unsafe" food can be prepared. An important note, if someone is hypersensitive to the food in the unsafe meal, it's best that that food is either not made while they are in the house or not at all.

Unfortunately, there have been child deaths resulting from anaphylactic reactions. You will want to tell the school your child goes to that they have a severe allergy that causes anaphylaxis. You need the school to have a written emergency action plan for managing an anaphylactic reaction. This can include having an epipen with the student at all times as well as a backup at the school nurse, with a backup allergy medicine.

You can also be alerted by our government about allergens discovered in certain foods.

The work environment can be a difficult place to be cautious with food allergies. The first thing you need to do is let you manager know about your allergies, especially ones that cause anaphylactic reactions. Next you want to wash your hands after handling materials from someone else. Always have your epipen close by and tell a coworker that sits close to you about it and how to use it incase you cannot get to it in time.

What if my family wants to go out and eat? There are many restaurants that are allergy aware. Here is a website: www.allergyeats.com that you can punch in the location you want to eat, and what the allergens are.

What if you are a server and want to become certified in safe allergen serving? Here's a site that will certify you to do that: www.servsafe.com/Allergens-Microsite/Allergens-Online. There are many restaurants that have certain protocols that allow them to serve without reactions.

Insect Stings and Bites
Many people are allergic to bee stings and insect bites. The reactions can be very severe and an epipen should be kept on person at all times when the insects are active.

You can avoid from being bitten or stung by:

  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, sweet-smelling lotions or perfumes.
  • Wear closed toe shoes.
  • Keep food and trash tightly sealed.
  • If you are going to be exposed to these insects while gardening, wear pants and long-sleeved shirts.

People with insect allergies can be treated with standardized insect injections (immunotherapy), which may provide long-term protection against insect stings.

Pollen
Pollen is a big allergy but usually not as severe as food allergies. Its the most common seasonal allergy and is also known as hay fever. Pollen are tiny grains different plants use to fertilize other plants of the same species. Common types of pollen that cause allergic reactions come from trees, grasses, and weeds. Pollen from flowers and some flowering trees don’t usually cause allergic reactions since they are usually fertilized by insects.

The symptoms of pollen are:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, ears, and mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose and mucus
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Red and watery eyes

Prevent allergic reactions to pollen:

  • Wear sunglasses and a hat.
  • Change and wash clothes worn from outdoor activities.
  • Start taking allergy medicine before pollen season starts.
  • Keep windows closed and use an air purifier.
  • Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer and not outside.
  • Wash hair before bed.
  • Limit contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors.

Allergies are scary but the more each of us learn about them, the more we can make the world a safer place for those who have those allergies.

Did you miss our blog last week on Carbon Monoxide Safety? Read it here.

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