food allergen awareness training

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Food Allergen Awareness Training

Food Allergen Awareness Trainingby Kelly Mott

Happy Holidays!As we enter a time of celebration and sharing, be aware that those around you might be one of the millions of Americans that have a food allergy.

What Are Allergens?An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a normally harmless element. These include, but are not limited to:Food proteinsSubstancesLatexPlants (poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, nettles)Fragrance (perfumes, contents in lotions and detergents)MetalsRubberAeroallergensDust MitesPollenMoldStinging InsectsDrugs

What Are Food Allergens?While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the law identifies the eight most common allergenic foods.MilkEggsFish (e.g. bass, flounder, cod)Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)Tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, pecans)PeanutsWheatSoybeans

Food Allergen Awareness at Work and HomeAlthough most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening.

There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.

To help Americans avoid the health risks posed by food allergens, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA).

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079311.htm

What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction?HivesFlushed skin or rashTingling or itchy sensation in the mouthFace, tongue, or lip swelling Vomiting and/or diarrheaAbdominal crampsCoughing or wheezingDizziness and/or lightheadednessSwelling of the throat and vocal cordsDifficulty breathingLoss of consciousness

What to do if symptoms occurAdminister treatment immediately if the victim has medication (such as an Epi-pen)Seek medical treatment immediately! In severe cases, call 911

Severe Allergic Reactions- AnaphylaxisAnaphylaxisConstricted airways in the lungsSevere lowering of blood pressure and shock (anaphylactic shock)Suffocation by swelling of the throat

Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that anaphylaxis to food results in:30,000 emergency room visits2,000 hospitalizations150 deaths

Food SensitivitiesMany people have difficulty digesting certain foods.Food sensitivity/intolerance is not life threatening, but can cause sufferers a great deal of discomfort.

Common Types of Food SensitivitiesLactose IntoleranceThe body can not easily digest lactose, a natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. This is not the same as a food allergy to milk. It can cause gas, belly pain, and bloating. Some people who are lactose intolerant can eat or drink small amounts of milk or dairy products, and others cannot digest milk products at all.

Celiac DiseaseA digestive and autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten. The damage makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients from food. Gluten is a type of protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross).

Common Types of Food SensitivitiesDiverticulitisDiverticulosis happens when pouches form in the wall of the colon and become inflamed or infected. People who have diverticulitis are advised not consume nuts, corn, popcorn, and fruits with seeds like strawberries and tomatoes. It was believed these foods would get stuck in the diverticula and cause inflammation, but new research is showing this may not be the case. If you or a family member have been diagnosed with diverticulitis, talk to your family doctor about what dietary choices are right for you.

Ways to Keep Others With Food Allergies SafeKeep your carry-in dish or menu at home for gatherings free of allergensTell everyone at the meal if a dish contains and allergenDont prepare anything exotic. Keep the menu simple with familiar food itemsLabel items that contain allergens. There are many products available as well as creative ideas on websites like Pinterest for labeling buffet foods!

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!Thank You

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