Sunshine has finally made a very welcome appearance in New York City, which means you’ll soon find invites to summer parties and barbecues piling up in your Facebook events inbox.
These parties mean mingling with old and new friends while chowing down on delicious picnic treats, but for those with food allergies or seasonal allergies, it can also mean the need to be vigilant. After accepting the invite, talk with your host to see what they have in store for the get together. If you have food allergies, consider offering to bring a dish or two of your own (which is a nice gesture and will also ensure there’s at least one thing you can feel confident eating). It’s always better to be informed so that you can prepare accordingly.
Here are four things to watch out for at your next spring party or summer BBQ in case you have spring allergies or food allergies:
Pollen & Grass
An outdoor party can mean you’ll be up close and personal with pollen, grasses, trees and other allergens. Prepare yourself for these possible triggers before you leave the house. Consider bringing a blanket for those grass picnic situations and be sure to wash your hands after being outdoors. Another great tip is to make sure you change your clothes after being outdoors as they too could be covered in pollen just from being outside.
Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Have you ever noticed that if you eat a raw apple your lips break out in a rash or your throat itches a bit, however you don’t get any reaction if you eat a cooked apple pie? The mild allergic reaction that you may be experiencing is called oral allergy syndrome, which happens because the proteins in certain raw foods are similar to the allergy-causing proteins in pollen. For example, a person with a birch pollen allergy may also react to apples, celery, and raw peaches and pears. A ragweed allergy might mean you could react to watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melons.
Barbecue Sauce and Turkey Bacon
Some commercially produced barbecue sauces contain a fish product that could cause an allergic reaction. In addition, some people can even be allergic to the pollen produced by the wood most commonly used in barbecue – mesquite, oak, cedar and hickory. The allergens in the wood can remain in the smoke once the wood is burned, and this can transfer to your food.
For those of you who prefer healthy alternatives to bacon, beware of the hidden allergen that can be found in turkey bacon. Turkey bacon is commonly made with enzymes, and one in particular is called tTG, also known as meat glue. Be sure to check the label of the turkey bacon to see if it includes an ingredient called enzymes, as this could mean that they contain gluten.
Homemade Dishes & Desserts
As a rule of thumb, we always advise our patients to inform their family or friends about their allergies. And, the sooner you can inform your party host, the better. As you rake in summer picnic invitations make sure to eat with caution, especially if it wasn’t you who prepared the food.
That pasta salad may look delicious, but if you have a true allergy to wheat or you are gluten intolerant, it’s best to skip it. Pasta salad is an easily recognizable trigger, but other unidentified food options may present more of a problem.
Joan’s homemade, award-winning chili sauce might contain peanuts, or fish may be an ingredient in the salad dressing Bob whipped up for the party. When in doubt, ask about ingredients or skip the dish entirely.
The key to avoiding an allergic reaction at your next party is being aware of ingredients in the food you are around and staying mindful of the common triggers that come along with being outside. Don’t let you allergies ruin your good time!
If you suspect you have a food or seasonal allergy and want to be tested or have questions about other resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.