About nine million adults in the U.S. have food allergies. For some, this can interrupt daily life. Eight foods make up the 90% of allergic reactions. This includes peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, soy, fish, wheat and shellfish (most common).

Food allergies cause an average of 30,000 emergency room visits a year due to anaphylaxis. Of those, 2,000 people are hospitalized and there are 150 deaths. There are over 160 foods that are responsible for causing reactions due to intolerances or allergies.

Living a healthy life with food intolerances and allergies is easier when you are aware. Being prepared is the most important step to food allergies. If you are going out to eat, always carry your Epi-pen or Auvi-Q auto injector and liquid Benadryl. Epinephrine is the first step to helping when anaphylaxis occurs. Always make sure to let your server and cook know about your allergies. Cross contamination can easily happen.

When dining out or at a friend’s house, keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. Alcohol can cause food allergy reactions to happen quicker. It is also important to know that new allergy triggers can happen at any point. If you notice hives, wheezing, stomach cramps, vomiting or anaphylaxis, seek medical attention.

Asthma can also be triggered by food allergies in 2% of adults and children. Make sure to always have your rescue inhaler with you. Food allergies can cause asthma to be more severe, so it is important to keep your asthma under control.

Food intolerances and allergies can easily be avoided if you are aware of them. If you show allergy symptoms with any foods or drinks, make sure to seek medical help immediately. If you do not already have an Allergist, schedule an appointment to get tested. Have an avoidance program and rescue game plan. Being aware of allergies is the first step to living a healthy life!