Living with food allergies means being prepared and staying safe. Choose from our menu on the left side of this page to learn about being allergy-aware at home, school, work and while travelling and dining out.
- Before leaving the house: Do I have my epinephrine auto-injector?
- At the restaurant: Do the waitstaff and kitchen staff understand my allergy?
- Before making a snack or meal: Did I read the ingredients?
Some general guidelines
Read it Before You Eat It
- When checking food labels for your allergens, do The Triple Check:
- Once at the store before buying it.
- Once when you get home and put it away.
- Again before you serve or eat the product.
- Have an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan and share it with the people in your life.
- Follow our guidelines for kitchen safety. These include:
- Avoid cross-contamination.
- Wash hands before and after preparing food.
- Always read labels.
- If you are a parent, take steps to educate everyone in your child’s life (including teachers, relatives and babysitters) about preventing, recognizing and treating anaphylaxis. For more information, visit our Educating Others page.
- Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector.
- Make sure it has not expired.
- Practice using it on a regular basis.
Parties and Going Out
- Talk to the host of an event about your allergies, preferably days or weeks before the event.
- If you are attending an event where you are unsure if the food will be safe, make yourself a meal beforehand.
- Keep in mind that alcohol affects your judgement.
- If you are a parent, learn more about play dates and birthday parties at our Newly Diagnosed Support Centre.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
- Reactions can differ each time. Remember, an allergic reaction can start with mild symptoms that can get worse quickly.
- Reactions can look different each time. A person can have a severe reaction without having hives, for example.
- Follow the chart below to understand the signs of anaphylaxis.
- Remember, the auto-injector can save a life. When in doubt, use it.
- Give epinephrine, then call 9-1-1.
- A second dose of epinephrine can be given as early as 5 minutes after the first dose if there is no improvement in symptoms.
- Place the person on their back with their legs raised while waiting for the ambulance. If they are vomiting, nauseated or have fainted, place them on their side.
- Do not have the person sit up, stand up, or walk to the ambulance. This can cause dangerous complications.
- Travel to the hospital together. The hospital will treat and monitor symptoms.