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Food Allergies: 5 Tips for Navigating Summer BBQs

Summary: What are some key things to do if you have a food allergy and are attending a social BBQ?
Air Date: 6/26/15
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Tim Mainardi, MD
Dr Tim Mainardi Dr. Tim Mainardi is a physician, researcher and educator who specializes in treating a host of allergic diseases. He holds certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is an expert in treating nasal and ocular allergies, asthma, sinusitis, anaphylaxis and diseases of the skin. He also is a thought leader in the field of complementary and alternative medicine in allergy.
Food Allergies: 5 Tips for Navigating Summer BBQs
Hudson Allergy estimates that nearly 40 percent of their patients who come in thinking they have allergies soon learn that that gut feeling was right.

Foods like wheat, dairy, soy, shellfish, fish, nuts, tree nuts and eggs make up 90 percent of all food-related allergies.

Once summer rolls around and outdoor parties are back on the weekend agenda, allergies to alcohol is also something that needs to be considered.

There are always more chances of coming into contact with an allergen while dining out, and summer BBQs are a potential land mine for food allergy sufferers. Even "safe foods" like burgers sans the bun could be a trigger for those allergic to gluten, because there may be bread fillers or specialty sauces in the mix.

Cross contamination is another big issue for those with severe sensitivity. Dr. Mainardi advises all patients to be prepared before they get to the party with these five tips:

  1. Get tested and talk with your allergist beforehand so you know what you can and cannot handle.
  2. Look for hints that you might not be able to eat or drink something, like color, texture, or ingredients. 
  3. When in doubt, pack a safe snack to nibble on if you get desperate.
  4. Stick with the basics that you have consumed historically without a problem, like protein, fruit, and veggies.
  5. Don't be afraid to say a polite "no thank you" when offered a treat you just can't stomach.

Dr. Tim Mainardi advises on how to best manage your food-related allergies this summer.