Having a food allergy used to mean dining out was limited to carrying your plate from the kitchen to the porch or, at best, eating at the home of a close friend or relative who could guarantee your food offenders were nowhere in sight.
Today, however, eating out is a lot easier -- and safer -- for the 2 million Americans who suffer with a mild, moderate, or even a severe food allergy. One reason: Restaurants are more aware and more prepared.
"The awareness of food allergies has definitely increased...
When you're allergic to a drug, your immune system overreacts. It treats the medication like a dangerous foreign invader.
When your body senses the drug, it sends out special cells. They release chemicals to drive the substance out of your body. These chemicals can cause hives, swelling in your face, and tightened airways.
You won’t have an allergic reaction the first time you take a drug. Your body has to recognize the drug, which happens when you take it the second time. By then, your body is primed to attack.
Non-Allergic Drug Reactions
In a non-allergic reaction, your immune system isn't the cause of the reaction. Instead, the drug may be interacting with another drug you’re taking. Or it may have an unexpected effect on your body. You can have a bad reaction to a drug the very first time you take it.
Non-allergic reactions to drugs can be just as dangerous – or as mild -- as true allergies. They can even cause many of the same symptoms:
Some drugs -- like aspirin -- cause non-allergic reactions in some people and true drug allergies in others.
What to Do for a Drug Reaction
If you have a non-allergic adverse reaction to a drug, you can:
Ask your doctor about changing your dose. Simply taking less can sometimes reduce many side effects.
Switch drugs. You may only have an adverse reaction to one drug. Another one in the same class might work well and not cause problems.
Protect yourself. If you know you react badly to a drug, take care. Make sure that all your health care providers know about it. You may want to get medical ID jewelry -- like a bracelet or necklace -- so that others can know about your drug reactions in an emergency.