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Food Allergies: Tips for Eating Out

Whether you're trying to avoid peanuts or dairy products, experts offer strategies for dining safely at restaurants.

Food Allergy: Preplanning Strategies

Phone the restaurant ahead of time and find out what its policy is on serving people with food allergies. "Ask if they have accommodated other people with food allergies and ask what they ordered, and how they went about letting the restaurant know about their problems," Field tells WebMD.

Tell the wait staff about your food allergy when you arrive. Having an allergy card to hand to your server may help, too. These small business-size cards feature your name and food allergy and all offending ingredients with a request that the kitchen leave them off any dish you order.

You could also try "Allernotes," preprinted sticky notes detailing your food allergy that the server attaches directly to your order. Allernotes sell for $8.50 for 100, while printable allergy cards are available free online.

If you'll be traveling to a foreign country, for $10 you can create a food allergy card in your native language that is then automatically translated into the language of your choice.

While they cards won't replace a discussion with restaurant staff, they can help you get your message across.

Make sure to have your food allergy medications with you such as injectable epinephrine and an antihistamine. A severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening, so it is important to have your emergency medication with you.


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