Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Severe Food Allergies: An Emergency Plan

1. Read Labels. Every time you shop, read the label on everything you put in your grocery cart. New labeling rules make it easier to spot the ingredients. Now, labels have to list if they have an ingredient that may be an allergy trigger in disguise. For example, they have to say "egg" instead of just "albumin" (an egg product). They also have to list the specific nuts or seafood in a product.

Even if you've bought something before, read the label again. You never know when ingredients might change.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Managing Allergies at Work

It's hard enough to cope with allergies on the weekend, but dealing with allergies at work is even more challenging. Ask anyone who's ever dozed off in the middle of an important meeting because of allergy symptoms or medications. "Allergy symptoms are the No. 2 reason adults miss work," says James Sublett, MD, a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist in Louisville, Ky. The average worker with allergies misses about one hour per week over the course of a year. But that sick time is often...

Read the Managing Allergies at Work article > >

Check more than food labels. Some lotions, hair care products, soaps, and medications can also have food products -- like nuts or milk -- that might trigger allergies.

2. Ask Questions -- When you go out to eat, whether at a restaurant or a friend's house, ask what's in the food. Ask if food has been prepared using the same surface or utensils as a food you are allergic to. At a restaurant, talk to the chef, manager, and your server about your allergies. Order food that's prepared simply. Always carry your medication with you, just in case. When eating at a friend's house, offer to bring a “safe” dish that others can share.

3. Carry Medicine -- Your doctor will probably prescribe an Auvi-Q or EpiPen (injectable epinephrine). Make sure you or your child know when and how to use it and what to do after you use it. You or your child should always have two of them handy. You’ll need to use it in case of an allergic reaction. Check the expiration date and write it on your calendar, or sign up for automatic refills at your pharmacy. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to inject it.

4. Have an Allergy Action Plan -- Talk to your doctor about what to do in case of an allergic reaction. Write down what foods you or your child are severely allergic to and what to do in case of a reaction. Keep a copy of the plan on file. If your child is allergic make sure your child’s school has copies and that his teachers know about it. If you’re allergic, have a plan at work.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on November 16, 2014

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?

blowing nose
woman with sore throat
lone star tick
Woman blowing nose

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Allergy prick test
Man sneezing into tissue
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching