EMA Care Blog

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Students with Food Allergies

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If you are a student with food allergies and living in a dorm, you must take precautions to assure you live in a safe environmentIt’s very important to realize that people who don’t have any exposure to anaphylactic allergies often don’t understand how dangerous they can be.

For example, an allergy sufferer meets his roommate for the first time, he says I am allergic to peanuts. The roommate enjoys peanut butter and he says he will be very careful whenever he eats peanut butter in the room. “The peanut butter won’t go anywhere. How dangerous can it be?”. This is a typical uninformed reaction.  The answer: EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

Unfortunately, there are many uninformed people out there. Most people simply don’t understand the severity of anaphylactic allergies, nor do they comprehend the fear and discomfort those with allergies suffer from when brought into close proximity to the foods that they are allergic to. One way to educate people is to show them allergy videos. You can find lots of short, entertaining, informational videos online. Some of them are geared to specific ages so look for one that best suits your needs.

 According to Dr. James R. Baker, Jr. who is the CEO and chief medical officer of an organization called Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), “The biggest misconception people have about food allergies is that it’s simply some type of an annoyance, that it’s not a real clinical illness.”

EMA Care offers tips for students with food allergies on explaining allergies to roommates and dining hall staff:

  • If you do not take your allergies seriously don’t expect anyone else to. Carry an Epi pen with you at all times.
  • Don’t be shy about explaining how dangerous certain foods are to you. Tell ER stories and how your life was saved by hospital staff. You are not exaggerating and those around you need to know that.
  • Describe allergy reactions to your friends: Lip swelling, difficulty breathing, hives, nausea and vomiting, a feeling of impending doom and a blood pressure drop.
  • Engage friends and kitchen staff in looking out for you- unbeknownst to you there could be a food you are allergic to on your plate. The more people being careful, the safer you will be.
  • Teach friends around you how to use the Epi pen if needed. Sometimes a person can be experiencing such a bad reaction that he/she is unable to inject him/herself.
  •  Purchase a customized EMA Care allergy card. These laminated cards can be printed in any language with valuable information about your allergy and immediate first aid treatment if you are experiencing a severe reaction to allergens. 

 Have an emergency plan, in advance in coordination with the University/ Yeshiva/ Seminary/ Gap Year program.

If you are experiencing an allergic reaction, or are witness to someone else who is experiencing any of these symptoms - it is important to take immediate action. Do not panic!! Make sure to learn how to use an Epi-Pen just in case you need it. (They are made to be very easy to use). 

The two primary steps to take during an anaphylactic reaction are to inject the Epi-Pen and call for emergency help. In some cases, a second dose of epi may be necessary 5-15 minutes later, if the symptoms don’t subside. That’s why doctors recommend carrying two Epi-Pens at all times. After that, stay by the person’s side until help arrives. By taking these steps you are potentially saving a person’s life!!

EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students and residents of Israel. We can be reached at info@healthcareisrael.com.  Schedule your free consultation today.

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