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SafeFARE helps diners with food allergies

Don't let food allergies keep you from dining in your favorite restaurants
Don't let food allergies keep you from dining in your favorite restaurantsSandy Wallace

More than 15 million Americans, including one in 13 children, suffer from food allergies. Common food allergies are: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.

When the body's immune system mistakenly targets a food protein and destroys it, a food allergy is the result. Food Allergy Awareness Week was held May 11-17 to educate the public about food allergies.

Food Allergy Awareness Week was extended this year to include the entire month of May as Food Allergy Awareness Month. Those living with food allergies can change diet and lifestyle to manage the allergy, but it's more difficult to control what you eat when dining out.

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) wants people to know about its new online resource for those dining out with food allergies called SafeFARE.

SafeFARE offers tools and resources for diners with food allergies, including tips for before and during your visit to a restaurant, a customizable “Food Allergy Alert” chef card, and a “Find a Restaurant” feature that enables visitors to locate allergy aware restaurants in their area.

The SafeFARE database of food allergy aware restaurants is just getting started. FARE urges everyone to tell their local restaurants about the SafeFARE program and has created a flyer that can be downloaded and shared with restaurant staff and managers to let them know how to become a food allergy aware restaurant.

Those with food allergies can take charge of their lives by proactively protecting themselves and planning ahead. Those with food allergens should ask their doctor if it's appropriate to carry emergency medication to control allergies.

The doctor can provide a written plan telling when emergency medication should be administered. Wearing a medical bracelet or ID is also helpful during an emergency.

If you or a loved one is living with food allergies, learn how to protect yourself in any environment. You don't have to give up eating in restaurants. Using safe dining tips in restaurants may prevent an allergic reaction emergency.