A Summertime Guide to Food Allergies Common food allergies that show up with warm weather Food allergies can ruin any picnic, party or event in minutes. It’s a severe problem but that can be avoided with a little preparation and understanding. Peanuts More than three million Americans are allergic to peanuts. Symptoms of the allergy include anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that crashes blood pressure and may even require epinephrine. Watch for peanuts in sweet treats, sauces and many Asian and Mexican dishes. Another real threat – cross-contamination from serving different ice cream flavors with the same scoop. Seafood and Shellfish For more than 2 percent of all Americans, the idea of fresh lobsters and clam bakes can be horrifying. Allergic reactions to shrimp, crab, and lobster are common and can Milk cause congestion, skin rash, or even anaphylaxis. Treatment for this kind of food allergy can range from a simple antihistamine to being rushed to the nearest emergency facility. When faced with unfamiliar cuisines that may include a fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce, it’s best to ask what’s in it. Egg Experts say that eggs, milk, nuts, seafood, soy, and wheat account for 90 percent of all food allergies. Close to 3 percent of all American children suffer from an egg allergy, though most of them outgrow this allergy by age 16. Symptoms can include cramps, skin rash, or trouble breathing and in severe cases may need an auto-injection of epinephrine. Summer picnics are full of deviled eggs, and egg and potato salads. If you know you have this allergy, bring your salad or appetizer and remember to use separate serving spoons and serving dishes. About 2.5 percent of all children under three years are allergic to milk. This isn’t the same as lactose intolerance, and switching to lactose-free milk will not protect you. Milk allergies can bring on skin rash, nausea, and cause difficulty breathing. Watch out for cheese that’s added to some dishes and deli meats that could be sliced next to or stored along with cheese. Soy products can be a safe substitute and antihistamines may relieve some symptoms, though occasionally emergency treatment may be necessary. Fresh Fruits Fruits like strawberry, apple, peach, melon, banana, kiwi, pear, and cherry can be aggravating for those with pollen allergies. It can cause swollen lips and a burning mouth which usually dissipates without treatment. Though the best way to avoid this allergy is to eat only cooked fruits. Citrus If you suffer from this, stay away from lemonade, orange juice and most kinds of fruit punch. Citrus intolerance can cause swelling of the lips, mouth or even give you a skin rash. Swelling, redness, burning, and itching are all symptoms, though swelling inside the throat can create problems with breathing. While antihistamines can usually relieve mild symptoms, sometimes emergency treatment may be needed. Alcohol and Wine Allergies Alcohol itself is rarely a cause of allergy. In many cases, reacting to alcohol is a neurologic sensitivity reaction that causes flushing and headaches. Wine, on the other hand, uses sulfites as preservatives and can cause a real allergic reaction. The symptoms are not usually severe, but if you have asthma, your best bet is to avoid all alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic wines too.