food sensitivity

Patients with life-threatening (also called IgE-Mediated) food allergies need to take special precautions at all times to be sure to avoid a severe reaction or anaphylaxis.  Food allergies can lead to increased stress or avoidance of eating out at restaurants. While we always recommend carrying an up-to-date epinephrine auto-injector (remember, always carry two!) and reading food labels, there are several other strategies that can be used to ensure a safe and pleasant dining out experience, even for those with food allergies.

Recently, results of a large survey were shared at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting, on strategies that patients and families use to avoid reactions when dining out in restaurants.

The survey compared strategies utilized by patients who never had a reaction while dining out, versus patients who have had prior reactions to see if there was a difference in “strategies” or safety measures used (the strategies are listed below). The difference was astonishing! They found that patients who had never reacted while out to eat utilized on average 15 strategies each time, while patients who had prior reactions used 6 strategies.  Increasing how many safe practices or strategies you use can help keep you safe from reactions.

The top 5 strategies used were:

  1. Speaking to the waiter upon arrival
  2. Ordering food with simple ingredients
  3. Double-checking food before eating
  4. Avoiding restaurants with high likelihood of cross-contamination
  5. Reviewing ingredients on the restaurant’s website

Other strategies include:

-Going to an allergy-friendly restaurant

-Limiting dining out with travel

-Calling the restaurant ahead of time

-Going out to eat during off-peak hours

-Asking how food is prepared

-Asking to speak to the chef and/or manager

-Asking to read labels

-Using an “allergy card”

-Wiping tables and chairs

-Informing those you are dining with about your allergy

-Ordering familiar food at a familiar restaurant

-Bringing your own safe foods or snacks to supplement meal

-Placing food allergy order separately


 A great resource for finding food allergy-friendly restaurants is

Source: Ade, Justine et al. Preventing Food Allergy Reactions at Restaurants: Comparing strategies Used Between Reactors and Non-Reactors. University Hospitals/Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. ACAAI 2018 E-poster.



Physician Assistants (PAs) are medical professionals who diagnose illnesses, order and interpret tests, create and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medications.


PAs are educated at the master’s degree level. There are more than 255 PA training programs in the country and admission is highly competitive. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, completion of many science prerequisite courses, as well as an average of more than 3000 hours of direct patient care. After getting a bachelor’s degree, PA training is approximately 27 months, or 3 academic years. PA school includes classroom instruction and more than 2000 hours of clinical rotations in various specialties, including family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery, and OB/Gyn. In addition to their training, PAs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every 2 years as well as take a national board exam every 10 years, so they are up to date on the best medical practices and guidelines.


PAs are committed to team practice with physicians and other healthcare providers and improve access to healthcare for patients all over the country. PAs practice in every state, medical setting and specialty. Most patients that have seen PAs regard them as trusted healthcare providers and feel they improve the quality of their healthcare.


At Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute, we have seven physician assistants that see patients at all of our office locations. All of our PAs work closely with our physicians to provide the best care to our patients. To learn more about our PAs, check them out on our website at

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