Nights out, Drinks, Date Night
So, we can deal with our food allergies during the day, at work, at university and even at restaurants but how to we manage our food allergies during the Nights Out?
Preparing for a Night Out
Always carry at least 2 Adrenaline Auto-Injectors at ALL times.
It’s important to store your auto-injector correctly and have them clearly labelled with your name and simple instructions.
You could store your 2 auto-injectors in a clear, resealable bag with a label stating; Your Name, and instructions: ‘Inject into thigh and call an ambulance’. Although the auto-injector states this itself, in a situation where one person may be holding the auto-injector, others can concentrate on the next step of calling the ambulance. A zip-lock plastic bag is very useful as the 2 auto-injectors are always together, they can be moved easily from bag to bag and are always visible if someone is searching for it when needed. It prevents them from liquid damage and is already packed and ready to go through any security in airports, museums or public buildings.
No matter where you plan to go for the evening, ensure that you have your adrenaline auto-injectors stored safely in your pocket, bag, clutch, belt – somewhere accessible.
Sometimes for concerts only a clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag is permitted so check in advance what bags are allowed and if its only clear bags then purchase one in advance that’s an appropriate size for your belongings; phone, money along with your adrenaline auto-injectors and medication.
The last thing you want is to be trying to fit your phone, money and medication in your pockets.
Antihistamine tablets and Inhalers
If you have allergies, you may have been advised to carry additional medication with you.
Depending on the size, you could store this medication in a similar clear, resealable, bag labelled with your name and instructions.
- If going to a restaurant or for drinks- Read the post Eating Out here
- If friends have already booked a restaurant that you do not feel safe eating in, you always have the option of meeting them after dinner for drinks.
On the Night Out
- Inform your friends about your food allergy and at the beginning of the night out, let them know where exactly your adrenaline auto-injectors are located.
- You could ask whoever is hosting to send a text along with the pre-drinks invitation stating that a flatmate/friend has a food allergy to (name allergen) and not to bring any food/snacks or drinks that contain this allergen..
- Bring your own beverage and mixer if needed as some mixers may contain your allergen, eg. Flavoured drinks, coconut, egg whites, dairy, wheat, rye, barley, sulphates.
- Note that alcohol can decrease ability to make sensible decisions and can decrease threshold level to trigger an allergic reaction. Alcohol can also reduce the amount of an allergen required to cause an allergic reaction, to non-alcoholic substances such as foods and cosmetics.
Post Night Out Feed
- We all know the feeling of craving a bag of chips or a pizza after a night out! However, late night Take Aways are often extremely busy after a night out and staff hand out orders to customers as fast as they can without focusing on special dietary requests as much. This could increase the risk of cross-contact with other foods or ingredients in the kitchen.
- To avoid this risk, you could have your favourite meal or snacks prepared at home in advance, so you have it to look forward to after the night out! You would also be saving money- so its a win win!
- You may think you do not need to discuss your allergies or allergy precautions with others as you feel you can manage them on your own. However, it is important to inform those around you and those in your social circle about your allergies. Even if it’s a friend that informs other about your allergies.
- You should choose the restaurant or location, ensuring that it’s allergy friendly and you have eaten there before. You should openly discuss your allergies are the reason you choose the particular place, and this helps to bring up the topic casually and early in conversation.
- When you order your food or drink in a restaurant, openly discuss your allergies to the staff.
- Your allergies do not define you, but they are part who you are and those around should be aware of this and take the necessary precautions to make you feel comfortable and safe.
Contaminated Taxis or Public Transport
In February 2020, there were three separate incidents where peanut butter was spread on the handgrip poles on the trains in New York City. This is extremely dangerous and upsetting for those who with Peanut and Nut allergies and indicates that we must always be aware of our surroundings.
Public transport systems, handgrip poles, door handles and seat belts may all have allergen residue on them after someone has eaten the allergen and then used them. It is recommended to carry and hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes with you and to follow the same precautions as you would if you were avoiding a flu when using public transport.
- Avoid sitting next to a person who is eating.
- Try to get a seat rather than standing beside a hand grip, as then you won’t have to touch the handrail- if this is not possible carry sanitizing wipes so you can quickly wipe down the handrail/ handles/arm rests or table in front of you.
- Check your seat before sitting down to check if there’s any food wrappers/food waste on the seat or on the arm rests.
- Wash your hands as soon as possible after using public transport- Metal poles, straps, tray tables, seat belts, and other surfaces passengers touch are often contaminated with microbes and bacteria.
- If someone is eating an allergen on your journey and you feel uncomfortable, be confident and just say ‘’I’m sorry to bother you but I’m allergic to —, would you mind eating that later’’. Usually people are very understanding and are often apologetic but if they are not showing consideration for your safety then move seats if you can or if given assigned seats ask to move.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use after transport, touching doors, handles, cupboard or drawer handles and most definitely before you handle your own food.