[firstaidinthekitchen 4] – when you have an allergy and don’t know

The truth is that if you are unlucky enough to cook for someone who is not known to be allergic but has an anaphylactic reaction and does not have an epi-pen, the only thing you can do is call an ambulance. That’s why, no matter how messy your kitchen is, it’s important to learn how to prevent such a situation. So that the person you are cooking for stays only with the metaphysical allergy to the dish… or to the cook… 😀

People may be allergic since childhood to everything from food, medicine, plants (you’ve probably heard of ragweed), animals, the sun, metals, stings or insect bites, and so on. There are situations that are treated with anti-allergic drugs, for others you need to beware of the allergen. In some cases, childhood allergies are no longer found in adults – e.g. I no longer have reactions to eating strawberries or sunburn, although when I was kinder I was full of spots on my body. 🙂 Cooperation with the family doctor and immunologist are essential for people with allergies.

Because we work in the kitchen, we are directly interested in food allergies and how to prevent them. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple situation to manage using a single tool: questions. 🙂 Yes, the easiest way is to ask the other person if they have any allergies, in which case remove the ingredient. If you do not have access to information, then it is preferable to cook without common allergens. (All food units have this list and mentions on products.) And if you are allergic, this is the first thing you need to say to your cook.

The list of allergens is Annex II to EU Regulation 1169/2011 and includes 14 items: gluten, shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts (eg nuts), celery, mustard, sesame, sulfur dioxide and sulphites, lupine and molluscs.

One comment on gluten: there is a difference between “I think gluten is not good for me” and “I’m allergic to gluten”, in which case I may need first aid. Be responsible!

First aid: in case of an anaphylactic reaction, we ask the person if he/ she has epi-pen and we help him/ her to administer it. If he doesn’t (because he doesn’t know he’s allergic, for example), then the sooner he gets to the emergency room, the better. If he becomes unconscious, but is breathing and has a pulse, we put him in a side-stable position until the ambulance arrives. (Don’t you know what this is?? Go take a first aid course!!!!) And if he goes into cardio-respiratory arrest, we start resuscitation. Or better yet, prevent it. 🙂

As a general idea, at least once in your life you should take a practical first aid course at the Red Cross or elsewhere (ask beforehand if the course is only theoretical or has a practical part). Also, you should have a mini first aid kit on hand – you never know when you’ll need it. 🙂

Bibliography: European First Aid Manual, 2006; International First Aid and Resuscitation Guidelines, IFRC, 2016.

Learn first aid to have time for real kitchen disasters. 🙂 See destroyed recipes here. 🙂 If you are passionate about reading, join the #cookingbookclub here. 🙂 If you try the recipe, don’t forget to post pictures on our facebook page.

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