Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Food Allergy Emergency Preparedness for Natural Weather and Other Disasters

The recent tornado in Oklahoma was a tragic event on so many levels. We are sending lots of good thoughts and love to anyone coping with this horrible crisis.

In a natural weather disaster where the devastation may be widespread and involve fatalities, water and food may be greatly limited, much less allergy-friendly food. Have you thought about how you would manage this situation? Weather disasters and other emergencies aren't pleasant to think about but since they don't happen when you expect them, it's best to be ready.

Here's a few tips for keeping on top of food allergies in a weather emergency or natural disaster:

Have a good stock of "safe," non-perishable food items that can be eaten by the entire family. Soy milk (if you can have it) doesn't require refrigeration and bottled water is always good to have on hand in case you can't use your tap water for any reason. I like to have cereal, crackers, pretzels and slow-spoiling fruits like apples and bananas on hand in case of a blackout. SunButter, if you can eat it, is also good to have as is non-refrigerated cheese and crackers (if you aren't allergic to dairy). Anything from Enjoy Life like trail mix and granola is safe for the Top 8 food allergens, gluten and sesame. These foods will keep well and give you much-needed energy if you are low on food and stressed.

Stock up on bottled water. In case the water is unsafe to drink, you need plenty of water. Look for sales and then store them in a safe place where family members won't grab a bottle for convenience.

Make sure all your prescriptions are up-to-date and well-stocked. Check to make sure that you have several epinephrine auto-injectors, a bottle of Benadryl and whatever asthma or seasonal allergies your child needs well before a crisis hits. In the event of extreme bad weather, you may not be able to renew these prescriptions in a timely manner, so get them now. Keep them in a plastic resealable bag so they don't get wet.

Keep a generous supply of cleaning wipes and antibacterial hand wipes. If the worst happens and you have to leave your home for any reason, you'll be able to remove allergenic residue from surfaces. In addition, hand and face wipes will come in handy for personal use.

Have a"Go Bag" ready. At a food allergy conference I attended a couple of years ago, a dad who used to work with NYC on Emergency Preparedness discussed the need for a "Go Bag" that you have ready for your child in a convenient area of your home. This bag would contain up-to-date medications in addition to safe, non-perishable foods and drinks.

In addition, The American Red Cross has a site with excellent plans for preparing you and your family.

For anyone interested in helping to ensure that victims of the tornado have allergy-friendly/GF food if they need it, here is an official address for you:

Send shelf-stable Allergy Safe Foods and/or Gluten Free Foods (Please mark them as such on the outside of the box) to: Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, 3355 S. Purdue, Oklahoma City, OK 73139

You can also visit Peanut Free Planet for as they are sponsoring a disaster relief effort. Here's more from PFP:

"If you would like to send a food donation to the food allergy families that have been victims of the Oaklahoma Tornado you can order on our site. PFP will cover the shipping of the gift to the Oaklahoma Food bank. If you would like to donate $ to purchase products to fill in the gaps of other donations please purchase a gift certificate. When you order enter our address as the shipping address. 15252 Stony Creek Way Noblesville IN and choose in-store pick up and put "Oklahoma" in the comments section. The donations will be shipped Thursday morning. "

What about your family? Any tips you'd like to share? Or have you thought much about this topic?

1 comment:

Pam said...

This is a great reminder, especially as we get ready to go into Hurricane season here in Florida. Thanks!