Managing a food allergy takes vigilance and planning, regardless of where you live. However, when you live in a remote community that is not easily accessible to allergists or to central medical centres, there are additional considerations you need to think about.
Follow these tips to help manage food allergy while living in a remote community:
1. Educate others
When others understand food allergy, they can do more to help support you. If you have a child with food allergy, include them in conversations according to their age and developmental stage. Talk to family, friends and caregivers, including those at your child’s school and childcare provider.
- 1. Take our free AllergyAware.ca course and have your family and friends take it too! This 30-minute online course teaches the basics of food allergy, the signs and symptoms of a reaction, and what steps to take if a reaction occurs. Share the course with your child’s school, childcare facility, or other members of the community (like your child’s sports team, babysitter, grandparents, etc.).
- 2. Give our handy checklist of food allergy do’s and don’ts, and a facts on food allergies sheet
- 3. Share our four short and fun “food hack” Food Allergy Do’s and Don’ts videos to illustrate simple ways to keep everyone safe
- YouTube channel
2. Get creative with food
When there are limited choices for allergy-friendly brands, come up with different ways to include them in meals and snacks. You can also use allergen-free substitutes in recipes or stock up on safe products when you visit an urban area.
- Check out our kitchen tips and recipes section, which includes a handy substitution chart for each of the common food allergens in Canada.
3. Source medical care
Be familiar with health-related services in your area, from scheduling doctor appointments to calling local emergency services, to going to hospital. Consider that you may have to travel a distance to see an allergist or other specialist.
- Visit our additional healthcare support section to learn more about accessing medical support
- Additional healthcare support
4. Have enough epinephrine
A back-up epinephrine auto-injector is recommended in case a second dose is needed. Sometimes schools, childcare providers and camps request an extra device. When you live in an area where medical care is not readily accessible, having additional devices is a good safety practice.
- Epinephrine is the drug form of a hormone (adrenaline) that the body produces on its own. It helps to reverse symptoms of an allergic reaction.
- Learn more on our “what is epinephrine” page.
5. Join a support group
It helps to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Support groups provide opportunities to share the challenges and triumphs of living with food allergy. If your area doesn’t have a group, you can find one online or start your own.
- We have national support groups you can connect with.
- Learn more on our support groups page.