Each year, around 200,000 people in the United States need emergency medical care after an allergic reaction to food. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen, but an allergic reaction could happen in your restaurant.
Prevention is key, but knowing what to do if a severe allergic reaction does occur is also important for keeping everyone safe.
The following goes over symptoms of a severe allergic reaction and how to respond if one does occur.
Train Staff on Food Allergies
Prevention is better than cure, and proper allergen awareness training can prevent allergic reactions from happening in the first place. The more educated your staff is on topics such as common food allergens and allergen cross-contact, the more you can avoid a serious allergic reaction from happening in your restaurant.
Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction
Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction to an allergen and can be life threatening if not treated properly. Symptoms include:
- Low blood pressure
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Dizziness or fainting
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weak and rapid pulse
- Constricted airways causing wheezing and problems breathing
The first thing you should do if someone is experiencing any signs of anaphylaxis is call 911 immediately. If they have a history of anaphylaxis, even if they are not experiencing symptoms, they should make a trip to the emergency room. Do this before anything else.
If they are dining alone, it might be a good idea to try to get in touch with an emergency contact, if possible.
Use an Epinephrine Autoinjector
People with a severe allergy should carry at least one epinephrine autoinjector at all times. Administer at the first signs of anaphylaxis by injecting the shot into their outer thigh.
The epinephrine cannot harm them if it is unnecessarily administered, so if you are unsure of whether it is needed, it is better to just go ahead and inject it. Don’t wait for symptoms to worsen.
What to do after
Even if the symptoms are mild or have stopped, they should go to the nearest hospital in case the symptoms return or worsen.
Get your staff educated about food allergies by having them take our Allergen Awareness course.