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How can I protect my child from an allergic reaction to wheat?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The most effective protection from a wheat allergy reaction is total avoidance of foods that contain wheat. Read food labels carefully to avoid exposure. Inform family-friends-and caregivers of the allergy so they know what to avoid-symptoms that occur with exposure-and how to react in an emergency. If your child is at risk of anaphylaxis-be sure that you-your child and caregivers have access to emergency doses of epinephrine (adrenaline) at all times.

Anyone involved in the care of your child should be aware of their allergy. This information helps them manage and protect the children in their care. They need to know what foods to avoid, symptoms that occur with exposure and how to react in an emergency. They should have epinephrine on hand and know how to inject it in case your child has a serious reaction. Also, be sure to keep your emergency contact information updated so they know how to reach you should the need arise.

Eating out can be a challenge if your child has a wheat allergy. Many foods have wheat products added as fillers or thickeners, or as a main ingredient. Here are some tips to remember when eating out:

  • Inquire about all menu items and food preparation before ordering.
  • Be aware of cross-contamination. For example: French fries cooked in the same oil used to fry onion rings, chicken nuggets or other breaded items will contain wheat proteins.
  • If meat is cooked on a grill that is also used for breaded items, ask if it can be cooked on a piece of aluminum foil or in a clean pan.
  • Choose menu items that do not contain breading or sauces.
  • Have your child's salad made without croutons.
  • Choose fruit as a dessert. Most desserts contain wheat.
  • Tell friends the types of foods your child can eat.
  • When eating at a friend's house, offer to bring an item so that your child will have something wheat free to eat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.