Welcoming Allergic Guests

When welcoming guests into one’s home, the host must take special care to ensure that they are comfortable. These days, this means being aware of your guests’ allergies.

According to current estimates, allergies may affect as many as one out of every five Americans. So, don’t be afraid to ask your guests in advance if they suffer from allergies. Even if not, they are likely to be grateful for your consideration.

In cases when this is not an option, it pays to be prepared. Whether coming for any length of a stay, even for a quick chat, your guests are likely to eat or drink while visiting. A guest with extreme food allergies might experience symptoms even sitting in the same room with an allergen, and eating an allergen could be deadly.

So, for your reference, the most common food allergens include:

  • Peanuts and tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, and cashews);
  • Fish (and shellfish);
  • Milk and Eggs (think barnyard animals to remember this one);
  • Soy
  • Wheat

Some populations tend to experience specific food sensitivities with a greater frequency than others; for example, Asians are very commonly lactose-intolerant. Even cheese can lead to uncomfortable digestive symptoms in lactose intolerant guests.

So, to be on the safe side, it may be best to find a few great recipes that include none of the above, so that you’re ready for your next big dinner party.

Another extremely common type of allergy is the environmental allergy. Pollinating flowers, cats, dogs, dust, and even air-borne particles can all be culprits.

For example, a freshly mowed lawn could make your guests absolutely miserable, should you host them on the front porch; so it’s best to give all those grass and pollen particles a while to die down, before dragging your guests into a sneezing fit.

Fortunately, most environmental triggers are relatively easy to resolve. To combat dust, dust and vacuum regularly and well. (Hopefully, you do that already!) Similarly to mowing the lawn, it’s best not to time it too closely with regard to your guests’ arrival, if there’s any chance that you’ll be stirring up built-up dust.

Buy allergen proof filters for your vents and pillows that discourage the accumulation of dust mites. You may also want to avoid feather pillows, as down is another common allergen.

Cats and dogs should be well-bathed shortly in advance of the guests’ arrival, as this will remove some potential allergens. If possible, they could be kept outside, or loaned to a friend to fully ensure your guests’ comfort.

Allergy-friendly floral arrangements should be selected — your local florist should be able to help you with this. Non-flowering branches may be less likely to irritate sensitive guests.

Guests with a deadly allergy to bee-stings should be warned if an area in your lawn attracts bees. Also be aware that a guest with a bad nickel allergy may not be able to use your silverware, and a guest with a latex allergy won’t want to help blow up balloons.

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