- Be open about your food allergies. It’s important your co-workers and boss know about them.
- Always carry at least one auto-injector on the job. It’s better to have two in case you need a second dose during an allergic reaction.
Your co-workers may have no experience with food allergy. Work with them to find ways to minimize your risk. No allergy policy at your company? Connect with your human resources team to establish one.
Great ideas for making your workplace allergy aware:
- Wear medical jewelry, such as a MedicAlert® bracelet, watch or necklace.
- Have an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan and share it with your manager and human resources department.
- Teach your co-workers how to prevent reactions from happening, recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to use an epinephrine auto-injector properly.
- Be open about your allergies. It’s important that people know, and it can be helpful in raising awareness for other employees with food allergies. Share this great list of do’s and don’ts with them and share a few of our information sheets or fast facts on our downloads page.
- When events are being planned, get involved. As a planner, you can help to ensure the event is allergy aware.
- Know your allies, and work together to raise awareness.
If you are new to the workforce, you may be unsure how to talk about your allergies.
Although it’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of having your first job, you cannot sacrifice safety. Everyone is entitled to a safe working environment. Unlike many conditions, anaphylaxis is not visible unless someone is having an allergic reaction. That is why it is extremely important to communicate your allergies before a reaction occurs.
Keep in mind the following:
- Make yourself known
Quick access to medical information can help managers, coworkers and emergency personnel deliver fast treatment for an allergic reaction. It’s a good idea to wear MedicAlert® identification and have an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan available that states your allergies, the location of your auto-injector, and how to use your auto-injector.
- Work with them, not against them
While employees with food allergies must take ownership of their condition, they require the support and understanding of co-workers. It will likely be viewed as unreasonable to ask your co-workers to stop eating foods that you’re allergic to, so work with colleagues to find ways to minimize the risk of accidental exposure. Education is always the best route to take in getting others to understand your food allergies.
- Stay protected
If your job requires you to wear a different outfit or uniform, or if you carry a different bag to work, make sure that your auto-injector is still with you. Employers must understand that you need this with you at all times since it is a life-saving device.
- Ask about policies
If they don’t have a workplace anaphylaxis policy, or if an existing policy could be improved, try giving suggestions on what the policy could include, such as designated eating/kitchen areas, and labelling of products brought in for staff parties.
Watch this informative video on managing food allergy in the workplace:
Agnes is a 24-year-old graduate student and health policy researcher living with food allergies to peanuts. In this video, she provides tips for managing food allergies in the workplace as well as educating coworkers. Made in collaboration with EpiPen Canada.