Many people consider the holidays to be the best time of year for making special memories with friends and family. 

For those with food allergies, it can be a very difficult time. 

Zach Churchill, 11, has severe peanut allergies and, like most people with allergies, he has become an expert on reading food labels. 

“I have to like read everything, dig through the trash and be like, ‘Oh is this okay,’ and like go dumpster diving for ingredients and all of that to see if it was okay,” Churchill said. 

The holiday season can be problematic for those with food allergies because it is hard to know the source of food at parties and get-togethers. 

If you’re the host, hold onto food labels so your guests with food allergies can double-check the ingredient list. 

“Even a small amount of allergic food, if that gets in something unexpectedly could potentially cause a reaction, so being careful in certainly important,” Dr. BJ Lanser, pediatric allergist, said. 

Beware of cross contamination. All utensils and surfaces should be scrubbed with soap and water and wiped clean. 

If you’re the guest, experts recommend making the host aware of any food restrictions you might have as soon as possible. Don’t dive into any unknown party dips without a backup plan. 

You could always host the party yourself, having your guests provide non-food items like drinks and utensils. This way, you are sure to prepare foods that are safe. 

(Copyright (c) 2015 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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