Don't be a host turkey: Food allergens can kill

Be mindful of other guests' allergies this holiday season.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old woman with a food allergy. Last year, I was a guest at a Thanksgiving dinner where the host insisted I could eat the food "since there was just a little in there." I understand that making separate food is difficult, but an allergic reaction is uncomfortable. At worst, it can be life-threatening.

Would you please print a message about allergy awareness before the holidays?

- Not Picky, Really Allergic in Illinois 

DEAR REALLY ALLERGIC: Exposure to even a trace of a substance that an individual is allergic to is dangerous because "just a little" can hurt you. The symptoms can occur in as few as five to 15 minutes after exposure, but life-threatening reactions may progress over several hours. Someone experiencing symptoms should be treated at the nearest emergency room or hospital.

The Food Allergy Research and Education website is loaded with valuable information on this important subject. Check it out at


DEAR ABBY: Last week, I attended two events for my grandchildren: a school concert and a dance recital. Both times during the performance I saw electronic devices turned on throughout the audience. It seemed that parents were encouraging children to play video games, watch movies or surf the Internet instead of pay attention to the show. It drove me crazy.

What are these parents teaching their children? Not only are they missing out on the experience, but they are also being taught terrible manners. I wanted to slap the parents in the back of the head. (I'm old school.) Am I wrong?

- Holding My Tongue

DEAR HOLDING: No, you're 100 percent right. Before many performances, the director or principal will request that electronic devices be turned off. That's what should have been done at the concert and recital you attended. Parents who allow or encourage their children to behave this way aren't doing their job, which is to teach them to be respectful of the performers and the effort that was put into the show.