Coping with Food Allergies in College

Food allergies can be tricky to manage, especially when you’re away from home. If you or your teenager is getting ready to head off to college in the coming months, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the allergy doctor. He or she will review your food allergy management plan and update it for the college campus environment. An allergy specialist is your best source of information regarding how you should handle the dining hall and who you should tell about your food allergies.

Notify school officials about your needs.

As soon as you enroll in a school, you should contact the campus disability services office. Let them know about your food allergy and find out about the available accommodations. The disability services representative can be your liaison with the staff at the dining hall, health clinic, and residential office. However, you should also speak directly with the dining hall staff. Schedule an in-person meeting with the director or manager of dining services. Discuss your food allergies and accommodations. If you do have an allergic reaction to the dining hall food, contact the dining hall and disability office to follow up.

Talk to your roommate and RA.

Set up a plan with your roommate for keeping food separate. You should also talk to the resident advisor (RA) for your floor. If permitted by the school, show the RA how to use the auto-injector in the event of an emergency. Don’t forget to take your auto-injector with you everywhere.

Check the menus online.

Most campus dining halls will post menus online. Check them daily and make a note of allergen information. Don’t eat anything unless you’re certain of the ingredients. You should also check the online menus of any restaurants you plan to patronize.

Get the complete care you need at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. We treat patients with food allergies in the following areas: Blue Bell, Center City, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. For assistance managing food allergies while in college, you can call 1(800)86-COUGH and request an appointment.