Planning for Your Social Life in College

College students must learn to manage food allergies in various social situations, such as dining out and dating.

College is a time of new experiences, and it will be tempting to take risks with your food allergies when you’re among new friends. Plan ahead to avoid unnecessary risks.

Dining Out

You may find yourself eating at restaurants or attending catered events. Contact the restaurant or caterer in advance to make sure they can accommodate your food allergies.

Bring FARE’s chef cards with you to restaurants and send them ahead of time to caterers. You can download chef cards in 11 different languages from FARE.

Alcohol Use

We are often asked about the effects that alcohol might have when combined with epinephrine. According to Dr. Clifton T. Furukawa, an allergist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, W.A., alcohol may increase the rate at which a food allergen is absorbed, therefore resulting in a quicker onset of symptoms. He also explained a few additional risks to consider:

“If a person has had alcoholic drinks and then needs epinephrine, the epinephrine will still be effective. However, alcohol use does present a risk to food-allergic individuals. When alcohol is consumed, judgment, timing, and muscle coordination are adversely affected. Thus, people may take chances they should not, may misjudge what is occurring, and may allow food contamination to occur just by mishandling. Additionally, their ability to recognize a reaction, give themselves medications, and summon help may be affected.

Relationships and Dating

When should you tell a date about your food allergy? Can kissing lead to cross-contact of food allergens? Get answers to these questions on our Relationships and Dating page.