If you suffer from a severe allergy, then shopping online may be both daunting and anxiety-inducing. Use this handy guide to help you navigate the process and to buy safely and with confidence.
Grocery Shopping Filters
An increasing number of online grocery stores now incorporate specific filters designed for those with allergies. These filters are an easy way to filter out products that may contain the relevant allergen and is a much more convenient way of locating suitable items compared to having to manually search the ingredient list and allergy information of a multitude of individual products.
Some online supermarkets have gone a step further and made a customizable filter, so if you have an allergen that isn’t listed but that it’s important to avoid, you can add it and then filter products accordingly. Even better, these filters can be saved so that every time you log in, you will be able to quickly and easily see the products that are safe for you to consume.
Choosing a Mattress Online
If you’re mattress shopping, looking online may be convenient, but there could be pitfalls, too, if you suffer from a severe allergy; specifically, in the case of mattresses, a latex allergy. It is thought that a latex allergy affects about 6% of the population in the USA; while, often, even those with this allergy can use a latex mattress – as there is no skin contact with the material – it may still cause problems for those with an acute form of the allergy, which can be triggered by airborne particles.
If this is the case, then your best option, when looking at online options, is to choose either memory foam or synthetic foam mattresses; both of these types of mattresses give a fairly similar experience to latex. For those wanting a natural, organic option to reduce the risk of a reaction still further, then these are now widely available, too. Saatva offers a range of luxury mattresses that come with an organic cotton cover and pillow top, and for those wondering where Saatva mattresses are made – they’re made in the USA.
Use Speciality Stores
You may wish to use one of the many specialty online stores that are created to be allergy-friendly. As well as tending to offer a variety of ranges catering specifically to those suffering from allergies, these stores often offer bulk buy discounts, making them a convenient way to save money, too, on items that could otherwise be relatively expensive.
You can find several one-stop-shop solutions that stock a range of allergy-friendly grocery, cosmetic, and household items and that are geared to those suffering from various types of allergy, from those involving food to dust mite allergies and eczema. Some even offer home testing allergy kits to help you identify what you’re reacting to in a product.
Select Beauty Products With Care
If you have severe allergies, shopping for make-up and skin-care products can be particularly challenging, not least because it can be hard to identify the component ingredients and what they actually are: even the term ‘hypoallergenic’ is no guarantee that an item is safe for someone with allergies.
For peace of mind, have a look online to find the exact nature of ingredients in each product before purchase – you may also then need to identify whether any of these ingredients are potential triggers. It’s also important to be aware that, sometimes, manufacturers will change the formulation of a product, so keep your eye on the brand website before re-buying, in case this occurs.
You may want to consider opting for organic skin-care and make-up products, as these tend to be free of common skin allergens, although still check the labels carefully to make sure that your specific allergy won’t be triggered by any component of the item.
General Shopping Tips For Those With Allergies
For those with allergies, using a few tips can make shopping both easier and safer. Firstly, try to shop online at a time when you won’t be rushed; it’s vital that you have time to sufficiently check all product information to make sure there are no allergens present.
Don’t be afraid to contact food manufacturers: you may also find that allergy questions are answered on the manufacturer’s website, either under the product info or general FAQ pages.
If you have multiple food allergies, you may be able to get a referral to see a specialist dietician; this service can be a great source of advice and information on how to manage your allergy and source safe food. Your dietician will be a useful first point of contact if you have a question about the suitability of an ingredient.
Unprocessed foods will always be a good option for you, as you will know exactly what has gone into each dish. Consider bath cooking meals and freezing them for convenience. Be careful, too, of food that is labeled as ‘allergy friendly’ – for example, a product may not contain wheat, but it may still contain gluten in another form. Again, if in doubt, contact the food manufacturer for more information.