How to handle food allergies during holidays

From now through the New Year, many holiday celebrations revolve around food, which makes this a very stressful time for families and kids with food allergies.

While they want to enjoy the festivities, even a small bite of the wrong thing can cause big trouble.

Eleven-year-old Zach Churchill is among the 6 million American kids with food allergies.

He's learned to protect himself by double-checking every label.

"When I'm there, I have to read everything, dig through the trash and be like, 'Oh, is this OK?' and then go dumpster diving for ingredients and all that to see if it was OK," said Churchill.

"Keeping it in the original packaging and keeping the original label is a good idea so that they can review it," said allergist B.J. Lanser.

Lanser, at the National Jewish Health in Denver, also has other tips for avoiding trouble.

For example, if you are going to a party, talk with the host before you go about safe foods for your child.

And if you are the host, have others bring nonfood items, such as paper goods, games, or craft projects, so you can control the food.

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.