What You Need To Know About Food Allergies

What You Need To Know About Food Allergies

Educate yourself and help those you may know if food allergies!
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I have anaphylaxis to milk and shellfish. You may be asking yourself, "What in the world is anaphylaxis?". Anaphylaxis is a type of reaction in which after ingestion (sometimes just after inhalation) of an allergen, a person's throat will close, shutting down their airway and if left untreated can result in death. The only things the Anaphylactic community has to defend themselves with against this reaction is 1) strict avoidance of food with the allergen present, 2 ) if ingestion occurs, the EpiPen is used right away.

Side note: the EpiPen is a shot of epinephrine that will temporarily stop an anaphylactic reaction if used in time. The EpiPen only works for about 25 minutes which should give the person having the reaction enough time to get to the hospital and receive steroids to try to stop the reaction completely.

However, the sad truth is that sometimes people having this deadly reaction do not make it to the hospital alive. If the reaction is left untreated the person will go into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is when the allergic person's airway becomes almost completely restricted, their blood pressure bottoms out, and they pass out and sometimes never wake up.

So now that you have a crash course in anaphylaxis, I'm going to tell you my story.

I've had anaphylaxis since I was born. Yep, that's right! I've spent almost 21 years with this disease and honestly, I wouldn't have wanted to grow up any other way. Let me explain, growing up with food allergies was not always fun. I had a normal childhood just like everyone else. I played basketball, softball, soccer.... pretty much all the normal sports kids play.

I had friends, I went out to the movies and the carnivals in my hometown. But one thing that wasn't normal was when it came to food. I had to be overly aware of what was going on around me. If shellfish was being steamed in a restaurant, I would have to leave. If someone was drinking milk right next to me I had to be aware of if that spat when they talked.

Even little exposures to my allergies could set off my anaphylactic reaction. Cross-contamination is a huge issue, so I cannot eat out at restaurants. When I was younger I was never really in the position to go to a lot of restaurants. But as I got older, the problem grew to be a bigger issue. I wanted to fit in with my peers, go on dates, and not seem like that weird girl that can't be taken out on a generic dinner date.

New people would come in and out of my life and not all of them would understand. A lot of people would question just how serious my allergies are and if maybe I am taking it too seriously.

Something that people need to understand now is that, yes, all allergies are serious on some level. Every person that has an allergy does not have the same reaction. Honestly, it's great that your aunt has an allergy and she can eat food that has been cross-contaminated with her allergen and be okay. It's amazing that your dad can choose when he wants to ingest his allergy and not have an anaphylactic reaction. I do not have those luxuries. If I consume or ingest my allergy in any way I will have an anaphylactic reaction. My throat will close and I will die if I do not use my EpiPen.

If you know someone who has food allergies all that I ask is that you take it as seriously as the allergic person does. Each person is different and you need to adjust how you act and what you say accordingly.

Even though it has definitely not been easy growing up with food allergies I wouldn't have traded my experiences for anything. If I did not have these allergies, I would not be who I am today. When it comes down to it, my food allergies will always be a part of who I am. Even if I desensitize and grow to not be allergic to milk and shellfish anymore I will always take the lessons I've learned with me throughout every challenge I may face in this life.

If you want to find out more about food allergies and anaphylaxis please visit https://www.foodallergy.org/home

It is a very useful and informative website.

Also if you have food allergies and need more resources you can also visit that website and look around! Even though everyone has their own set of allergies and reactions you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: Dentistry IQ

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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Gambling Is Fun For The Adrenaline Rush It Gives You, But Be Careful Not To Become Addicted

Last week, I had the pleasure of feeding $500 into the greedy slot machines on the Vegas Strip. I now see why gambling is a sin.

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Last week, I had the pleasure of feeding $500 into the greedy slot machines on the Vegas Strip. I now see why gambling is a sin.

Surprisingly, my dignity is still intact and let me tell you why. Even though all my money quenched the thirst of the desperate machines, it was all in good fun. I can't deny that my days in Vegas were beyond amazing, so I don't regret my gambling defeat. But best of all, I got to see the insane nature of serious gamblers which was truly a breathtaking experience. Literally breathtaking... if you inhaled long enough you would be lungs deep in cigarette smoke.

The locals there genuinely believed that they would be paying next month's rent by gambling. My favorite experience had to be at the hotel which we stayed at, the Mirage. It was around midnight when we spotted a half dressed, drunk man in the lobby waiting for help because he lost everything he had in his wallet. Which, unfortunately, was thousands.

But hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And sadly, for many, the only thing that stayed was their money. Myself included.

I do praise the confidence of gamblers, since I too fell into the trap of thinking I was a millionaire after one slot spin. But luckily I had nothing to lose. My family collectively lost about $500, and fortunately, only $50 was mine. Meanwhile, we have people pouring a thousand dollars into those machines hoping for a nonexistent miracle. When in reality the slots are "rigged" to always eat up your money and sanity.

All losses aside, I now understand why people stay on the floor even after they go bankrupt. Gambling is all about the addictive adrenaline that rushes through you when you use those money hungry slot machines. Regardless of the ample losses I took on vacation, it was definitely worth the experience. Gambling on the Vegas Strip was one of the most insane experiences I've ever had, and I am glad I contributed to the Mirage's funds.

Till next time, Vegas... when I'm actually legal.

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