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!
12
views

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

Popular Right Now

A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

This one's for you.
20916
views

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that. I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions. After everything life has put you through you have still remained soft. This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did. You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself. You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away. Remember that it is OK to say no. You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

An Inside Look At Alzheimer's

This is just a little introduction to the journey my family and I have been on with my grandma while she struggled with Alzheimer's.

307
views

My grandmother, my mom's mom, was the most beautiful soul in this world, even throughout her battle with Alzheimer's. My grandma's name is Joan Kohanski (but us grandkids called her Baba) and she was born on February 22, 1938. She was diagnosed with polio in her legs at the young age of 14. She has walked with canes ever since then but lived such an adventurous life. She married my papa (Ron) on August 8, 1959. The first daughter of theirs' was my Aunt Karen on May 25, 1961. My mom (Gail) came along on February 10, 1964. Finally, my Aunt Julie (we call her T.T.) was born on June 13, 1966.

They took many family vacations, many boat rides on my papa's boat on Lake Erie, and even a cross-country road trip in their R.V. Our family is so much fun when we get together for events and holidays, but we all agree that Baba would make everything feel whole again. Baba, as told by my mom, loved her family. It made her entire world go 'round. She would have sacrificed anything for her family and she did in many cases. One time, my Baba, Papa, and all the girls went to Cedar Point for the day. Baba didn't ride any rides that day, so she selflessly walked around all day on her canes and had blisters when the day was over just for her family. She loved her grandkids, all nine of them (me included). She was also very funny and had a great sense of humor, and I see her live through my mom every day.

I'm not sure if anyone has ever heard of this before, but supposedly, cardinals are your loved ones making themselves known that they are still there with you.

The amount of times that I have seen cardinals since her passing is uncanny and nobody can tell me that it's just a coincidence. The funniest part about it is that she lived on Cardinal Drive when my mom was growing up, and that's still where my papa lives today. Another really special thing to me is that I am part of the sorority that she was in, Delta Gamma. It makes me feel as if I have my own special connection with her that no one can take away, since all of my cousins and siblings that are older than me remember her before she was diagnosed, and I have a vague memory of it.

Baba was diagnosed with Alzheimer's around 2006 and lived with it until May 12, 2016. Her struggle with this horrible disease was not easy, certainly on her, but any of us, especially Papa. Papa took care of her at home until he was unable to anymore, which then he made the decision to put her in a care facility. She started out in a typical room by herself. As her condition got worse, she moved into the Alzheimer's unit with other people who had the same illness. If anyone has never had the first-hand experience with a loved one suffering from this disease, it is truly the most heartbreaking thing in the world. I would never wish that on my worst enemy. You start to see the person you love and look up to the most slowly become less and less of themselves, and it's not their fault. You learn to forgive them for the times that they forget your name and who you are. You know that it's really not them and they can't help it.

The whole journey of her suffering has been such a hardship to everyone in my family. It's probably the worst thing that any of us will ever go through. I am so happy with where she is right now because I know that she is in a better place, and rid of any and all illness. It's hard to come to terms that she isn't here with us any longer, and it's almost selfish of me to question "Why us?". I would do anything to have her back today but I know that there is always a reason why and I have to trust it. If you or someone you know has a family member or loved one that has Alzheimer's, just know that you are certainly not alone and other people totally understand.

Related Content

Facebook Comments