Dear Allergic Reactors,
Hello and welcome to my blog for kids with food allergies! Growing up being one of those kids, I can understand what it’s like every day! When I was growing up, I didn’t know anyone else with food allergies. I didn’t get to hear about other children going through the same experiences. I can only imagine how I would have felt knowing others with the same allergies! This blog is to share my stories and suggestions for all of you Allergic Reactors out there. I hope these stories will help and inspire you growing up as allergic reactors!
Since I was a baby, I’ve had food allergies. I also have asthma and environmental allergies. My anaphylactic allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, and less severe allergies to legumes, potato, banana, kiwi, mango, olives, and some raw fruits and vegetables. What I find most important with having anaphylactic allergies is trusting yourself, and finding ways to keep yourself safe. As a child, parents and family members are a fabulous help in keeping you safe! They will teach you how to read ingredients, what is safe to eat, and what you should avoid. As I’ve grown older, I have used these tools my parents gave me, to go to school, camp, travel, and live independently.
No matter what, not everyone is going to understand, and although I do hope that more people will begin to understand the seriousness of food allergies, I know that there is still many people who don’t. This is why it is important to learn how to be responsible for your own allergies.
The number one and MOST important thing to remember is to ALWAYS carry your epi-pen…ALWAYS! That is what will keep you safe, and that is by far what I have found to be the most important way of keeping myself safe! I also wear a Medic Alert bracelet. These two items are the most important possessions I own, because they are what could save my life in the case of a reaction. Over time, I have learned how to read my gut feelings, and know when to trust what I am eating, and when not to. This feeling comes over time. I have lived in other countries, traveled to many more, and never have once let my allergies control where or what I want to do. I have learned to empower myself!
It is a bit curious how someone who is so allergic can be such an adventure seeking, travel enthusiast, don’t you think? I am not sure where my passion came from exactly. I think it is due to growing up with my parents who believed in teaching me independence and responsibility.
It’s not until now that I am aware of how significant a role my allergies have played in my life, and as much as I would like to be in denial of this, I can’t. I do think about them a lot, but it is the way that I think about them, that is the key. I don’t let my allergies rule me. I don’t let them scare me. Instead I think of them as a normal part of my everyday. They are a routine. Something that does not take over my every thought or action, but that is just a part of the everyday. By viewing them in this way, I don’t focus on them. I’m sure there won’t ever be one day that my allergies don’t cross my mind. Every meal, every food involved situation I am in, they cross my mind. They don’t make my decisions though, or rule my life!
My biggest problem with going out to eat is feeling tired of explaining and not wanting to make a big deal about my allergies. I often go with dishes I have had at that restaurant before, and ask the server to double check that nothing has changed. It gets exhausting having to ask each time I eat somewhere what is in everything. Don’t get lazy though! It is always important to ask. If people in the restaurant give me a hard time, I go to a different one. There have been a few times where I haven’t felt confident in the wait staff, and that is not a good feeling. Trying the food you order and feeling unsure about it is not worth it. If the server did not leave you with a confident feeling that they knew what they were talking about, don’t eat until you feel confident that it is okay. The best way to do this is ask for the manager, or go right up to the kitchen and ask to speak with the chef. I have done both many times. BE ASSERTIVE! Trust me. It is much better to get the “okay” from the people who are actually supervising and cooking the meals!
Whenever I try food for the first time, I sometimes think I am getting a reaction, like an itchy throat, or my mouth will get dry and I will cough a bit. Then my heart beat starts jumping up through my throat because I have made myself so concerned that I may be allergic to this food, that I think I am getting a reaction, even though I am not! That reaction is all in my head, but sometimes it is unavoidable! I find the best way to try to have these moments of panic pass, is to take some deep breaths, ask again if I feel apprehensive, and try a tiny bit on my hand, then lip. I would only ever try the food if I knew it was okay. If there are ever any unclear ingredients, I will not eat.
When I am traveling, that is when my allergies become the most tiresome. Every meal becomes a bit less enjoyable, just knowing it will be a process to eat. There is no great advice for the exhaustion, besides saying I understand and having patience is important. It is a part of traveling, and a part of the unknown, but everything else about traveling makes this part worth it to me.
Having allergies makes you very tough. You have to be your own biggest fan, and tell yourself how great you are being, because often as you get older, you are not with people who could ever possibly understand. You should try to surround yourself with friends who are trustworthy and sympathetic, but you still have to be your own advocate. Only people with allergies can truly understand the difficulty and frustration you may feel at times.
Don’t be afraid to dream big about the places you want to go and the adventures you want to have, because you can still do it.Knowledge and courage are both important aspects in believing that you can. You need the knowledge to know how to take care of yourself in case of an emergency, and you need the courage to believe in yourself and your abilities to handle a situation!
Go empower yourself! Wear that Medic Alert bracelet with pride. Carry your Epi Pens, Benedryl, and inhaler wherever you go. Bring chef cards with you, too! You’ve got this, allergic reactors!!! You can do it!
Allie (a.k.a. Miss Allergic Reactor)
Other Posts to Check Out:
- The Star of the Show
- My Top 5 Tips For Kids
- Kyle Dine in Concert
- My Visit to Camp TAG
- Missing Out
- Back to School