I have allergies.
This is a very common statement nowadays but the fact that it is common doesn’t make it better or easier to live with. 150 million people in Europe alone and counting..
Warning: In this post I will talk about my personal experience as somebody with many allergies. It is a complicated topic that can affect you physically but also psychologically and,in my opinion, there is not enough awareness in society about it.
Even when I have read about allergies a lot, I am by no means an expert. It is hard to come by with any “manual” and the lack of information, doctor’s preparation and cure makes everything very confusing some times.
I will start from the beginning.
I was a happy healthy teenager when I had my first allergic reaction. The first manifestation of the allergy occurred on my skin. The doctors tested me and “discovered” that I was allergic to nuts.
By that time labels weren’t as complete as they are today and the awareness was basically nonexistent (at least in my family/friends environment)
The only solution there was (still the same now) is avoidance. If you don’t want a reaction just avoid the allergen.
Easier said than done. Confusing labels like the one below don’t help much.
Nobody explained to me the possible consequences of my allergies and I was sent home with an asthma inhaler and thinking that if by any chance I eat nuts I would have a terrible rush and that’s it.
I know, I know it sounds really stupid once you know what can really happen to you but if this is the first time you confront an issue like that and your doctor doesn’t explain what’s going on and what can go wrong, it is hard to think otherwise.
So I try to avoid nuts, it’s hard because they are in chocolate and, basically, all the sweet things I used to adore have nuts in them. My inexperienced me decided that eating the surroundings without eating the nut itself shouldn’t cause me any trouble. (face palm)
I ended up in the hospital. Long story short, I almost die and I got a new friend called Epi-pen (Epinephrine Autoinjector) that will come with me wherever I go for the rest of my life (at least until now). I like to keep it in a cute pouch to hide the fact that I have to carry it because my life is in danger every time I eat.
At this point in my life I find many people who have no idea about cross-contact and by that they can endanger the life’s of those around (sometimes and for some allergies just the fact that the product is cooked in the same room they are can cause a reaction).
I find myself explaining this fact to everybody that will listen long enough and that’s the reason I’m writing this today. With the numbers that I mentioned in the beginning I am sure you know at least one person with allergies. If you have never read about it, please take a few minutes and you will be able to understand the issue better and help those around you. If you have read about it, read a bit more as the world and our conception about the issue keeps changing and updating.
As a person with severe allergies I encounter sometimes limitations but the ones that hurt the most are the ones imposed by others.
I will keep talking about this topic in following posts. Feel free to ask any questions or share your experience as a person with allergies or if you live with an allergy sufferer. I know that it can be really hard for you too.