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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Living with Food Allergies - Guest Blogger, Kayla Oliver-Connelly

In celebration of National Food Allergy Awareness Week, I wanted to share the perspective of a young adult living with food allergies.  Never having had food allergies myself, I know I can't truly understand the challenges which come with managing allergies on a daily basis, particularly life-threatening ones. 

S.A.F.E. Guest Blogger - Kayla Oliver-Connelly

I am so appreciative of this young lady's willingness to share her personal experiences and thoughts with so many of us.  I can only hope that as my children get older, they will be the positive, encouraging role model that this young 8th grader is to the younger peers around her.

Living with Food Allergies
By Kayla Oliver-Connelly

I have been allergic to tree nuts my entire life. I have heard stories about when my parents first found out that I was allergic to tree nuts. We were at the beach when I was younger. I ate a nut and immediately threw up. Thinking I was sick, I took a shower and then went to bed. I do not remember it, but my aunt, who is a nurse, noticed that I was not breathing right. My parents took me to the hospital where the doctor made the diagnosis.

It was hard at first to get used to living without tree nuts. I have to read the label on foods to see if they contain nuts. I also had to get into the habit of asking others if things that they make for a special occasion contained any nuts. It can be hard to be the only one to not take a treat because it contains a certain ingredient that you are allergic to. I have had to do that a couple of times. It gives you a sense of being left out in a way. 

Now that I am older, I regret thinking of my allergy as a disadvantage for me. Of course, my allergy made me different than a lot of people. I am not able to eat some of the foods that my friends eat.

However, I know other people who have food allergies.  In a way, I can see how it is harder for them. You could be allergic to a very common food or a mix of different foods.  You should never think of your food allergy as a disadvantage or something bad.  Think of it as a way to be different than other people. 

We are all special and unique. 

Your allergy is just a way that you are different from everyone else. 

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