At a time where 'Food Allergy Bullying' is quite the topic, I was pleased to have this encouraging article from a local tweener who has managed living with severe nut allergies with wonderful success.
Her family, friends and school are incredibly supportive in helping her lead a healthy and inclusive life. I love her reference to younger kids with allergies as being "little Allergians".
Here's to more food allergy encouragement and Allergian Support!
Hi, My name is Kaya and I am an twelve year old girl soon to be in eighth grade. I have been dealing with a tree-nut/peanut allergy since I was about two years old. The first time I experienced a nut reaction was at the Boise Town Square Mall.
Some family members had taken me to the mall and when we walked inside there was a woman asking us if we wanted a sample. Not knowing that I was allergic to peanuts, they fed the sample to me. It turns out that sample was a banana walnut muffin. Right away I could fill my throat starting to swell up and I started vomiting into the garbage. One of my aunts immediately called 911. Once the ambulance was there, they gave me medication and asked me a few questions.
After that, we knew that I could go into anaphylatic shock if I eat peanuts and/or tree nuts. This is when my throat gets, itchy, red, and swollen in the matter of minutes.
A lot of people ask me, " What happens when you eat a nut?". The answer to this is that each nut that I eat has a different reaction. For example macadamia nuts have a stronger reaction than just a peanut.
I also get the question "Have you ever tasted a peanut?". Well, every time I eat a nut it is like my taste buds go numb. When I have a peanut they all basically "taste" the same.
Since I am old enough, I now carry around benadryl and sometimes an epi-pen (when traveling long distances). I also have a contact card that has my parents phone numbers on it. This is in case I need help but can not talk during a reaction.
Most of my friends that I hang out with have my parents phone numbers in their cell. Of course, having a peanut allergy limits me to not having a lot of foods, but my family and friends make it fair.
It is scary having this allergy but with family and friends that help me, it becomes easier. For example, if friends and I go out to the mall or a restaurant and they want something that has nuts, they will sacrifice that food and tell me " It's not worth it." Also just because my family has one person out of six people that has a nut allergy, doesn't mean they don't eat peanut butter or get small nut treats here and there. So, if they do go and buy something with nuts they let me pick out a small treat. This makes me feels not as left out.
My school is also pretty good with putting signs up saying "Todays dessert has peanuts," but I always still ask " Does todays dessert have any nuts in it?". If so, they usually give me oreos or another small dessert. For little 'Allergians', it can be hard saying no to foods that they want. A tip my mom uses for me is that she usually has gum or little treats in her purse she'll let me have if someone else is eating a nut.
I hope after reading this, it inspires you to be more cautious around people like me who have a severe nut allergy. I hope you also learned a few tips.
Thank you for reading!