We all hear about it. This person we know or someone’s son or daughter has a food allergy. It almost seems unavoidable these days – but that’s okay. There’s no point getting upset because someone has a food allergy. Food allergies are more common that you may think (and very different from food sensitivities). For our family, food allergies are personal.
As it happens we both have food allergies. Rob’s is seafood-related and mine is plant-based. While it’s frustrating that his allergy affects both of us, he’s far more upset about it than I am. Why? His allergy developed later in life and now means he is no longer allowed to have certain types of seafood. Something he used to enjoy immensely. In my support of this, I choose not to have any – even though I could.
A nephew has a much more serious allergy to peanuts and this one is anaphylaxis (meaning, life-threatening). So, that means no peanut-related products in, on or around anything a couple days before he visits and everything has to be wiped down. This is to ensure he does not have an allergic reaction that could possible kill him. Sounds a little dramatic but I can assure you, it certainly isn’t. You never, ever want to be in a position of having to rush someone to emergency because you forgot to be careful.
I’ve heard many parents over the years complain that their kid can’t have this or that at school because one kid has a severe allergy to it. It’s an inconvenience for the parent(s) that don’t have kids with allergies. I finally snapped at one dad one day and asked how he would feel if his son or daughter had an allergy but because some other kids’ parent didn’t think it was a big deal, sent the item to school and now your kid’s in hospital fighting for their life? He was clearly unhappy I barked at him, but he’d never thought of it from that perspective before. He would look at it very differently from then on. He wouldn’t be careless about possibly harming – or worse – someone’s child.
We take allergies seriously as some are more serious than others. It can change lives and sometimes not in the best way possible. What having people with food allergies in our lives does teach us is, tolerance. They didn’t ask for it. It’s certainly no gift. They have to be constantly aware of the places they go to so they don’t have a reaction. It’s way more than an inconvenience.
For more information about food allergies, symptoms of food allergies and what to do, please visit Food Allergy Canada. We’ll talk about food sensitivities in an upcoming blog.