Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

A Whole Lotta Love



“Many of my friends know where my EpiPens® are and how to use them. Also, when I go over to my friends’ houses, they try to cook food that is safe for me to eat. When I go camping, my cooking partner makes sure all the food that he provides for dinner is safe. If I were to eat a nut in the middle of a week-long canoeing trip, getting help would be a challenge. When treats were brought in for birthdays in elementary school, sometimes my friends would bring in special snacks that looked the same for me. Although my friends help ensure my safety, ultimately I am responsible for my safety.” ~ Peter. Age 16. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and fish.

 

“All of my friends, or almost all of them, have been very supportive of my food allergies. Almost all of them know how to administer my epinephrine. A few have allergies and know exactly what it’s like. We help each other. The other kids with allergies and I have a peanut-free table, and my friends sit with me there. They double-check the packaged food that I eat for my allergens. I check food for my friends with allergies to keep them safe. My friends are wonderful!” ~ Grace. Age 14. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, and shellfish.

 

“My friends have always been understanding and helpful to me regarding my food allergies. Right from kindergarten, I had friends who would stand up for me and try to help when needed. All of my friends know what a food allergy is, and most of them know what to do if I have an allergic reaction to something. In the cafeteria, my friends would always help me out and were very tolerant of my allergy, whether by avoiding me if they had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or by standing up for me.

“Outside of school, my friends are also helpful. Whenever we would go out or just downtown for a bit to get a bite to eat, we would always choose a place where I could safely eat. If I went over to one of their homes, I would always be able to find something safe to eat. Overall, I feel that my friends have been my greatest asset in managing food allergies; I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if I did not have such great friends.” ~ William. Age 17. Allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

 

“I am very fortunate that throughout my life, I have had daily support from my friends in dealing with my food allergies. My closest friends have always been very understanding and willing to make special arrangements for me. For example, they try to make me feel more comfortable by not ordering or eating foods that I’m allergic to. In the past, they have also told others not to eat certain foods around me, or to wash their hands or brush their teeth after eating a food that I am allergic to. They take the initiative to accommodate me without making me feel like I am causing a problem.

“Additionally, my best friends keep me safe by always keeping their guard up, just as I do. This way, there are multiple eyes and ears watching out for me. At restaurants, they often ask about ingredients before I even get a chance to, and they warn me not to take chances when I am uncertain. Since I spend a lot of time at their houses, they keep safe snacks for me on hand, allowing me not to worry about being able to eat anything. Finally, my closest friends are aware of the severity of my food allergies and have gladly gone through training with my EpiPen and know what the signs of a reaction are. I hope that as I grow older, new friends will be just as helpful and understanding.” ~ Marissa. Age 18. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame.

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