Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

Early Independence

Growing up, I had some interesting and potentially dangerous situations at school with my food allergies. I always had an epinephrine auto-injector in the nurse’s office at school. But my parents worried about something happening at recess, or in a classroom that wasn’t necessarily close to the nurse’s office.

After I had a bad reaction in second grade, my parents pushed the school district to let me carry my epinephrine auto-injector with me, along with having one in the nurse’s office. I was at recess and I started getting hives, so I went to the nurse’s office with my friend. An ambulance came to the school, but the paramedics didn’t think it was serious, so I went to a walk-in clinic. The doctor I saw ended up administering epinephrine. At first, the school district didn’t like the idea of me carrying my medicine because I was only 8 years old at the time. But my parents and my doctor worked with the school district, and because I was pretty responsible, they finally allowed me carry my medicine. Carrying my medicine taught me to be more responsible. I had to make sure none of my friends played with it, so I carried it with me all the time and never let it out of my sight. When people asked me if they could see it, I would say, “No,” because it isn’t a toy. Carrying my medicine at school made me feel safer in case anything ever did happen.

I have an “Aller-Pack” to carry my medicine. I like it because its small and it clips onto bags. When I play sports, I can have it close to me on the bench if I ever need it, because I also have asthma. I clip it onto my softball bag where everyone on my team can see it. When I played basketball, I would keep it with my water bottle and my coaches always knew about my allergies. Where I grew up, if someone had a medical ID bracelet and they played sports, they were allowed to wear it. But nobody else could wear jewelry, and that always made me feel safer that I could wear it if anything ever did happen to me. When I go out, I always wear my medical ID bracelet which says I carry an epinephrine auto-injector. I always make sure I wear my bracelet, even when I go out with my friends who know I have allergies. At dances, I always have a little purse that is big enough to hold my epinephrine auto-injector.

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