Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

Be sure to check out this video, "Food Allergies and Dating," from Anaphylaxis Canada.

Steps to Safety

By Ariella. Age 16. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs.

Many people are born with food allergies; however, some people develop them as they grow older. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with food allergies, I would tell that individual to always be “in the know” or aware of everything. As Sir Frances Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power,” and I truly believe it is. When I go out with my friends, I always either choose the restaurant or make them check with me on where we are going. I would never want to be stuck in a situation that made me or anyone I am with uncomfortable due to my allergies.

Another great piece of advice is to always be on top of the upcoming social plans. As the famous boxer Jack Dempsey liked to say, “The best defense is a good offense.” By being prepared for what will happen, 99 percent of the time you will stay safe. Just this past Saturday, I went to my winter formal dance. I knew I needed to take my EpiPen ® with me, so before I went I asked one of the chaperoning teachers if I could leave it with them. Of course, they said it would be no problem, and that night I had a great time without worrying about where my medicine was.

Be aware of what is happening in the moment, and be prepared for what may happen in the future. These simple steps will help you minimize the chances of having an allergic reaction.

Steps to Safety

  1. Carry epinephrine and an antihistamine with you at all times.
  2. Always wear a medical identification bracelet.
  3. Never underestimate the importance of reading labels every time, no matter how many times you have eaten that same food.
  4. Take charge of food during club meetings, social gatherings, or any sports-related activities. Inform your friends of your food allergies and treatment plan in the event that you have a reaction.
  5. Carry a chef card (you can obtain a blank one here).
  6. Wherever you go, always check the food situation beforehand, no matter if you are going to a friend’s house, a party, or a restaurant.
  7. Always carry extra safe snacks.
  8. Make sure one or more of your friends knows how to use your epinephrine autoinjector.
  9. Don’t share food, drinks, straws, or lip balm.
  10. Be aware of your surroundings, such as what people are eating and what people may have just eaten.
  11. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you feel uncomfortable.
  12. When in doubt, throw it out.
Just as the rock group The Mamas and The Papas once sang, you can “Go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do.” You might just have to do it a little differently.

 

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