Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

A Slice of Trouble

By Ryan. Age 19. Allergic to soy and peanut.


The last reaction I had was to some pizza that I thought was safe. It was a sausage pizza from one of the local stores in town, and my family had eaten there for over 10 years. But that night, when I ate the pizza, I had a reaction. Every bite made my tongue feel worse and worse, and I got more and more scared. I didn’t believe that eating what I thought was a safe meal was affecting me, but I knew the pizza could have become contaminated with my allergens somehow.

I was eating the pizza in front of the television alone and decided to let my mom know I did not feel well. My mom also found it hard to believe that my “safe” pizza was causing an allergic reaction. She decided to treat the indigestion with an antacid, and she gave me two Benadryl ® for good measure.

I was still very uncomfortable, and my mom asked me questions about exactly how I was feeling and what my symptoms were. When I told her I had an itchy mouth, she took out the epinephrine.

We had practiced giving the epinephrine shot fairly regularly over the previous year, using expired EpiPens ® on oranges. My mom was about to inject me with the needle when I stopped her and suggested it would be a good time for me to do it, and I did. Then my mother called the hospital to say we were on our way there by car. I think we were still in denial that I was reacting to the pizza with anaphylaxis. The nurse instructed my mom to call 911 instead and said that if I have a history of anaphylaxis, we should not drive anywhere, even if I’ve had epinephrine.

After about two hours of my arriving, I sat up in bed. I had a terrible stomachache and the feeling that there was something blocking my throat. I was doubled over in pain from gastritis. They did not treat me with any more epinephrine, only antacid, and it took two full doses before I felt any small relief from that terribly bad pain.

Unfortunately, the medicine was not readily available, and I had to wait a very long time for the antacid. The doctor was confident I did not need any more epinephrine at the time, but he did instruct the nurse to give me prednisone in a pill form.

My mom stayed with me in the hospital room until the early morning hours and then left, instructing the nurses to not feed me anything because of my soy and peanut allergies. She returned early with orange juice and some of her pancakes, which I ate quickly. I was feeling much better. The gastritis was gone, and the pain in my throat was almost gone. My pediatrician was on call and stopped in to see me.

We found another place locally to get sausage pizza, and I eat there regularly now. The owner did more than we expected in helping us. He checked all the ingredients for his sausage pizza, and he even set up a separate place in his restaurant where my pizza is sliced and prepared. He bought a second pizza slicer, too.

My mom won’t let me try the old place again, even though I think it was a one-time incident. The pizza from the shop where we go now is just as good, though, and I am fine with it.

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