Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

Be sure to check out this video, "Traveling with Food Allergies," from Anaphylaxis Canada.

Traveling with Allergies

By Olivia, age 13. Allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

Over the summer, I went to a French immersion camp. I’ve been to the camp before, but this was my first time with the knowledge of my serious peanut and tree nut allergies.

In order to spare my parents the long drive, I rode the bus. Along the way, we stopped at a Burger King for lunch. Since most allergic reactions occur in restaurants, my mom had packed me a lunch so I wouldn’t need to buy anything on the road. About an hour later, we were back on the bus and I noticed two red bumps on my arm. Upon closer inspection, they appeared to be hives, not bug bites. I started to get nervous. I kept thinking, “Please, please, please, don’t let this be a serious reaction. Not on a bus, where no one but me knows how to use an epinephrine auto-injector.” I have never had to give myself epinephrine before. I know how to do it, but being confronted with really doing it is far different from any kind of practice.

About 10 minutes later, I felt an odd burning sensation around my mouth that spread up to my cheeks. I’ve never felt something like it before. It’s almost like the pain of dry skin, but with a warm, tingling feeling. I quickly let the parent on the bus know that I was having an allergic reaction and I took a Benadryl ® Fastmelt tablet. My stomach hurt from my anxiety and I wanted to curl up and vanish through a wormhole back to my house.

Thankfully, my hives got smaller, that weird sensation around my mouth started to go away, and when I arrived at camp , I saw the nurse. We determined that I probably ate or inhaled one of my allergens at Burger King or on the bus, because kids brought snacks to eat and one of them could have been peanuts or tree nuts.

My advice to teens with food allergies is: Whenever you can, do not travel long distances alone unless you are fairly sure it is safe. Also, be prepared for any situation. Your life could depend on it.

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