For some reason I thought National Allergy (and asthma) Awareness Month was June, but I just realised it was May, oops! I just wanted to do a little post about this, as we’re only a couple of days into June, so its sort of still May in my head! With over 21 million allergy sufferers in the UK, I thought the condition deserved some awareness! Allergies rang from foods to materials and across a broad spectrum of severity, with allergies growing affecting a large amount of people
Personally, I suffer from multiple food allergies, including poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, kiwis, coconuts, lentils, peas, raw vegetables and a few others. I’m also allergic to latex, feathers and suffer from hayfever and asthma. So organisations for allergies etc are close to me. I’ve been allergic to most of the foods from the age of 4, and I was told as I grew older these would disappear, however the opposite happened and I became allergic to more foods. However, as I have had these allergies from such a young age, I’m pretty much used to my diet now, and I don’t even feel like I’m missing out and I’m pretty open and happy to talk about them.
I wanted to write this post to raise awareness to the severity of food allergies. Some people overlook allergies, and some people have even thought I was lying, just because I ‘didn’t like’ these foods and that I was being fussy. I’m quite a shy person and piping up at someones house to say ‘oh sorry i’m allergic to that’ used to often scare me, as i’d feel rude for putting friends parents etc at an inconvenience.
An example of this is at one Christmas dinner at my secondary school I asked for the vegetarian option but then for a pig in blanket, to which they got annoyed I had gone for the vegetarian option but then was eating meat and they thought I was lying about my allergy to poultry. I hate confrontation, so that sort of scenario was horrible for me, and being the timid little year 7 or 8 that I was, it was a scary time too, and often people don’t realise some people are just allergic to weird things!
Many people also don’t realise the seriousness of cross-contamination. Often I’ve had an allergic reaction eating a dish I know should be safe, and the only explanation can be cross-contamination of utensils in the kitchen for example.
Some people also aren’t aware of the severity of how dangerous it can be to be to eat food I am allergic to, thinking it is only a mild intolerance. Personally, my throat swells up, I get itchy and rashy around the mouth, my lips swell, I get hives etc. The most threatening situation would be anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction which touch wood I have never experiencesd and also luckily I’ve never had to use my epi-pen, and hopefully I won’t ever have to!
As I’ve grown older, i’m not so afraid to speak out about my allergies and i’m pretty used to the ‘but nobody is allergic to chicken’ response by now, and luckily my friends are all very understanding and good around me. I also don’t really like to make a song and dance about my allergies, and prefer to keep it quiet, but sometimes people do just to have to know to be on the safe side, so if you’re like me, don’t be shy! As I’ve also become older, I’ve noticed much more options for allergy sufferers whilst eating out, and many menus have symbols for dishes that contains nuts etc, which is very helpful.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully this has raised a bit more awareness towards allergies! Let me know if you enjoyed this sort of post! For more information check out allergy uk and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or on twitter!
Do you or your friends have any allergies?