Saturday, February 8, 2014

If They're Not Carrying an Epi-Pen for That Food Allergy, They Probably Aren't Allergic

I would like to (continue to) clear the air where Food Allergies are concerned. 

IF you can say “Every time I eat yogurt __________ happens,” then chances are you don’t have an allergy to dairy. You are likely INTOLERANT to dairy. If you were allergic to dairy, you wouldn’t eat anything with any milk products in it - not even butter used in a baked good, or a food with casein or certain types of lactate on the label, because if you ingested ANY dairy -no matter the amount- your body would freak out, organs would potentially shut down, and you could die within a matter of minutes without a shot of epinephrine

IF you have Celiac Disease, or can say “Every time I eat wheat or gluten __________ happens,” you do not have a gluten/wheat “allergy." You have a gluten sensitivity, or intolerance. I myself suffer from migraines if I eat too much gluten, and from bad stomach cramps if I eat certain types of dairy. I am not allergic to gluten or dairy. If I were allergic to either then the afore mentioned would take place and I would need a shot of epinephrine to save my life. Within minutes in most cases. Minutes

I am not saying this to be rude, but to raise awareness. For the sake of people like my daughter, who have LIFE THREATENING food allergies, please stop calling yourself “allergic.” Call it what it is - a sensitivity or intolerance. If an allergen so much as touches Amery, then she will have a reaction. Sometimes even the smell of an allergen in the air (garlic and peanuts in her case) can cause a reaction. 

Amery being monitored (one of 4 times) in the ER after anaphylaxis and an epinephrine shot

Because the waters of what a food allergy truly is have been so muddied, it is even more stressful on our family and families like ours to eat out. Servers assume right off the bat when we begin to tell them Amery has severe food allergies that she is “gluten free.” Well, no. She is not gluten free. As a matter of fact, bring on the gluten! In her long list of food allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, beef, garlic, avocado, green peppers, carrots and peaches) wheat and gluten are one the few things she can eat - in large quantities I might add. She is not going to get a stomach ache or other symptoms like so many of the people who claim to be allergic to certain food when they come and sit at one of your tables, kind server. If an allergen so much as goes near her food - if any sort of contamination occurs -- if you touch the ranch dressing then touch her food, or you forget to change your gloves or grab a new spoon in the kitchen, we will be jabbing her in the leg with the epi pen and calling an ambulance within minutes. People need to know just how serious Food Allergies are. These are lives at stake

Because food allergy and anaphylactic families need servers, restaurant owners, caregivers and everyone else who may be around our food allergy kids to be aware of how severe food allergies, not intolerances and sensitivities, truly are, PLEASE, in a world where almost everyone has a certain dietary restriction, stop lumping those restrictions with food allergies. 

Spread the word. 

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