Sunday, November 11, 2012

Be Diligent. Be Careful. Food Allergies are Dangerous.

Living with my sons' food allergies has been a daily challenge for the past 11 years in my household.  We carry epipens, have blood tests and allergy scratch tests every couple of years.  I spend hours at the grocery store each week, studying labels, even calling companies just to verify an ingredient or lack of one if there is any question whatsoever.  My sons NEVER eat out.  I have prepared virtually every meal they have ever eaten since they were born and suffice it to say, feeding my sons has become a routine, an everyday thing, without much thought.  I admit I have recently been lax with carrying epipens during mundane, daily errands.   

We know a few people here and there that are allergic to foods, mostly peanuts.  As a matter of fact, my sister-in-law's brother who lives in Milan, Italy has lived with food allergies most of his life.  I'm not sure what exactly he is allergic to but I believe it may be nuts.  He is younger than my sister-in-law which puts him in his early to mid 40's.  Last week he died from anaphylactic shock.  He evidently ate something that caused his throat to swell, called for help, but help arrived too late.

This was a shock to me.  But it was also a reminder as to how severe the consequences of these allergies can be.  Some people still think that you can just take some Benedryl or other antihistamine and that solves the problem.  But no, the reality is, you can die. 

Those of us struggling to deal with food allergies must always be diligent.  Make sure epipens are current and not expired and always make sure to carry them with you, even when just going out on a quick errand to the store.  Continue to read labels on every product purchased, as companies frequently change ingredients or process products in plants where other allergens are present.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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