There have been many stories in the media the past several years of children becoming ill or even dying at schools and summer camps from peanut related allergies. I understand the cost-effectiveness of peanut butter: it is inexpensive and goes a long way. I have heard parents who do not have children with food allergies complain that the food-sensitive children should bring their own food, and carry on that their child shouldn’t suffer the loss of peanut butter just because another child might get sick and die. I blame ignorance for those comments. If something as casual as peanut butter can remotely cause a fatal injury, it should be eliminated from the menu.
Everyone Has Some Allergies
Almost every one I know suffers from allergies to something. People suffer symptoms ranging from hives to sinus problems.
Having moved to Louisiana in my mid-30’s, I enjoyed all the wonderful food this State has to offer: shrimp, crawfish, oysters, all cooked in every way imaginable. As I grew older, I became less tolerant to certain foods, some of which were causing food allergy-related symptoms, which can be life-threatening.
One night my face swelled to twice its size, accompanied by what felt like the burning of my skin, and my eyes swelled to the point of almost being closed. Of course, I initially sought answers online as to what would cause such a horrible onset… was it the bubonic plague come back to modern times? Perhaps ricin poisoning? WebMD can, and does, offer a detailed explanation for every symptom you can imagine. Having a powerful imagination, I was convinced I was to die a slow, lingering, painful and a quite unattractive death. Ultimately, I decided to go to an actual doctor. His diagnosis: no more shellfish for me.
Allergies Can Arise At Any Time
Apparently, allergies can be assumed at any age. In Louisiana, you may as well stop eating if you have a shellfish allergy To add insult to injury, I also soon developed an allergy to nuts. The same symptoms, the same diagnosis, the same changing of the menu of foods I could safely eat.
There is, of course, no cure , but there are preventable measures I take. For one thing, I keep Benadryl on hand at all times. I am also extremely careful when I go out to eat. Cross contamination can be deadly for people suffering food allergies. Fried chicken is great, but was it cooked in the same oil as the shrimp? Is the oil used for frying vegetable oil or peanut oil? On the rare occasions that eat out, I go to restaurants that I trust. I order items not only without shellfish, or that may have touched shellfish, but I avoid any foods that may contain nuts, such as salads, vegetables, desserts.
I do not want anyone to get the impression that it is just a matter of convenience for me to go through the rest of my life being a picky eater. It is a matter of my own safety. WedMD told me so.