Nut allergies have made the headlines this week due to Amy May Shead’s life changing allergic reaction to nuts on a night out on holiday. On April the 14th 2014 Amy’s life changed drastically with a simple mistake from a restaurant, but for people with nut allergies that mistake could cost them their lives.
I’ve had a nut allergy from the age of 14 so my Epi-Pen is my best friend. I have 4 and all of them come with me everywhere I go on the off-chance that I somehow ingest a nut.
Now food used to be my worse nightmare, after two anaphylaxis reactions and overnight hospital stays, I can’t explain the anxiety that follows. Every single time I go out to eat the phrase ‘ sorry to be annoying but I have a nut allergy’ just falls out of my mouth like clockwork before I’ve even had a chance to glance at the menu. This usually follows with an allergen menu or the manager taking my order but the first bite of my food is always such a tense moment, agonizingly waiting to see if my mouth presents the dreaded anaphylaxis taste.
Now imagine that same feeling every single day, when you have to eat food to survive but it could worst case scenario take away your life or leave you in a life changing situation.
Thankfully each time I’ve had an allergic reaction I’ve been in the vicinity of a hospital and have involved very quick reaction times from everyone around me, but it is something that more people need to be more aware of.
Every single time I commute in to work, someone’s eating nuts on the train, tube or just casually walking down the street. I don’t have a problem with it , they don’t know about my allergy it’s not their fault.It’s the fear of touching something someone with nuts has, I can’t go through a bag of sweets that someone else has as I’m not about to ask them the whole ‘what have you eaten today question’, I have to meticulously wash everything before I put my food on it on the off-chance. There’s so many counterparts that I have to think about before I even think about eating food.
Amy’s family are campaigning from a ban on nuts on flights due to the confined space, I can tell you that having to be sat next to someone on the flight who’s eating nuts is one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced throwing up as soon as I got off of the flight. Thankfully, it only makes me feel/be sick rather than complete anaphalyxis but the whole of the flight is uncomfortable. More Epi Pen training needs to be given to staff and I honestly agree with the ban. More health and safety needs to be given to restaurants as someone’s error could be my nightmare and thankfully the main stream media is covering a lot of this at the moment.
Living in fear of nuts is something that I deal with every single day and i’m getting better at it slowly and surely. Just making sure that I remember exactly when I’ve eaten something and knowing that a severe anaphalyxis won’t happen after 30 minutes is sometimes agonizing just counting the time down, but it’s a good way for me to ensure i’m taking my mind off the anxiety. Just maybe next time you think about opening that big bag of KP peanuts on the tube.. maybe just think again..
If you’d like to support Amy’s petition, please sign here, it really would make a difference: