I believe that everyone who has Food Allergies can understand the feeling of being misunderstood for their Food Allergies. Within my experiences I have found that many people are unaware of the seriousness of food allergies as well as the measures one must take to ensure their safety with food allergies. It is not just a food that we avoid, it can be a life threatening condition that must be cared and planned for constantly. I have lived with food allergies for almost 16 years, and the lack of awareness about food allergies within the general public has made them difficult to deal with at times.
It is a necessity that the importance of Food Allergies is stressed to the masses because if not people's lives are put at a risk. For example I have had many people tell me, “Wait you can die if you eat that!?” as if they are shocked and never heard of a food allergy before. I have gone to restaurants and had waiters go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah” and be dismissive when I tell them about my allergies. I have had to explain to family members that if they used the same knife to cut walnuts that they use to cut the cake, I cannot eat the cake. The truth is a lot of people are uneducated on topics such as anaphylaxis and cross contamination. It can make those living with food allergies feel like they are not cared for, or that their value is undermined. This is why it is important to always stress the importance of food allergies.
To state it bluntly people can die. People need to know that. When I was 12 years old I had my first anaphylactic reaction. It was scary. The feeling of being in a hospital bed and throwing up wondering if I was going to be okay is something I will never forget. It is an experience that I have grown and learned from, but many people have trouble grasping the idea that food allergies can be fatal.
By the same token that people are shocked and unaware about my food allergies they can also be judging. I’ve had the conversation, “I’m sure you don’t have to bring your own food” or even “Your fine right? It’s not a big deal”. The truth is it can be a big deal.
This is why myself and many other Food Allergy advocates stress the importance of Food Allergies. Stand up for yourself and take assurance in knowing what you can and cannot eat. Do not feel undermined or not cared for. Remember that Food Allergies are Important.