Food Allergies – why sufferers are forced to depend on total strangers

 

Some parents see food bans in schools as an inconvenience to their non-allergic students, while air travelers who are deprived of their peanuts in flight believe their rights are being taken away, but the simple truth is that food allergies are unlike any other disease or medical condition and the actions and reactions of total strangers may harm and even kill the food allergy sufferer.

While most diseases are controlled strictly between the patient and their medical team, food allergies are different. There is no cure and strict avoidance of the allergen is the only way to keep sufferers safe-  forcing them to depend on a complete stranger’s level of awareness and understanding every day.

Whether it is the waiter that takes their order at a cafe they rely on them to ensure the allergen isn’t in their meal and hasn’t been cross contaminated or it’s the food label they read relying on the information to be correct or the school they attend relying on them to have the correct procedures and policies in place to protect them.

Because reactions vary from a simple rash to anaphylaxis (a life threatening reaction) strictly avoiding the food allergen is the only option for them; it’s not just eating the food they are allergic to, but trace amounts from touching it on a surface can trigger a major reaction.

Therefore in order to stay safe food allergy sufferers are forced to ask questions and investigate their surroundings, which can often be mistaken for being overly needy and can ultimately leave the food allergy sufferer feeling socially isolated.

It’s important to understand the majority of food allergy sufferers don’t like to impose on others but have no choice if they are to be kept as safe as possible.

As food allergy rates soar around the world and more people are affected, it is crucial for all in the community to understand that sufferers have no option but to rely on the public to help keep them safe and only by educating and raising awareness will true understanding be accomplished.

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