For advice on severe allergies, visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/living-with-anaphylaxis/young-people or drop us a line info@anaphylaxis.org.uk / 01252 542029 /@ACOutthere/@Anaphylaxiscoms

Friday, 21 April 2017

Charlotte Whitehead


I am 21 years old and have had severe allergies to milk, egg and nuts my whole life.  Of course this has not made life easy, but often I have found the social stigma surrounding allergies more irritating than avoiding the food itself.

Upon hearing about my allergies, people typically respond with “oh god your life must be so hard” or “but I love cheese!” or my favourite line, “I would literally kill myself if I couldn’t eat chocolate”. I know they don’t mean to be hurtful, but it really grates. Would you adopt the same approach to someone who was wheelchair bound? We would never dream of saying “I can’t believe you don’t know how good it is to walk!”

People, understandably, don’t realise that I have a very varied diet. In fact, I am sure my friends could account for the fact that I am pretty much always eating. Food is one of my main passions. So it has always been frustrating that people seem to assume that I live on a diet of dry cereal and bread.

I can also be self-conscious of people thinking I am rude when it comes to being careful about cross-contamination. Sorry, person I have just met, but I can’t share my food with you because you have just had a packet of Wotsits! It feels awkward. Again, I am fearful of coming across annoying when a friend makes me a cup of tea and I have to pester them to make sure they don’t put a milky spoon in my drink.

However I have tried to turn these gripes into something positive. I understand that having allergies is something people find interesting. When appropriate, I try to use my allergies as a talk-point; a way to make small talk with people I’ve just met. If I freely talk about having allergies, I stop feeling embarrassed and people don’t have a chance to sound ignorant.
 
Living with food allergies will always be a challenge, but it definitely isn’t something to be embarrassed about.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Taylor  talks to us about the challenges Valentine’s Day can bring if you have multiple severe allergies.

2017 Year of the Adult

“My name is Taylor, I'm 23 years old, live in Greenwich, London. I have chronic spontaneous urticaria angioedema anaphylaxis.

I've been with my boyfriend over four years now and suffer with severe allergies to lots of things.   I'm allergic to plants, trees and grass.  Especially flowers! I'm allergic to nuts and chocolate and many other food allergens.  My boyfriend and I have to adapt and work round my allergies. I'm also allergic to alcohol, so I am allergic to most things to do with Valentine's Day.

My boyfriend has put me into anaphylaxis  a number of times from kissing me after he had ate something earlier that day that I'm allergic to. 

Note from the Anaphylaxis Campaign, please read our top tips for staying safe whilst kissing :-).

However we still have lots of fun, I'll prepare all my own food beforehand if we're going away for a day trip or for a night away. We've gone to the zoo a lot or to farms as I love animals and we've gone skiing. If we have gone to hotel, my boyfriend will eat what I can physically be around and then he will brush his teeth and disinfect himself not to cause any cross contamination. We'll go for bike rides or swimming and we love the fair or anything historic. We go for a lot of nights away in hotels across the UK, (I'll prepare and pack my own food). I couldn't really imagine anything different as we have to be so careful and plan ahead it's become the norm.

We love each other's company and live a very happy, loving and fun love life. It's just a bit more tailored and carefully planned than your average relationship.”


If you would like to share your story of living with severe allergies as a young adult please drop an email to press@anaphylaxis.org.uk.