Astrid's Allergy Story- Learning to live with my allergies in my twenties
By Astrid, April 2022
I am 20 (almost 21) years old and have suffered an egg & peanut allergy since I was about 3 years old. I have been anaphylactic to peanuts since I was 10 (maybe at the age of 3 I'm not sure - I can only remember my first prick test at age 10), and had a mild allergy to egg (i.e., vomiting) but have only recently become anaphylactic.
Growing up my parents did the right thing at the time, having been told to avoid danger. But when I started going out more as I began university, that was when I struggled to notify hospitality workers about my allergies, opting for safe items like a salad. It also didn't help that I used to suffer from social anxiety, so asking what contained what was too exhausting and scary at the time.
However, even though I don't have social anxiety anymore, I have still been caught out in several situations, mainly with things not stating that safe options have eggs (or in the rare cases, peanuts) in them. This includes wraps not including mayo on the menu (so I know to tell people to keep it off), raw egg in a cocktail, and nuts in raisin toast with no forewarning.
I wish I had learnt from past experiences that even the safe options can be harmful and therefore knew to ask sooner. However, some of my experiences were from instances where no allergens were stated when they should've and as such I wish I knew how to directly express concern as opposed to leaving without any satisfaction. That's my main struggle now, especially if I have a reaction. If something seems safe, always check just to be on the safe side as my list of places to not go is longer than my places to go. Mainly because of not knowing how to deal with these sorts of things in the public domain in a way that won't draw attention; so I opt to send emails or make phone calls instead.
Though I still suffer anxiety around food, I am grateful for the support I have from my loved ones. It's not an easy process and it's one that is constantly changing with new situations that you get put in.
Thank you Astrid for sharing your Allergy Story with the community🙏
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