Eating at School with Allergies

cafeter

Hi! My name is Davis and I am 15 years old. I am allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. Being in high school means that I still have to eat in a cafeteria. I was diagnosed with my allergies when I was four so I am now well practiced when it comes to managing them at school! In the early years, it didn’t seem too difficult. When you are eight years old you don’t really care about why you can’t bring this or that to school. If someone with authority tells you that you can’t bring something, then you just don’t bring it!

I think that things start getting more challenging once you get to the higher grades. As you get older, you start to question authority more. As you do this, you start to disobey more. This can lead to allergy-related problems for a couple of reasons. One, if kids know that you aren’t supposed to bring a food, they may be tempted to bring it once in a while just to break the rules. This can put you in serious harm if one day, they bring a food with one of your allergens to school and you have a reaction. Also, not many kids know what to do should a reaction occur.

Another problem you may run into is kids teasing you about your allergy. This didn’t happen to me at school, but instead when I went to a baseball game. I was with some of my teammates and one child didn’t quite understand how serious my allergy was. The boy had a bag of peanuts and decided it would be funny to put it an inch away from my face. I turned away and my mom quickly jumped in and explained the severity of my allergies to the boy’s parents. After that day, I always made sure to tell new people how serious my allergy was, especially if they had food close by that contained my allergens. Whether at school, a baseball game or anywhere, if you see something you are allergic to, you have to speak up and be proactive in keeping yourself safe. Also in case something does happen, the people around you will be better prepared.

I would suggest making sure that some of your friends, teachers, and administrative staff all know how to use an auto-injector. That’s where the beauty of free trainers comes in handy (check the website of your auto-injector for more information). They say practice makes perfect and practicing with a trainer is a great way to make sure you are always ready to help yourself.

I hope this has helped you in gain confidence when it comes to eating at school and has helped you feel more relaxed knowing that there is always someone there to help. Stay Safe!

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Extracurricular Activities with Allergies!

Hi everyone! My name is Lindsay, and I am a third year student at the University of Guelph. I am allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and soy protein, and I am also lactose intolerant.

Whether you are in high school or pursuing post secondary education, it is so important to become involved in extracurricular activities. This is a great way to make friends, find something that you are passionate about, and have fun!

When it comes to participating in clubs and sport activities, make sure that you always carry your epinephrine auto-injector with you. You might not think that you are at risk of a reaction while at soccer practice, but you never know what could happen! It is so simple to slip your auto-injector into your backpack or sports bag. I have multiple auto-injectors, so I keep one in my backpack, one in my purse, and one in my gym bag. That way, no matter where I’m going, I don’t have to worry about forgetting to pack it.

Also, remember to tell your teammates or other club members about your allergies. It is very important that those whom you are spending a time with know what you are allergic to and what to do in case of a reaction. Especially if snacks are involved at the meetings or practices, everyone needs to be aware of your allergies.

At university, I have found that there are tons of different opportunities to get involved, both on and off campus. I have made sure not to let my allergies get in the way of my ability to participate in all that I want to. I am a member of many clubs on campus, including the Pre-Med Club, Bio-Medical Science Students Association, and the Competitive Hip Hop Team.

For those of you who feel limited in what you can do because of your allergies. I have a suggestion for you to try! Last year, a friend and I decided to start our own allergy awareness club on campus. Both of us suffer from severe allergies and wanted to create a club for other students who do as well. This year, we officially created our group, called “The Food Fighters,” and we have a growing membership. Some of our initiatives include educating students and staff in residence about epinephrine auto-injector use, working to make the cafeterias more allergy friendly, and providing support to first year students at risk of anaphylaxis.

So, if you feel like you can’t be a member of a team or a club at school due to your allergies, make a club about allergies! It is something that many schools would be happy to support, since they want to be inclusive and cater to students’ needs.

I hope that you all have a fantastic school year and get involved in as much as possible! Don’t let your allergies limit you in anything that you do. There is almost always a way to participate while safely managing your allergies.