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.