Thursday, September 10, 2009
Life with an allergy injector

Editor's note: Health writer/producer Elizabeth Landau penned this post to discuss her experiences working with iReporters on a CNN.com story about those who rely on allergy injectors..

For most of my life I’ve known that I can’t eat nuts or seafood. Like some of our iReporters, I have been carrying an epinephrine auto-injector in case of emergency for many years.

None of us have ever used them on our own bodies, but we know that, if we ingest a particular food or get stung by a certain insect, this could be the only recourse to unblock our airways and help us breathe until we get to the emergency room. Allergists such as Dr. Jeffrey Adelglass of Allergy Testing & Treatment Center in Plano, Texas recommend that anyone who has severe allergy problems, and is at risk for a potentially fatal reaction called anaphylaxis, make an epinephrine auto-injector “part of their daily wardrobe.”

It was inspiring to learn how iReporter Eileen Hoekstra of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and her friend worked with their children’s school to ensure that the staff would be trained in food allergies. Now, she can send her son to school knowing that even the bus driver understands allergic reactions. I was also encouraged that Patty of New York City had recognized severe allergic reactions in other people on two separate occasions and helped save their lives.

I included several iReporters' anecdotes in a story I wrote about how living with an allergy injector affects a person's life, and having all of these stories gave me a variety of perspectives beyond my own. Along the way, I spoke with Michelle Kelly from East Orange, New Jersey, who has eliminated Thai and Chinese food from her diet because so many of those meals have a high probability of containing nuts. I completely sympathized with that, as I also avoid these cuisines for the same reason. And, like Becky Vogt of Franklin Park, New Jersey, I read the labels of every supermarket food I buy, and every hair care product I use, to make sure that there’s no allergen inside. We all have to be extra vigilant to shield ourselves from things that are everywhere, and that most other people take for granted.

It’s encouraging that there are other people out there spreading awareness of the severity of allergies. Even if I can never eat lox again, the more people know about allergies, the safer eating will be for those who have this condition.

10 Comments
September 10, 2009
Click to view adriana71's profile

My husband is allergic anything that has to do with fowl.

September 16, 2009
Click to view 1Workngirl's profile

Nut allergists should also be aware of mexican food. A taco shell fried in coconut oil caused my face to blow up to an unrecognizable pumpkin, eyes swelled shut; it was awful and I missed a week of work. Now I ask or pass.

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