I have a food allergy. I’m, apparently, highly allergic to shrimp.
I say “apparently” because like many food allergies, it came on when I in my early 20’s. Prior to that, I enjoyed scampi and popcorn shrimp with the best of them.
Over the years, my reaction has gotten worse. I’m at the point now where an accidental cross contamination last Friday put me in the ER with a stern lecture to get thee to an epi pen.
Which means, I’m more than a little understanding of the children who have food allergies in Joseph’s class at school. There are two of them – little girls – who have peanut allergies. This means that even though their class is not a “peanut free zone”, all of the students have been taught to wash their hands after eating lunch and, most importantly, not to share their lunches.
Gone are the days of swapping half sandwiches and cookies.
It also means, they ask for prepackaged baked goods that have not been produced on machinery or equipment using peanuts and actually would rather just have fresh fruit.
It’s a whole different world than when I was in school.
But, having my own reactions, I don’t even blink. I know how scary it is to have something as silly as a bowl of noodles try to kill you. And I know how frightening it is to scour a menu in hopes that nothing was contaminated.
Do you or your child have a food allergy? How do you handle classroom snacks or eating out?