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Speak up!

February 21, 2012

Hi everyone! My name is Lindsay, and I’m allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and soy protein. I’m also lactose intolerant.

Although Valentine’s Day has passed, new romances may be budding as secret admirers have confessed their love on the most romantic day of the year. Having had a few serious relationships in the past, I thought that I could pass along some things that I have learned about allergies and dating.

My last boyfriend and I had been dating for almost a year, when one night we went out to dinner at a Greek restaurant. About half way through the meal, my throat started to feel quite itchy. I started to avoid the food that I thought was causing the reaction – and my boyfriend started to ask how I had gone from absolutely starving to barely eating a thing.

A bowl and fork full of food

Sharing a romantic dinner? Dining out with friends? If you start to experience a reaction, don’t stay quiet! Instead, tell the people you’re with.

I didn’t want him to freak out, so I told him I had filled up on garlic bread, and I tried to take some anti-histamine pills without him noticing. I was embarrassed about having an allergic reaction. I started picturing the scene in my head – telling my boyfriend I was having a reaction, the panic, the auto-injector, everybody at the restaurant staring as an ambulance was called. I did not want that to happen! Even as we left the restaurant, I could feel my throat closing more and more, as the medicine was not kicking in. I still kept quiet, popping anti-histamines like they were candy and praying that my reaction would stop.

Luckily, I started to feel a bit better and eventually fell asleep in the car from all of the anti-histamines that I had consumed. Afterwards, I told my boyfriend that I had had a reaction at the restaurant. He was very upset that I had not told him while it was happening, and he made me promise that I would tell him anytime I felt the slightest bit off.

Looking back on the situation now, I realize just how irresponsible I was for keeping my mouth shut. I could have died, but I didn’t say anything to save myself embarrassment and the drama of causing a scene. Since then, I have responded very differently in similar situations. Now, whenever I feel the smallest hint of a reaction, I am much more comfortable telling others what is going on to make them aware of the situation.

If you ever find yourself in this scenario, whether it be with someone you are dating or even other friends, don’t be embarrassed by your allergies! Nobody wants to cause a scene or make others panic, but it is your life at risk, and that is a very serious matter. Put your safety and health first, calmly explain to others how you are feeling and how they can help, and be prepared to use your epinephrine auto-injector. People are a lot more understanding than you might think, and you will feel a lot better knowing that others are there to help!

To learn more about dining out with food allergies, check out our teen video series!


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