There is a big difference between a food “intolerance” and a food allergy, and overuse of the word allergy can cause many to not take the threat seriously. Here’s a story of one teenager who had to stand up in front of her entire middle school and explain the dangers of her peanut allergy. She has learned to advocate for her own safety, and encourages all skeptics to take people living with severe allergies very seriously. Even today there are those in the medical community and the media who believe that the fear around allergies is alarmist and can be driven by profit-seeking and other motives. They should “walk in another man’s moccasins” for a day and then see what it is like to live with a life-threatening allergy.
By Lavanya Ramanathan The Washington Post
Apr 23, 2019
Patricia “Trece” Hopp rose and took a deep breath at the start of middle school with something to say. She’d need her classmates’ understanding, she nervously explained, and perhaps their help.
Being near a peanut-butter sandwich might pock her skin with hives. A whiff of dust from nuts could hinder her breathing. Touching a peanut could send her into anaphylactic shock. And if she ate one, she could die.
Thereafter, “I was the girl with the peanut allergy,” says Trece, now 17. “It’s my identity. It’s part of me.” A part she has to not only remind people about but also repeatedly explain.