For the first five years of my life, I didn’t know I had a food allergy. I went around like a normal kid, eating food at birthday parties and everywhere else without a care in the world.
Sometimes my lips would swell up, which was really me having a minor allergic reaction, but besides that, I was fine. Until one day when I ate a cashew.
It was that one cashew that made me different from everyone else from that day forward.
Ok, this is starting to sound super dramatic, so let me tell you how my first (and only, thankfully) anaphylactic reaction went down; and why you should do the complete opposite of what we did.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This article is not supposed to be substituted for medical advice of any kind. I am not liable for any advice that you do or do not take, and I am also not liable for any kind of action that was taken from this article. To read more about why this is here and my other disclaimers, click here.*
Like I’ve said before, no one else in my family has severe allergies. At the time, we weren’t close to anyone who had severe food allergies; so in turn, we didn’t know what to do in the case of an allergic reaction.
One night, my dad was eating some cashews, and he offered me one. My little five-year-old self took it, just like a non-allergic person would. I ate just one, because I HATED the taste of the cashew.
Not even five minutes later, my throat became super dry. I told my mom, and she said just to get some water. After I got water, which didn’t make it any better, my mom realized that my whole body was covered in hives and was all swelled up.
The “sore throat” I was experiencing was actually my throat closing up (not all the way, thankfully). I was also wheezing.
At the time, we were living in a very small town in Mississippi. We had two restaurants, and the hospital was not that good (at all). Because we didn’t know of any severe food allergies in our family, we also didn’t have an Epi-pen in our house.
We didn’t know the live-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis, so I took Benadryl. I stayed up most of the night and my mom watched me until we went to the doctor the next day. When we went to the doctor the next day, because all of this went down at night, she told me that I had a nut allergy and to avoid all nuts from that point on. They also gave me medicine for a week to bring down the swelling from the anaphylactic reaction.
Thankfully, my throat never completely closed up, but my throat definitely closed up some. One of the other symptoms that I had was swelling in the face.
Now, PLEASE do NOT do what I did!!! If you ever have an anaphylactic reaction, use your Epi-pen and immediately dial 911, or whatever the emergency number is in your country.
Also, know the signs of anaphylaxis! This can include symptoms like:
- Trouble breathing and swelling of the throat, which felt for me like a really sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- And many other possible symptoms
Another thing: don’t think that Benadryl will solve an anaphylactic reaction! Benadryl is a type of antihistamine, which does not really help in the case of an anaphylactic reaction. If you’re experiencing anaphylactic shock, always use your Epi-pen. Remember: epi first, epi fast!
I hope you learned to definitely not do what I did in the case of an anaphylactic reaction. Going into anaphylaxis is scary, but it’s important to be prepared in case it ever happens.