Allergy/Asthma Information Association

Living With Allergies & Asthma

by Kyle Gibson, age 14

When I was younger I had lots of help with my allergies. My parents would check the ingredients of everything I ate and they would be the ones to inform the staff of a restaurant of my life-threatening allergies. Whenever I visited a friend's house, my Mom and Dad would come with me and explain about my allergies and the EpiPen® and I have worn my EpiPen® for as long as I can remember. My Mom and Dad always looked out for me and showed me what sort of responsibilities came with my allergies.

Now as I get older, I have to start to take those responsibilities into my own hands as my parents aren't always with me. When I first started school the full building was banned from having peanuts and nuts. My teacher let me stand up at the front of the class with my mom (only for kindergarten) and tell my class about my allergy. In Junior High the whole building peanut and nut ban was changed to only my classroom ban in order to prepare me for high school. I had to look everywhere I was going for any traces of nuts. At lunch I had to ask my friends from other classes if they had been eating peanuts or nuts in their classroom. My friends were really good with my allergy though because after a while, they would get someone to come and tell me if they knew they had been eating something unsafe. I checked the labels of everything I ate myself, and even had to alert the restaurant staff of my allergies when my friends and I ate downtown at lunch hour. Even when my family goes out to eat together, I'm now the one to speak up about my allergies.

One of my strengths is my ability to live a normal life. I have been able to go to Austria, Florida, Lake Placid, all sorts of little towns, many different restaurants, and played hockey, soccer, snowboarding, and skateboarding. It's given me a lot of confidence toward my allergies to see that I can do a lot of the things that other people can do. Sure, I've had to refuse a bowl of pasta because it could have traces of pine nuts, or carry a backpack of safe snacks with me when I travel (in case a restaurant or store really isn't safe), but I haven't stopped myself from doing the things that I enjoy because of my allergies. I've learned that I am normal in every way except for my allergy, and not to live in fear. I need to know what to do in an emergency and how to prevent it, but not let it consume my life.

With experience like that, high school doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me. My parents gave me an amount of trust that grew with me, so that now I'm ready for high school and am on my way to becoming an adult. The only things that are changing and affecting my allergies at the same time are that I don't have a homeroom (so there's no possibilities of only my homeroom having a ban), there's a cafeteria (and there's a possibility that they might use ingredients I'm allergic to), and all types of bans on my allergens are lifted.

My asthma also affects me in ways similar to my allergies (though it's only seasonal) and I know how to deal with it. I know when my asthma is most likely to affect me and what my triggers are. I know that if I feel anything wrong, I should take my medication and I always carry my puffer with me.

Overall, being a teenager with a life-threatening food allergy or asthma isn't difficult as long as you know what to do and are prepared for a dangerous situation and don't let the fear of a reaction or attack take over your life.

from Allergy & Asthma News, Issue 3 2005

return Return to the Personal Stories section

| Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © AAIA, 2017
Web site maintained by Konecny Consulting Inc.