When do you bring up food allergies?

Started by SkyScorcher, February 27, 2014, 05:28:13 PM

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Subject says it all.  When and how?  Especially for very high sensitivities-- aerosol reactions. 
Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.

Der Regenbogenfisch kannst dir jetzt nicht hilfst!

Peanut, treenut (except hazelnuts), egg.

Western US


I'm interested in seeing responses because my DD (drwhogirl) struggles with people disclosing it for her when she doesn't want a wider audience to know. Her close friends know but she doesn't necessarily want every student in her classes to know this information.
"Oh, I'm such an unholy mess of a girl."

DD allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and egg; OAS to cantaloupe and cucumber


I think Sky is asking in particular about dating relationships-- that is, where there is pretty high risk if you DON'T disclose, but if you do it too soon (or too aggressively?) then there is risk of seeming "high maintenance" at the early stages of a relationship...

in related news, something that she and I have discussed is that sixth sense that you get about people--

you know, you just KNOW whether or not someone is actually capable of being that careful.  Some people want to, but aren't that capable.  Some people are capable, but just don't care enough about you (or believe you) to bother.

It has to be both.

So how do you handle a beau that has good intentions, but whom your gut is telling you is NEVER really going to stop posing a risk to you?  Obviously, with high sensitivity, this is NOT someone that you're going to swap spit (or anything else) with.  But if you want to keep the person as a "friend" how do you go about letting them down without overtly telling them that they just don't get it, and never will?

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


It was late last night when I saw this.  I had intended to come back to it sooner... sorry.

To answer Sky's original question as to when and how - I've never brought it up out of context so to speak.  That is, as food naturally comes up in conversation, plans, etc. I'll mention "Oh, I can't go there due to my PA, could we go to XYZ instead?"  I've found that as a relationship progresses, the ongoing contextual allergy dialogue leads to questions and more in-depth discussion as needed.  I never been treated as if my allergies make me high maintenance.  I think partly that's due to only bringing it up "in context" and allowing the other party to direct any deeper discussions.  The ones who never asked deeper stuff obviously never made it to a point in the relationship where that deeper stuff would be relevant (kissing, etc.).  They were the ones that CM brings up - those who will never adequately get it.  However, I've found that with those guys allergies really aren't the only reason the relationship couldn't/wouldn't progress.  Regardless of whether the relationship won't work due to allergy ignorance or more typical reasons, has anyone ever really come up with a good solution to letting someone down easy and maintaining the friendship?
DS - peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, corn, soy, several meds, many environmentals. Finally back on Xolair!
DD - mystery anaphylaxis, shellfish.
DH - banana/avocado, aspirin.  Asthma.
Me - peanut, tree nut, shellfish, banana/avocado/latex,  some meds.


Well, I am not a teen, but I would approach any new friendship as any friendship.  How do you inform any friend, and when, if you will begin doing activities together?  I would take that approach.  Then, when it seems that a different level of intimacy is approaching, it would be duscussed further.  It sucks wrt to spontaneity, but has to be done.  I do not think there is any easy way around letting a romantic partner know that they cannot eat your allergens, or fondle your allergens if they hope to fondle you.  But, you need not lead with that for a first encounter. 

My advice to my dd would be if you are intimate enough to kiss and touch, you are intimate enough to discuss the allergies.  This even applies to platonic friendships.  People do hug and touch one another outside of romantic situations.

So, my advice would be to approach it as you would with any blossoming friendship as you get to know one another and spend time together. 

Again, this is advice given by a grown up who has not dated for about 20 years, and not as a teen for ummm, 31 years.  But I was always a rather direct person.  I openly discussed other safety issues when dating, without going further than what we may want to address here.  How someone responds to frank discussion of health and safety of someone they should care for, can be quite informative.  Possibly painful, but it weeds out people not worthy pretty effectively. 

ETA, as Rebekah points out, the frank discussions I had would flow from related conviersation or in context.  I would not simply bring it up out of the blue. 
dd with peanut, tree nut and raw egg allergy


Well, this is complicated (I think) in some ways in the current generation of teens in that face-to-face time is more limited in favor of getting to know one another well via electronic connections prior to spending a lot of time face to face.

There are some interesting sequelae there-- on the plus side, this means that people can get to know YOU without having to get to know your food allergies.  On the negative side, this means that people who are otherwise "good friends" may be appallingly ignorant when you get right down to it, and it hurts more to find that out when you're emotionally invested.

Double-edged blade, that.
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Well, I don't date much at all (for other reasons) and I'm not aerosol reactive but I've handled it two ways so far.

1) if it's a person who's already friends with me and I get an inkling they want more, I start posting things to facebook. People who are interested in you pay attention to the articles you post, and if it's something relevant to their relationship to you, they'll comment on it or bring it up next time you talk to them in person. So, I'll post any stories that come up in the news about kids having reactions from being kissed or at a party and say something like, "relatives, this is why you don't get to kiss me at christmas" or "this is why I had to leave the office party, sorry I had to miss it!". If they don't bring up the allergy next time I see them (and I know they've had the chance to see it on my wall) then they either don't like me enough to care, or it makes them uncomfortable, or whatever. It serves as a red flag.

2) if it's someone new, I'm just upfront. I tell them, I'm allergic to nuts, if there's anyway you might think you want your lips anywhere near me when we go out, you can't have eaten nuts that day. And I make suggestions of places to go. "Sorry, I have an allergy, so I can't do chinese, but we could do W, X, or Y. We could try Z, but there's a chance I might have to leave." Then, once you're in a safe space, and he's seen you manage it a couple times, like when you order or wipe down the movie theater seat, you can talk more about sensitivity levels. 

What's really nifty, now that the allergy rates have gone up (when I was growing up it was just me), every once in a while I'll mention it off-hand and the friend will ask, "oh, do you have an epi-pen? My (insert relative/friend) has an allergy!"

The downside is that I have it on my okcupid profile, and stupid okcupid keeps trying to match me with people who've put PB as one of the 6 things they can't live without. Your algorithm is a bit off there, okc.


Some linky-loos for possible sharing:



(That one is quite thorough, IMO)


The technical details:

I'm reluctant to include this one, because ultimately, the cause of death was determined (though not without controversy) to be from other causes-- but the other information is SO good, that I'm going to post it anyway:


And an extreme example, and one that (I sincerely hope) is more "future" than present for our teens reading:



^ another excellent one for sharing.  :)


This is a bunch of VERY straightforward information that might be helpful to anyone that hasn't ever learned about life-threatening allergies.

Some PSA's produced by Anaphylaxis Canada are terrific-- short and sweet, but very very clear:

Anaphylaxis Canada "First Kiss" Public Service Announcement

Food Allergies and Dating - Anaphylaxis Canada Teen Video Series

^ that one is PRICELESS.

(As a side note, I do not recommend leading others here simply because this needs to be a place where you can remain anonymous and ask questions frankly-- which sometimes means posting things that might well be identifying to those who know you well IRL.)

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


The official version:



The upshot, obviously is that if you're in the most sensitive part of the spectrum (lowest threshold dose), avoidance for at least that day is a minimal standard.

[spoiler]For other exchanges of bodily fluids, however...  longer may be necessary.[/spoiler]
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Some great posts from Sloane Miller (AllergicGirl) on this subject:





That's the one that most people can never fully wrap their heads around, truthfully-- because a relationship with someone who has known anaphylaxis triggers is inherently risky.  We could really die-- and they could really play a role in that fatality.  Pretty big responsibility, when you look at it that way.

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Okay-- adult-themed.  But important, nonetheless.


If that isn't an endorsement for condom usage, I don't know what would be...

Same blog post, basically, but with a little more specific info about a variety of bodily fluids


Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

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