Food Allergy Support

Discussion Boards => Teens and Food Allergies => Topic started by: SkyScorcher on February 27, 2014, 05:28:13 PM

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Title: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: SkyScorcher on February 27, 2014, 05:28:13 PM
Subject says it all.  When and how?  Especially for very high sensitivities-- aerosol reactions. 
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: maeve on February 28, 2014, 09:13:14 AM
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.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on February 28, 2014, 10:15:08 AM
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?



Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: rebekahc on February 28, 2014, 11:33:43 AM
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?
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: becca on February 28, 2014, 11:37:05 AM
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. 
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on February 28, 2014, 12:06:46 PM
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.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: starlight on February 28, 2014, 01:24:00 PM
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.
 
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 02, 2014, 07:07:55 PM
Some linky-loos for possible sharing:

http://www.foodallergy.org/resources/college-students

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AllergiesNews/story?id=4719406&page=1

(That one is quite thorough, IMO)

http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/07/02/food-allergy-kissing-and-allergic-teens/

The technical details:
http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749%2806%2901192-4/fulltext

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:

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/PreventiveCare/2241

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

http://www.yourtango.com/200936438/food-allergies-and-dating-recipe-disaster

http://blog.foodallergy.org/2014/02/06/sparking-valentines-romance-without-triggering-allergies/

^ another excellent one for sharing.  :)

http://www.whyriskit.ca/pages/en/learn.php

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.)

Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 02, 2014, 08:02:53 PM
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20060306/kissing-peanut-allergy-dangerous

VERY clear and short, but not watered down.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 02, 2014, 08:05:22 PM
This is the answer to "but you carry one of those pen things, right?"

http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/news-sacramento/parents-of-girl-who-died-of-peanut-allergy-reaction-speak-out/21686610

One bite.  ONE.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 07, 2014, 11:22:24 AM
http://www.aanma.org/2014/02/dating-tips-for-people-with-food-allergies/
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 11:26:33 AM
The official version:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/120/Supplement_3/S118.1.abstract


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16950293


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 (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 04:28:37 PM
Some great posts from Sloane Miller (AllergicGirl) on this subject:

http://allergicgirl.blogspot.com/2009/03/kissing-food-allergies.html

http://allergicgirl.blogspot.com/2013/01/feelings-food-allergy-reactions-dating.html

http://allergicgirl.blogspot.com/2014/02/food-allergy-counseling-kissing-food.html

http://allergicgirl.blogspot.com/2014/02/food-allergy-counseling-food-allergy.html

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.

Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 07:59:48 PM
Okay-- adult-themed.  But important, nonetheless.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/food-matters/2013/10/30/sexually-transmitted-food-allergens/

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

http://scienceblogs.com/webeasties/2011/07/29/sexually-transmitted-allergies/

Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 08:43:55 PM
Another good blog post that has some GREAT tips-- this is a good one to share, probably.

http://celiacandallergyadventures.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/dating-with-food-allergies-and-celiac-disease/



This one goes into some detail--

http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/love-me-love-my-allergies/#.UxvXwIW3CyQ


Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 08:52:25 PM
For the truly curious prospective date with a science-y bent, you can show where you "fit" on the curve-- just what it means to be part of the "1%" in this domain, I mean...

http://www.ilsi.org/Europe/Documents/Food%20Allergy%20Symposium/Poster_Blom.pdf

Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 09:01:55 PM
http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/16/how-nut-allergies-made-me-monogamous/

Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 08, 2014, 09:24:45 PM
New boyfriend and kissing
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 09, 2014, 01:10:06 PM
So I've given this a lot of thought (obviously)-- my recommendation for a teen like Sky (who has a very low threshold and is also not particularly extroverted/assertive) is that there must be TWO stated conditions in a relationship which is "more than just friends" in any sense:

1.  You must promise me that you will NEVER EVER lie to me about what you have been eating/doing as it relates to food.  NEVER.  Not by omission, not by half-truths, not by dishonest statements.  DO NOT DO MY THINKING FOR ME here-- you lack the experience.


2.  You must be respectful of my decisions about intimate contact because of the sum of my life experiences-- I don't want to have a reaction, because a reaction can kill me or land me in the hospital.  That is not just about MY feelings.  I could probably  forgive you such an accident-- but could YOU forgive YOURSELF?



I live by those two conditions myself, honestly, and have for many years-- and its a HUGE breach of trust when anyone I know violates either one of them.  Period. 
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: Mookie86 on March 09, 2014, 01:13:53 PM
Re point 2 above, someone needs to respect feelings about intimate contact for many reasons.  FAs or not, a romantic partner always should respect the boundaries someone wants to set.  IMO, she doesn't need to raise this point because it's a given that no means no.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 09, 2014, 02:05:10 PM
I think that in her case, she does.

Because it's simply not even a point of negotiation at all, if it's about food allergy, then it's an absolute.  She has to have veto power. 

I mention that because in most relationship matters, there is a certain give-and-take about what makes one partner uncomfortable, what is MAYBE okay, and what the other person wants.  KWIM? 

Like-- should we go see this movie, or that one?  I know that you don't like PDA's, but can I at least hold your hand while we sit here... But when it's food related, it's one-sided, and it has to be.


The other thing that is complicating things for Sky is that she has a lot of issues related to trust and honesty-- that happens when you get involved with someone who winds up later telling you that everything was merely a lie-- Matrix-style.   :-/    This was someone who SEEMED to get her food allergies well enough that she trusted him completely... and who really got past her guard in a big way, only to later recant so thoroughly that it was truly life-altering in the way that only profound abuse can be.  That damage was all the more profound because of the food allergies-- it has left her aware that she is terribly, terribly vulnerable if she doesn't "judge" someone's intent and inner motivations well.  She is risk-averse at a level that is almost incomprehensible to other peers her own age. 

She's learned to trust NON-verbal communication way, WAY more than verbal cues as a result.  Some conversations will have to take place in real time and in person.  It's hard to explain, but essential for her.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: Mookie86 on March 09, 2014, 02:31:34 PM
Gotcha.  I didn't realize you were including handholding and things of that nature when you mentioned intimate contact.  I thought you meant kissing and beyond. 
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: maeve on March 10, 2014, 11:30:16 AM
If that isn't an endorsement for condom usage, I don't know what would be...

I've already had brief conversations with DD (who is 12) about how she will have to use condoms when she becomes sexually active. We had the discussion about kissing when she was 5 because a boy in her daycare class kissed another girl (and at that age the likelihood a boy kissing her would have eaten her allergens in the preceding few hours would have been extremely high).

One thing that has not been brought up here is drinking and its impact on judgment in intimate relations. I've had discussions with DD about drinking and how it not only impacts how quickly she'll react but also that it impairs her judgment. As she gets older, we'll have more explicit discussions about drinking and sexuality.
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: CMdeux on March 10, 2014, 12:21:24 PM
Yes, we've had those conversations too.

DD has pretty much decided that drinking + her = NEVER happening, for a variety of reasons--  but her food allergies are a HUGE part of that decision.

She's content to be the designated driver for a lifetime, I think.   :heart:
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: Macabre on June 02, 2017, 12:37:46 PM
Bump
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: Mezzo on June 04, 2017, 07:35:29 PM
This is all very helpful!
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: PurpleCat on June 05, 2017, 09:53:55 AM
Funny timing on seeing this.  I just got back from seeing my OB/GYN.  She is seeing DD in 2 weeks for DD's first ever GYN appointment.  Both she and her nurse are so ready to speak to DD about many topics including kissing and sex with food allergies.  (something our allergist and our pediatrician have been unable to do either because they do not know or are uncomfortable).

I will feel so much better launching DD to college knowing both of them have spoken to her and both said they will be sure she knows she may call with questions or concerns anytime regardless of where she is going to school.

 :heart:
Title: Re: When do you bring up food allergies?
Post by: Macabre on June 05, 2017, 12:51:44 PM
Wow. What a doc!!