Maybe it’s because Google keeps track of what you search and then suggests similar pages but there has seemed to be more attention on allergies this week. Today, one of my co-workers also asked me about a new commercial where a teenager has a reaction. I hadn’t, but I Googled it once I was home. The Mylan commercial is shocking but, in my humble opinion, needed. (If you haven’t seen the commercial, I linked it here.)
Allergies (and intolerances) can be damaging. So it’s shocking to me how many skeptics there are. At a previous job, one of my coworkers ended up walking into a conversation where I was explaining to another coworker and friend some of my allergies and my lactose intolerance. Upon hearing that I can’t eat celery and a whole variety of fruit, his response was: “Usually if I don’t want to eat something healthy, I just tell people I don’t want it.” What do you say to that?
I thought this was an interesting article on allergy skeptics. Because they are out there. And allergy skeptics are hard enough to deal with as an adult, but as a kid counting on the adults around you the last thing you need is someone telling you you’ll be fine if there’s an allergy issue.
For the most part, I find that most people are just not well read regarding allergies. It’s not that they are intentionally disregarding what is a serious medical issue, it’s that they just don’t understand. How can this food cause a deadly reaction? Apples are touted as one of the world’s healthiest fruits/foods. They cause an anaphylactic reaction when I eat them. When you grew up hearing the first and enjoying apples, the second is just hard to comprehend.
There’s also a general lack of understanding of ingredients. Many people do not realize that butter is dairy, and others truly believe eggs are dairy. The amount of items that contain wheat, soy and dairy are staggering. I found dairy in beef bouillon cubes. There’s lactose in many beers. When you don’t need to look at the ingredient label (or do extra research on the internet), you don’t tend to. And people just don’t know and understand that you can be allergic to any food. You don’t tend to think that watermelon is anything other than water, but it can (and does for me at least) cause a reaction. That’s strange to people. It’s not that they don’t want to understand, it’s just not something that ever crossed their mind. Until faced with an allergy or someone with an allergy.
Adverts like the Mylan commercial and the use of social media to explain allergies and aid those with allergies is a huge step in allergy awareness, something I greatly support. Right now we don’t have a cure or a fix for food allergies, but allergy education can and will make life easier for those with allergies and for those who have loved ones with allergies.