It’s safe to say that in our connected, content-driven 21st century world that we’re very “aware”. Social media keeps us up on our third cousin twice removed and their upcoming birthday, while 24 hour news makes sure we know every terrible thing a politician says about another politician. We almost can’t avoid this awareness. But something that sometimes gets overlooked, or at least under recognized, are food allergies. This month is designated National Food Allergies Awareness month, and I think it’s probably one of the more informative awareness campaigns out there, and wearing things like awareness ribbon lapel pins is a great way to start important conversations.
How many times have you requested no pickles on your burger only to sit down, take a bite… and taste the sour crunch of a pickle? Super annoying, I know. But imagine you’re deathly allergic to pickles. That sour crunch could mean a life threatening reaction is about to occur. What if it didn’t even take biting into that pickle, but just having your burger made where pickles are also used could cause the same reaction? Chances are you’d start limiting your restaurant options to places that could promise that no pickles ever make it into the kitchen. And needless to say, that really limits where you can eat out.
I know someone who’s son has this problem. Peanuts, and other nuts as well, are as dangerous to him as arsenic is to us. And unlike arsenic, nuts are in everything, and not just restaurants. Nuts are in classrooms and lunch rooms, they’re at food courts in the mall, baseball games, and in enclosed spaces like airplane cabins. So for her and her son, going to school is potentially poisonous, as is going to the mall, or cheering the Cubs on at Wrigley Field… and taking a trip across the country by plane is almost absolutely out of the question.
But because her son looks so healthy otherwise, and is as active and outgoing as he is, many people take for granted that his health could be compromised with something as seemingly innocent as a peanut. So for them, things like allergy awareness ribbon lapel pins are a great and vital way to start a dialogue about the seriousness of her son’s situation. Because while you might look at Reese’s peanut butter cups and worry about things like calories, for millions of people, they’re not just dangerous to the thighs: they’re actually deadly.