Not Nuts About Nuts

It was a normal summer afternoon about eight years ago. I was just a small fourth grader when my sister came home with a container full of cashews. Since I always enjoyed snacks containing peanut butter and tree nuts I was eager to taste them; not knowing what was ahead of me.

I grabbed a handful and quickly ate the cashews; about 10 minutes later I noticed that I started feeling funny. My throat began to close up and it became harder for me to breathe, I felt sick and dashed towards the bathroom, and then started vomiting in the sink. While all of this was happening, my sister called my dad and asked him what to do. After hearing his advice she told me that I should lie down and rest.

A half an hour after I tried the cashews, my dad finally arrived home and rushed upstairs to see how I was. When he saw me he was surprised to see how bad I looked. I was physically weak, my eyes were almost swollen shut, and my cheeks were inflated like a balloon. “We’re going to the hospital right now!” my dad said. He drove me to the hospital in record time. As we got there the nurse sent me to the emergency room. While in the E.R., the nurse laid me down on the nursing bed and gave me a shot of Benadryl. About two hours later, I was able to return home.

While in the hospital the nurse told me that I had experienced an extreme allergic reaction to tree nuts called anaphylaxis. Having an anaphylaxis allergy means that I cannot consume tree nuts or else my throat closes up, and there is a possibility of me dying. The medicine worked tremendously and I started feeling better within minutes.

Some people may see my allergy as a tragedy but I see the event as good learning experience because while I was lying in the hospital bed I noticed how my life was nearly taken away over one cashew. And how I need to learn to cherish everyday because I never know which day is my last. I think everybody needs to be more cautious about there surroundings and be more aware of anaphylaxis. Statistics show that about 12 million Americans suffer from a food allergy and about 150 of them die of a food allergy every year.

To be prepared for anything I have to carry an epi-pen and carry a medic alert necklace with me at all times. The epi-pen sends a chemical called epinephrine through my bloodstream, that I would prevent an allergic reaction. This causes my blood vessels, it relaxes smooth muscles in the lungs to improve breathing, and increases my heart rate and finally it works to reduce hives and swelling that may occur around the face and lips. The medic alert necklace is to tell paramedics what has happened to me if I go into anaphylactic shock and cannot tell them what is wrong.

I was lucky to have survived such a severe, life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. This disease is spreading rapidly and becoming more common in America; 4% of all Americans have a food allergy. To prevent having another life allergic reaction I have to know what my trigger is and what makes me sick. That means I can have any some Thai food because it may be cooked in peanut oil, I can’t eat candies like peanut M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut butter cups and can not eat desserts like pecan pies, and no Nutella. This event has changed my life and has made me a more cautious and attentive person.