Her group of friends had planned one last late-night dinner before they embarked on their college adventures.
The trees that lined the street twinkled with lights as they walked toward the restaurant.
“Are there any nuts in the pasta?” she asked. She had asked this same question at least a thousand times before.
“No, no nuts,” the waiter said briskly.
She had nothing to worry about. Without a thought, she dipped her spoon gingerly into her first bite of the steaming noodles and let the satisfying sauce slide down her throat.
Approximately 32 million Americans are currently diagnosed with food allergies, and kids with food allergies are at risk every day.
In the U.S., 8% of children have at least one food allergy, a projected total of 5.9 million children, according to Pediatrics. Yet, on Halloween, people still give out candies that many children are allergic to. In everyday life, normal people do not cater to allergic kids’ needs, which leaves them in constant danger.
Likewise, simple things that everyone does like going to birthday parties, going out to eat, or even flying in an airplane are things kids with food allergies are not able to enjoy without extreme caution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 150 to 200 people die every year from food allergies. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced allergic reactions.
Allergies 101 by Kiana George
Riya Parlikar, an 8th grader from Fremont, is allergic to wheat, eggs, oats, and lentils. If she consumes any of these allergens, she risks having a severe anaphylactic reaction that could close her air passages in a matter of seconds. Because she was unable to eat what other kids could eat growing up, she developed social insecurities.
“When Riya was in elementary school, they would serve Goldfish crackers at her school, but since she was allergic, she couldn’t have any. She felt so left out at a point that she decided to try the Goldfish even though she was allergic to it,” said Viru Parlikar, Riya’s father.
She immediately started to have an allergic reaction and had to be sent home for the day to recover.
Aside from the development of social insecurities, kids with allergies can also be victims of bullying
In addition, kids also have to deal with taking on social responsibilities such as staying mentally tough through bullying.
One in 13 American children have a food allergy, and nearly a third of those say they have been bullied because of those allergies, some of which can be life-threatening, according to Fare, a Food Allergy Research & Education Institute.
“Surprisingly, it is often the adults that are the worst bullies! One teacher we had insisted on teaching every math lesson with food … she just did not get it,” Kristen Lee said.
Food Allergy Bullying by Saya Deshpande