Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Just Don’t Fling It On Me

This is my common refrain when a conscientious dining partner asks what they should not eat with me nearby. (Seriously, is that not the sweetest thing ever? To ask? I’m always touched by such niceness from business associates, old and new friends, dates, and mere acquaintances.) I tell them, “Eat whatever you want just don’t fling it on me.”

I need to ingest an allergen to illicit a reaction. (Or for my kissing partner to have recently ingested my allergens and not tell me.) Nuts or salmon being at my dining table won’t get me. I’m not even nervous about it. *Talk to your allergist about what you need to stay safe.*

However, I saw my eye doctor recently and when chatting during the eye exam about what I do -- my coaching practice, my blog and food allergies generally -- he told me a story. Oy. Doctors. What they find funny and what we civilians find funny is not necessarily the same thing. But this story illustrated why these nice consciousness people “might” have a point when asking if they should not eat my allergens during that meal.

When Dr. G. was an intern--he’s an eye surgeon--a woman came into the ER with one eye swollen shut. Since he was the eye guy, they called him for a consult. This woman explained she was severely allergic to shellfish and had been dining at a shellfish restaurant; however, she ordered something without her allergen. When he examined her eye, he found that she had a tiny piece of shellfish lodged in her eye socket.

Someone’s shellfish at the table had been flung on her!

Upshot: it is possible that your allergen can be flung on you at the dining table; however, I imagine the actual risk is very rare. Shellfish is a special circumstance: exoskeletons are cracked and parts do go everywhere. But, For me, unless someone is shelling nuts at the table, I believe I’m safe.

I tell you this not to give you one more thing to worry about, but it's something to consider. Talk to your medical provider and figure out what it safe for you. For reals.

As for me, I’ll still say you can eat whatever you want when dining with me, please, enjoy – but really, keep flinging to a minimum.

4 comments:

cbird said...

Such nice dining companions! Mine are slooooooowly getting better (and it's been over 7 years!) Since my issue is gluten, it can get a bit dicey. Until developing an intolerance/allergy, I never realized how lustily people rrrrrrrip slices of crusty bread apart at the table, or how often bits drip off of serving plates passing over my own "safe" plate. And, really, some people are just slurpy, messy eaters! I have literally had food fragments fly onto my plate while a friend is telling a story and wildly gesticulating, fork in hand. Sigh. Perhaps the only problem of having entertaining friends ;)

Marty said...

That is too funny! Made my day-it's kind of what I tell my dining companions.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

ACK! I never really thought of "flinging". The only reason we ever ask anyone not to eat our sons allergens around him is because he's A. Contact reactive and if they have kids too, kids are always touching and grabbing each other or B. Our son is still young and touches everything and still puts his hands in his mouth and in his eyes (even though I harp on him constantly not too).
Now I'll be thinking about flinging... :) Kids do fling food at each other.

Kate said...

What a crazy story. I like the way you put it, though -- "just don't fling it at me." As the mom of an allergic toddler who reads the blogs of other allergy moms, I would say that some of us moms could stand to heed your advice and remember that while we've got to protect our kids from allergens, they are going to grow up and coexist with them at their dinner table someday. To give you an example of what I'm talking about, I would generally consider myself a pretty vigilant "allergy mom", but I would not be upset if my child were asked to sell Girl Scout cookies (with allergens), when those cookies are in cellophane and then inside cardboard. Your story is a nice reminder that caution is good, but practicality says that for *most* (admittedly, not all) allergic people, actual ingestion is the trigger for a reaction.

Stop by my blog sometime if you'd like. I'm always happy to hear the perspective of people with more allergy experience than I have!