Growing up with this allergy I was blessed enough to not have many reactions until I was in high school, my family and I were just always able to see things coming and avoid just about everything. Plus, in elementary school and middle school, I have found, is much more sheltering and dependent that high school. There is much more monitoring of students by faculty and your parents are always able to alert your teachers of your allergies. Well, unfortunately, as I have found out the hard way, it doesn’t stay like that forever. I have had a few very minor skin reactions throughout the years, something little, where I was able to take Benadryl and go right on back to whatever it was I was doing, nothing as severe as my allergic reactions were supposed to be upon direct exposure to peanuts and tree nuts.
I remember my first real allergic reaction was towards the beginning of my freshman year of high school. At this point, everyone in my classes, lunch, and other activities were all aware of my allergies, only some didn’t think it would be a problem if I was exposed. I was in math, actually, I had only just walked into class. I placed my bag at my desk and walked to the table in the back to pick our work for the day, the usual routine. When I arrived back at my desk I began to feel very itchy, looked down on my arms and I was covered in hives, bright red lacy hives. I looked around me for a food source, the girl seated next to me was eating a granola bar, one that I recognized from the wrapper as one containing peanuts. She saw me and continued to eat it, that was when I realized, this was a real reaction, something to be concerned about.
My teacher was walking around the classroom returning papers, I had to work to get his attention. When I did and explained the situation and that I needed to get to the school nurse’s office immediately, I didn’t think he quite understood, he was a bit distracted. Anyhow, he dismissed me and sent me out into the hallway on my own, in a huge school, where I could easily go into anaphylactic shock at any moment. That was when I looked at the time and realized, it had only been less than five minutes since I entered the room. I hurried to the nurse’s office, once I got there and explained the situation, before I knew it the epi-pen was in her hand and almost in my thigh. This was so scary I remember, I had never had to use the epi-pen but luckily it was over before I knew it. Except for the shaking I experience soon after from the adrenaline in the epi. Then the ambulance came, along with my mom while the medics were packing me into the vehicle…I was going to the hospital. I got there soon after and experienced my first post-reaction medication, which I am too familiar with now, including lots of Benadryl, steroids, and a lot of nurses. I was ordered to stay there for about five hours while the epi-pen wore off for the doctors to be sure I was not going to rebound into another reaction. Then I was clear to go home, with more Benadryl and steroids for the rest of the week.