I just read an article in the newspaper about food allergies, which many people with asthma have. About 1 in 13 people have food allergies. The problem is that many people confuse food allergies with food intolerance.
A true food allergy will involve a skin rash, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest. People with a food intolerance, say to milk, will experience digestive problems and bloating.
Bloating and digestive problems won't cause anaphylactic shock, but a true food allergy will. If you have ever witnessed one (as I have with Son #1) it is extremely shocking. Not to mention the fact that it can kill you in a matter of minutes!
If you are confused about if a food you are eating is merely causing some annoying symptoms because you are intolerant, or that you are truly allergic, please contact an allergy doctor near you as soon as possible. Since true food allergies require you to avoid the food and carry an epi-pen with you at all times, it is good to know what you are allergic to.
It's also a good idea to tell everyone around you, so they will avoid making those foods if you are coming to dinner, or will at least serve you first before there is any cross-contamination with serving utensils.
Since Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, and I am allergic to seafood, we are always inspecting food before we eat. In fact, we just went out for ice cream cones, and amazing number of ice cream flavors contain nuts! So I asked the employee if she would get a new, clean scoop and use it to scoop Son #2's choice of ice cream first before she helped the rest of us. She was a little wide-eyed and scared, but I knew Son #2 would be okay. She just had to serve him first, then she could scoop out other flavors without having to worry about any cross-contamination.
Knowledge is power-you can still eat out for dinner and at family parties, but know how to avoid your problem foods. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what is in a particular food dish, and let people know that you have a food allergy. You may need to be served first if the food you are allergic to is present. You can do all of this quietly and discreetly and still enjoy many family parties and nights out at dinner.
Now I'm craving an ice cream cone, I think I'll stop by on the way home from work. One chocolate peanut butter scoop in a sugar cone please!