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My Fun Allergy Adventure in Greece!

Traveling is always difficult for someone with food allergies. You no longer have the safe restaurants that you always go to, the same healthcare, and the same language to communicate your allergies in. This past summer I went on a family trip to my homeland of Greece, and on the last day of our stay in Naxos, I had an allergic reaction to ice cream with Nutella (hazelnuts). We had just finished dinner when we saw a cluster of ice cream places nearby that had some delicious looking cones and flavors. The first ice cream place couldn’t guarantee us no cross-contamination and wasn’t even sure of the ingredients in some ice creams, so we decided to go to another one nearby. This one had similar flavors, but assured us that they knew the ingredients and knew which ones were safe. We asked them and confirmed multiple times that the ice cream I wanted did not have Nutella, only chocolate. However, around 5 minutes into eating some of the ice cream, I started to feel that instinctive swell/itch in my throat. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when you’re having an allergic reaction, as it starts off small and just gets more and more intense. I can be eating perfectly safe food and still trick myself into thinking that my throat is feeling a little itchy. However, this kind of feeling usually goes away after a minute or so when I realize it’s all in my head. On the contrary, the itch I felt in that moment was very much real. My mom and I were walking with the ice cream when I told her I thought I was having an allergic reaction. She immediately made me sit down (because if you don’t think a swelling throat is bad, having a swelling throat and hitting the ground unconscious is definitely worse), and we got someone to call for an ambulance. Some shop employees helped us get to a more secluded spot and I was able to lay down on a bench there. At this point I was really scared, as my throat still felt like it was closing. I used to consider myself scared of needles, but after getting allergy shots as many times as I have I don’t really care about them anymore. Yet, I’m still very much afraid of Epipen needles, and at the time was also scared of the Auvi-Q. However, when you think that you’re going to stop breathing at any moment, it’s a lot easier to let someone stab you if that’s what’s going to help. After asking her to do it, my mom injected the Auvi-Q and I immediately felt less stressed. The funny thing is, it didn’t even hurt! My allergy shots hurt more than that tiny needle. After another 5 minutes I felt almost completely better and back to normal. I walked over to the ambulance (with some support because they were still worried I was going to pass out) and did the 5 minute drive to the hospital. They gave me an IV and I just waited there for a few hours until I was allowed to go. Overall, while I still don’t want to have an allergic reaction ever again, this reaction was so much quicker and easier than my previous ones because of my early use of the Auvi-Q. In the future, there will be no question in my mind about using my Auvi-Q when I’m having a reaction. 

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