Sarah - posted on 04/12/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )
I have had a shellfish allergy since I was 4 years old, when I suffered a cardiac arrest during an anaphylactic reaction after eating clams at a clam bake. I went my entire childhood without another reaction, then when I was 20 suffered a reaction after a restaurant dished up my food with a spoon from a dish that contained oyster sauce. Since then I've gone another 13 years without a reaction, but then on Monday, my family was driving home from my inlaws (a 9 hour drive away). We were 3/4 of the way home, between 2 towns that were about 2 hours apart. First my arm starting feeling itchy, then broke out in hives.Then the rest of my body, then my throat began to feel itchy. Luckily I was able to get to the next town an hour away to the ER and get treated for an acute anaphylactic reaction (shame on me for NOT having an epi pen - please no lectures on this stupidity, I've gotten one since). I also suffered a biphasic reaction later the next morning at 5am. I had packed a lunch which we had eaten about 2 hours before my reaction started. I still feel headachy and tired 4 days later (doc says can take 7-10 days to recover). I tracked down my exposure to the buns I had bought for our sandwiches. Someone in the store accidentally contaminated then during production by working in the shellfish department then the bread department or the lettuce we bought. The store had promised to do an information session for their staff on anaphylaxis and cross-contamination.
Why I am writing this is NOT because I think high allergen foods should be banned (not at all), but because there is a small possibility that the lettuce I also purchased for our sandwiches was contaminated by a customer. Please people, remember when you go grocery shopping, watch what you are touching. Please don't fondle all the different fruits and veggies unless you are taking it home with you. If you have touched something with peanuts, shellfish, eggs, etc. and happen to even have a microscopic amount of the oils in these on your hands, you are potentially putting someone's life at risk. Even washing the fruits and veggies (I did wash the lettuce) does not necessarily remove the oils, and even a minute amount can kill someone. A lot of grocery stores have hand sanitizers, please consider using them to help kill off potential problems. Please don't get me wrong, it's not that I am an allergen Nazi, just trying to raise awareness that even the small things we do can effect people.
ALSO, IF you ever see someone drive up behind you with their 4 way blinkers on and they're honking their horn, please pull over! They're having a medical emergency (in this case it was anaphylaxis, but it could also be an impending birth, heart attack, stroke, etc.). It shocked me how many people wouldn't let us pass or pull over. Of the 40+ cars we passed, only 2 (YES, 2!) pulled over so we could get there.