The New Zealand Herald recently reported a tragic story of Grant Freeman, a man with severe food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, seafood, and chicken, who collapsed and died at a local restaurant after taking a single bite of his entreé.
Even though Mr. Freeman was careful to warn the café of his allergies and was served a specially prepared meal, he is suspected of having had a severe reaction to some ingredient in his entreé that resulted in his death.
This story reminds those with food allergies of several important lessons:
- You cannot predict the severity of future reactions based on past reactions. Mr. Freeman knew he was allergic to several foods, but as the story reports, according to his family, “he never realised his life might be at risk.”
- Always carry your emergency medications. No matter how careful you are when eating out, your dinner out is never 100 percent risk-free. Carry two epinephrine autoinjectors with you.
- If you begin to feel strange, immediately tell someone in your party or at the restaurant to phone 911. You may be inclined to head to the bathroom alone. Fight the temptation. Let someone know that you may be having a reaction. According to the story, Mr. Freeman “went to the bathroom and collapsed in the stall.”
Remember: If you have or suspect you have an allergy to any food, regardless of the severity of your symptoms, consult your doctor, obtain an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, and be well prepared for potential emergencies, particularly when you leave home.