When I was little, I used to eat various types of foods and desserts and many times my throat would feel itchy. Little did I know these foods included tree nuts. I would then have to ask my mom for water, but the water didn’t help. As this pattern continued, I finally got tested and diagnosed with a tree nut allergy at a very young age. As I grew up, I was very responsible and mindful to stay away from nuts. I brought my epi-pen and benadryl everywhere I went, and I always asked if the food that I ate contained nuts before I tasted it.

About 2 years ago, I experienced my first severe allergic reaction. I was at my friend’s birthday party and there were a lot of snacks and desserts. During this time, mochi ice cream was very popular. I have eaten mochi many times, so I knew that I was not allergic and decided to eat one. About 3 minutes later, I felt my throat starting to get very itchy, tight, and dry. I looked at the package of the mochi box and saw the front of the box read “Mochi Cashew Frozen Dessert.” I panicked. My mom was not at the gathering, so I told my best friend’s mom, who also has a nut allergy.

She gave me a benadryl and lots of water as we waited for my mom to arrive. 10 minutes later, my mom came to bring me home and there were hives all over my body. My throat wasn’t closing, but it still felt very tight. I felt a lot better after I threw up the mochi. Fortunately, I did not have to use my epi-pen because we arrived at the hospital right in time. The hospital provided me with liquids, medication, and we stayed for 3 hours in observation.

This was a very scary experience and it taught me a lot. It taught me to always be careful and read the ingredients, even if you have had that food before. It taught me to always carry around my epi-pen because it is better to be safe than sorry. And my reaction also taught me that my reactions can vary each time – when I was little the reactions were milder than they are now. I hope that people with food allergies learn from my story as well and continue to be cautious!