Even if you don’t have any food allergies, chances are good that one of your classmates does. A food allergy is a reaction to something that is edible.
Kids’ bodies react in different ways when they eat something they’re allergic to. How they react depends on the severity of their allergy.
For instance, if one of your friends is allergic to cow’s milk and they accidentally drink it in a smoothie, they might just get a stomachache. On the other hand, many people who are allergic to shellfish or nuts, for example, might have a really bad reaction just because they’re in the same room as those foods! Yep, just breathing in the oils of the nuts or the scent of the fish could be dangerous to them!
In the past few years, we have begun to learn more about “celiac disease.” Some people with celiac disease cannot eat even a morsel of bread or cracker or anything else that has gluten in it. If they do, they could get seriously ill or even die. (We listed some Valentine’s treats that are gluten-free on Page 18. If your classmates exchange Valentine’s Day cards and goodies, you might want to use this list for your shopping!)
We’ll share more information about allergies in future issues of Des Moines MOVE. In the meantime, try to be aware of your friends’ allergies. If you notice someone avoiding a particular food, ask if it is because of an allergy. You may make a new friend … and you might just be helping keep one of your classmates safe!