Introduction to My Blog Topic: Food Allergies

At 18 months old, I had an anaphylactic reaction to a small bite of a peanut butter and banana sandwich fed to me by my mother. Afterwards, I was confirmed severely allergic to peanuts by an allergist. Ever since then, I’ve carried two Epi-pens with me at all times. I’m not alone–since 1997, the number of people in the U.S. with food allergies has skyrocketed. Because of this, the allergy world has slowly but surely made its way into the media, and that’s what I’m going to discuss on this course blog.

The attitude of the media towards food allergies has always been a mixed bag. Many films and TV shows make fun of those with food allergies, playing up their potentially life-threatening reactions for comedy. Other media sources choose to take a more sober approach and simply report the facts or fictionalize the issue in a respectful way. Recently, Netflix’s documentary show Rotten added an episode called “The Peanut Problem”, which addressed both the scientific and social aspects of peanut allergies. It was an extremely well-done program and much of it was also applicable to allergies other than peanut.

My stance is and always has been that making fun of allergies does no good. In fact, such things trivialize the issue, which has the potential to get people killed. On the other hand, well-researched news stories and media portrayals can save lives and make everyone feel more empowered along the way. Therefore, it is my duty to share such portrayals and give them as many eyes as I can. I don’t often make recommendations on social media, but after watching “The Peanut Problem” I took to Facebook to share it with all my friends. 

As for websites, my go-tos for for allergy-related content are Snack Safely and, both of which post up to date and interesting resources for both allergic individuals and those who love them. In future blog posts, I’ll discuss this topic in more depth and really get to the heart of how allergies are treated in today’s media landscape.