Chris O’Donnell’s Allergy Story

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Chris is someone who has had food allergies nearly his whole life. At just eight months old, he had his first allergic reaction. Our mom was feeding him a pear-flavored yogurt for babies, containing dairy. Feeding babies food containing common allergens can be risky. Chris expressed discomfort through making faces and pulling away from the spoon. Some of the yogurt dripped out of his mouth onto his chin. As our mom went to wipe it away, the yogurt left his skin bright red. Chris began throwing up and breaking out in hives, and our parents took him to the emergency room.

After a visit to the pediatrician, our parents were directed to not feed him any more dairy products until he turned one, then try again. When Chris turned one, he was taken to the allergist, where blood was drawn and a skin test was performed on his back. He then tested positive for milk, eggs, and peanuts.

After that, anytime we ate out ( on vacations, at restaurants, and the houses of friends and family,) we had to bring food from home. The first time Chris was able to eat food from outside our home again was on a Disney Cruise. The chefs prepared teriyaki chicken with rice and carrots, and Chris was able to eat them safely and comfortably. That experience, thanks to Disney, opened a new door to feeding Chris outside of our home.¬†Wendy’s and Friday’s were our next attempts on a road trip from New York to New Hampshire, which ended up successful. Feeding Chris outside of our home became so much easier.

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Even though Chris now enjoys food from places other than our home, he still carries his EpiPens and Benadryl everywhere he goes. We never know if and when he will have a reaction, or when food we thought was made safely for him has been cross-contaminated. I recommend ANYONE with a food allergy to carry EpiPens and Benadryl with him or her. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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First meal at a Mets game; Citi Field, NYC
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About to dig into pizza made with Daiya brand (dairy free) cheese, chicken, bacon, and BBQ sauce at the Mellow Mushroom; Blacksburg, VA
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First hamburger at Andy’s, one of our favorite local restaurants; Highland Falls, NY

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