Hey, my name is Helena and I have an allergy towards brazil nuts. In my daily life it’s very rare for me to come across brazil nuts so I am very lucky in that sense compared to people suffering with allergies to more common foods such as, eggs, peanuts or wheat- to name a few. Consultations with an allergy clinic are/were very beneficial in helping me understand the severity of an allergy as well as normalising them for me while growing up.
Despite only being allergic to brazil nuts I tend to avoid all nuts when I am not at home e.g eating out / with friends for two main reasons. Firstly, just incase I was to have a reaction I am not certain if those around me know how to use an EpiPen and secondly, just to keep things simple for whoever I am with or the establishment I am eating in.
I have only ever had a reaction twice; the first time was mild and sorted with antihistamines
and after that initial reaction I didn’t react again for 9 years as I was able to avoid brazil nuts very easily. This did however make me more lackadaisical about carrying my own EpiPens and antihistamine. My second reaction was as a consequence of eating a granola bar which I had checked for brazil nuts/ other nuts and there was no obvious warning in bold about containing nuts or not being suitable for those with nut allergies - as there usually is on these types of bars. A minute or so after first taking a bite I felt the usual symptoms of a reactions and became quite panicked. Thankfully, I was in a built-up area with a pharmacy where I got some antihistamine from, but it was a wakeup call to start carrying my medication with me at all times. I inspected the wrapper as I was certain there was no mention of nuts and noticed in a very tiny fount, “Brazil Nuts”. Now I was concerned about this as I firmly believe all ingredients/ manufacturing processes should be very clear especially surrounding common allergies. I was lucky in this situation but that easily could have been far, far worse. Overall, I have found restaurants to be very accommodating. Often waiters/waitresses will directly speak to chefs about the contents and preparation methods to ensure everything is fine for me which I am very grateful for. The only aspect I would like to see change in is the transparency and clarity of the contents and preparation methods of off the shelf food brands.