Sir, Put the Strawberry Down, Slowly
Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, July 26, 2012
When Strawberries Bite Back!Despite the topsy-turvy weather, I hope this summer is treating everyone well.  Children are out of school, families are going on vacation, and people should be enjoying the outdoors and all that summer has to offer.  For those with allergies, summer provides something of a break from the spring and fall pollen seasons, but the season can present new challenges.  A recent trip to a Saturday farmer's market held a local church highlighted one of these challenges for my friend "Gabe."

Now, Gabe isn't his real name, but he was  bit embarrassed by the whole ordeal, so I offered to give him a suitable cover name.  In any event, Gabe, another friend of ours, and I were at the local market last Saturday looking for fresh fruits and veggies.  I'm a big fan of summer tomatoes, and my single plant doesn't seem to be producing enough to satisfy.  Gabe had picked out a couple quarts of fresh picked strawberries and a few genuine Georgia peaches.

As we are heading home, as often happens, our new purchases prove to be too tempting to wait.  About a block from the house, I happen to look over at Gabe, who has already dispatched a half a quart of his strawberries, and I was almost certain his lips looked... puffy.  I continue towards the house and ask, "Gabe, you have allergies, right?"  He rattles off a short list of things he's allergic too, not noticing the slight swelling that's going on just under his nose.

When we get to the house, I turn to Gabe and simply tell him.  "Put down the strawberry."  And after a little prompting he pulled down the sun visor and looked at himself in the small mirror.  We all went inside, and Gabe took some Benadryl, and within the hour his swelling has nearly completely cleared up.

Though Gabe does have allergies, he was unaware that strawberries was on his list, and thankfully for all of us, his reaction wasn't so severe that it required an Epipen or a trip to the ER.  This does highlight something common among allergy sufferers.  Allergies are rarely a "one and done" deal.  Most who suffer from allergies are affected by multiple allergens, and not all of them will be immediately known.  For all the research and testing that goes into the field of allergies, there is still much that is unknown, particularly why they occur, why they sometimes go away, and why sometimes, new ones just seem to crop up.

For severe allergy sufferers, it is always a good idea to remain aware of what you are eating, and it never hurts to have an Epipen handy.  Though this won't discourage Gabe from going to the farmer's market with us another weekend, it does mean he'll likely be sticking to the peaches for a while.  As for me, I won't complain about a free quart of strawberries that Gabe gifted me after the incident.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

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