Food Allergy Chronicles: Allergy Role-Models
Why I think we need more people like Adrian Peterson?
I recently read a short interview with Adrian Peterson about his allergies. For those that are not familiar, Adrian is a professional football player with the Minnesota Vikings. He was diagnosed with an adult on-set seafood allergy last year after going into anaphylaxis after eating gumbo for lunch. He had eaten seafood his entire life and suddenly one day everything changed. I think he is important because people associate food allergies with children and don’t understand how serious adult onset allergies can be. People have a hard time grasping how you can suddenly be allergic to something you have eaten your entire life.
The main reason I think we need more people like him in the allergy community is because he is a public figure. He is the perfect allergy role model. Children (and adults) look up to him. If they see him carry an EpiPen it may make them want to be better about carrying theirs. If they see him living his life and managing his allergies, it may help them come to terms with theirs.
After a quick Google search I discovered a lot of celebrities have food allergies. Kelly Clarkson, Serena Williams, Zoey Deschanel, Halle Berry, Ray Romano, and Drew Barrymore are just a handful of them. It made me think about how all of these people could be (and should be) at the forefront of allergy awareness. Personally I think having Adrian Peterson, Kelly Clarkson, Serena Williams (or any other celebrity) speak to a room full of allergy sufferers about managing allergies and carrying EpiPens would do a lot more good than having a mom of a child with allergies speak to a room of other moms of kids with allergies about how to remove every peanut from the face of the earth.
The fact is our triggers are not going away. At some point we all will have to learn to manage our lives or we will continue to run the risk of dying. Having someone like Adrian Peterson speaking about his allergens lets people know that it’s ok to be like us. You can live your life. You can play sports. You can have fun. You can do anything. Just remember to bring your EpiPen 🙂