It’s no surprise that having severe food allergies is incredibly inconvenient. See that free chocolate cake that looks like it was crafted by the Gods to bless everyone on Earth? Sorry, I can’t have any because if I did, I would die. Here are 10 more reasons why allergies can be inconvenient in more ways than what most people expect.

1. Kissing Can Be Deadly

Yes, you did read that correctly. Food allergies can actually affect a person’s dating life. If a person has food allergies that can be simply triggered by cross-contamination (essentially when the allergen touches something and that thing touches the person with the allergies), imagine if her/his/their significant other ate something they were allergic to and tried to kiss them. That alone can actually trigger an allergic reaction and earn you a trip to the hospital if you’re not careful. What a fun way to end date night!

2. Flying On Airplanes Is a Nightmare

So many problems come with going on an airplane. To start with, if you're going on a long flight, you have to pack food. While airplane food isn't necessarily something to cry over missing, it can be very inconvenient when it's not even an option. I personally have so many allergies that it's not even possible for me to hope that the plane has food I can eat. 

In addition to bringing meals, if your allergies are airborne, you need to talk to the flight attendants and ask them politely to make sure the people around you don't eat something you are allergic to. If you're lucky, they'll notify the people around you and the worst that happens is someone gets salty about not getting to eat the salted nuts they brought for the trip. If you're unlucky, the flight attendant will tell you that they can't/don't want to do that, and you spend the rest of the flight breathing through your sweater while praying you'll be OK. 

The third issue is you usually have to wipe down your seat with hand wipes or Clorox. My allergist taught me this at the tender age of three. Try explaining why you have to furiously scrub down your seat to the stranger who is going to sit next to you for the next several hours; it could either result in bonding/conversing or glares. You have no idea if the person before you ate something you're allergic to and essentially contaminated the entire area.

While this logic could apply to a number of public spaces, it is especially risky in airplanes because of how confined the space is and that on the off chance, something bad does happen, you are trapped in the air with no immediate access to the proper medical attention. 

3. You Need a Bag With You Every Moment 

Okay, can we all just take a moment to acknowledge how ridiculously huge EpiPens are? Every time I see a cute bag I might want, I have to put it through the EpiPen Test, which involves me trying to find a creative way to shove it into the bag without damaging it. The number of times I've had to put a bag back because it didn't pass the test is upsetting. 

I can never be totally hands free when I’m out of the house because I need to have it with me at all times. Pockets are, of course, not an option because there are no pants made for girls in existence that could fit the damn thing. 

4. Going to New Restaurants is Difficult.

To start with, if you're a socially awkward person, it can be a nightmare. As soon as you sit down, you need to tell your waiter that you have food allergies and explain what could potentially harm you. The problem is, not everyone understands how severe it can be, and it doesn't always occur to people that certain common foods contain what you're allergic to. The number of times I've had to remind people that there is milk in butter is astonishing.

That being said, you usually have to be really specific. I've even had to specify to some places that they have to clean the cooking utensils before making my food. 

Some restaurants can't even guarantee your food won't be contaminated, and it's not like you can check online in advance. Sometimes the waiter will inform you of the uncontrollable cross-contamination issues in their kitchen, meaning, unless you want to risk it, you can't eat most things there. There have been a few situations where I've had to sit awkwardly not eating anything while everyone else feasts on food.

If the people working in the restaurant don't speak the same language as you, you're usually screwed. One time I was in Italy and asked an Italian man to write me a list of what I'm allergic to in Italian. That list ended up being a life-saver (literally). 

5. Labels Become your Best Friend... Except When They're Not

It's generally a rule of thumb that when you have allergies, you should read the ingredients on whatever you buy or eat. That in and of itself can be inconvenient, especially when the ingredient list is barely legible (I'm looking at you candy wrappers). But there is also the problem of mislabelling.

Nowadays, this is less of a problem, but when I was about four I ended up in the hospital because there was a "rice cheese" that supposedly had no dairy, but actually did contain the harmful ingredient. Labels can be deceiving, so even when something says it's allergen-free, it should still be checked thoroughly. 

6. Spending The Night at Someone's Place Can Be Dangerous

As if there needed to be even more reasons for your love life to suffer. Think about it. If the place you're staying at is filled with allergens, it just isn't safe to spend prolonged periods of time there. This is especially true if the person's place isn't totally hygienic, and there are random candy wrappers on the ground or spilled food that was never cleaned up.

7. Camping Trips and Other Survivalist Lifestyles are Nearly Impossible

I’ve come to terms with the fact that on the off chance the zombie apocalypse does happen, I might not survive it despite having martial arts training. Camping is not really an option for me, nor is living off the fruit of the land, mostly because that “fruit” could potentially kill me. Camping is also risky because on the off chance I accidentally brush against a chestnut or acorn, I might need medical attention, which is not very easy to come by while in the middle of a forest.

8. If You're Thirsty, Sharing Drinks is not an Option

It's basically the same logic as the whole kissing situation. Sharing water bottles can trigger an allergic reaction. Water fountains can also be mildly risky if someone decided to shove their mouth onto the faucet. On the bright side, when I leave class for five minutes to get water, it is for a legitimate reason because I have to buy water from the nearest vending machine.

9. Going to Someone's House to Eat a Meal Is a Mess for Everyone Involved

This one is inconvenient for both the person with allergies and the person making the food. The host usually feels pressured to make a special dish for you, which, while flattering, is actually dangerous if they aren't careful or very familiar with your allergies. If you do react to it, they usually feel incredibly guilty, and you sometimes feel guilty for making them feel guilty. Fun times for everyone!

It also can add another layer of pressure on the person cooking, in addition to the usual stress of cooking food for people and hoping they enjoy it. One option is to eat before going to their house, but some people find that insulting. Also, then you're stuck being the one person who isn't eating again. 

10. Cafeterias Can Be a Living Hell

To my knowledge, if you have airborne allergies cafeterias are usually not an option. If you don't have airborne allergies, it can still be an awful experience. Back in high school, I spent a few weeks at a university and the entire first morning I was sent to different workers to explain which food wouldn't kill me, until I realized none of them had any idea what they were doing. If you're a student, sometimes cafeterias are the only affordable way to consistently get food, and if they can't work with your allergies, you're in a difficult situation. 

Some cafeterias will try to isolate the people with allergies to make sure they're safe from allergens, but it usually doesn't help, since most people don't wash their hands after eating and just contaminate things regardless. It also makes the whole experience unpleasant since you're exiled from your friends.  

And sometimes, cafeterias only have a tiny section reserved for people with allergies that has less than stellar food. They usually only have the same foods every day, which gets old very quickly.

Cafeterias can be great though, if they're managed properly. Vassar College, for example, has an amazing allergen free section that serves first-rate food. If the servers in all the sections are trained on how to handle food allergies and know what's in the food they're cooking, eating at cafeterias can be a nice experience.

I hope you either learned something here, or laughed at how relatable this all is. Either way, all in all, food allergies can be a pain.

#SpoonTip: Check out this article for more tips and tricks to navigate allergies.