Don't Get Comfortable With Food Allergies
I travel to Toronto and Ottawa frequently. Luckily, I have great family and friends to stay with. They understand my allergies which means that for the most part, I have safe environments in which to stay. It's hard not appreciate that. It's also hard not to take that for granted and become complacent. During my most recent trip, I was reminded of the importance of never being too comfortable with any environment.
First, I accepted a set of sheets which I knew had been exposed to a cat. It was over six months ago and the set of sheets had been washed numerous times since, but I know the science. Dander does not easily wash out. For anyone with a serious allergy, once fabric has been exposed to cat dander, it's best to toss it. However, I didn't heed my own advice and it resulted in a pretty nasty rash on my face and neck.
Second, I was looking for a late-night snack and thought a few crackers would do nicely. So, I entered a well-stocked pantry and pulled out the familiar yellow Triscuit box. I actually opened the box and then wondered what on earth I was doing. I always check labels. The first time I buy something, the fiftieth time I buy the same thing and sometimes even at home before I eat it. So, I read the ingredients and found that there was milk. I was a bit shocked and looked at the front of the box. Parmesan-flavoured Triscuits...I didn't know they had such a thing. But, they do. I put the box back and washed my hands, just in case.
Third, I was prepared to make myself a lovely sandwich a couple of days ago. The bread on the counter looked exactly like the bread my friend and I had purchased during my last visit. I took out a slice of bread and then remembering the "Triscuit episode" I checked the ingredients, which once again contained milk. I still don't know what the difference is between that bread and the earlier one we'd purchased, but there was clearly an important one.
The lesson here is obvious - always check and always ask. The danger of getting too comfortable is obvious. Even when it's a restaurant you've been to a dozen times or a dish you've ordered that has always been safe, treat it like it's your first time, every time.