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"If They Can't Eat Nuts, They Shouldn't Fly"

There has been much debate about whether or not peanuts should be banned on flights. Here is one allergy sufferer's opinions - with the help of some extremely tolerant and understanding Daily Mail commenters.

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When I was a toddler, just starting out on solids, my mum gave me peanut butter on toast for the first time. Within five minutes, my lip touched my nose and I was covered in hives. I was taken to the doctors, treated, and referred on. A few simple tests discovered that I have a serious, life threatening allergy to peanuts.

Fast forward twenty odd years, and I have turned into an opinionated young so and so with a fear of Snickers, and a sadistic habit of reading Daily Mail comment sections.

Earlier in the week, there was an article discussing whether or not there should be a blanket ban on peanuts being consumed on flights. This lead to several outraged comments, the highlights of which can be read here

Most of them follow this template:

"If someone has an allergy, it's their responsibility, they shouldn't fly."

As someone who is the cause of the announcement made at the start of a flight, I have a few comments. These are entirely based on my own experiences, and also the feelings that reading some of the bile posted below that article made me feel. There have been numerous cases of allergic reactions on planes (including myself) as a result of the recycled air in the cabin. In the last few months, there have been some involving young children. Comments on those articles include "why don't they hire a private jet if they want to go on holiday so much?" It makes me so sad that people are actually writing down, so other people can read it, that they think young children should be denied the chance to go on a plane (unless they have a spare ten grand lying around) just because they could have an (easily prevented) allergic reaction.

These people are hopefully the minority, but even one of these idiots ignoring warnings on planes in mindless defiance could cost the life of a person suffering from nut allergies.

I am a normal person, I just can't eat one kind of food and can't breathe it in. If I do, my whole system will go into anaphylactic shock and I could die. That might mean your holiday to Menorca (I'm a very repetitive traveler) could be delayed when the plane has to land in France to get me off, possibly in a body bag.

I am responsible for my own health in all the ways I can be. I'm careful with the food I eat, I carry around antihistimine tablets and two epi pens at all time. There isn't much else I can do for myself. Strangely, I don't want to be confined to only holidaying in England or, as one commenter suggested, using a boat or a car to get around. Sure, I'll just add several days and a lot more expense to my journey, rather than going to Luton airport half an hour away and being there in two hours. Hope you enjoy your M&Ms, I'm just waiting for the next P&O crossing from Dover..should be in Menorca in about five days.

The thing is, these kinds of comments aren't restricted to the Daily Mail. When I use a plane, I always have to make myself known to the flight crew and they make an announcement. People then seem to forget that, if someone on the plane is allergic to peanuts, the chances are they are probably ON THE PLANE. The amount of times I've had to hear people saying something along the lines of "They've stopped everyone eating nuts just for one person." "God, who do they think they are?" "I'm going to eat the nuts I bought secretly." is ridiculous. It hurts. It actually hurts that people feel angry that I've stopped them eating nuts for two hours so I don't die. I know this sounds prima donna-ish and prissy, but it's pretty upsetting that people prioritize snack time over your life.

The thing is, I would do anything to not have to make the announcement. I wish I was "normal", and not be afraid of a damn legume. In the end, this is what I'm stuck with, and there are so many things that are worse, but being made to feel like an inconvenience, or a liar, with a food allergy is scary. If one person decides that it probably isn't that serious, or that I'm a drama queen, that could land me in serious trouble. In one case that made me angry, a boy was even barred from flying because "Americans have the right to eat peanuts."

I know it's a free country, and that we can all do as we see fit but, for once, can't we all show a bit more compassion and understanding towards everybody? I'm sure peanuts are lovely, but, if you're on a plane and an announcement is made, please don't moan. There's probably someone cowering in their seat, feeling a fool for making everyone do something just for them.

There are other snacks available, I promise.

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