Don’t laugh at my daughter Allergies are not funny

Yesterday I was really pleased to hear that a couple of large chain restaurants have launched vegan menus. Not because I’m vegan but because vegan means no dairy, making it slighter easier to figure out if our toddler can eat something. I tweeted what turns out to be a spoof Wetherspoons account and was shocked to get a reply after saying my daughter had allergies, a recommendation for their creamy macaroni cheese topped with cheddar crust. Someone else then tweeted “I take it that’s finished with peanuts?” As this tweet followed on in a conversation where I clearly said my daughter has allergies it was obviously a joke aimed at people with allergies. To then add further insult, others have liked this tweet.  I didn’t realise allergies were something to joke about? Specifically a nut allergy which can be fatal. When I called the person out they said it can be funny in a parody context and no offence meant. Well I’ve taken offence at you all laughing at my daughter, because when you laugh at allergies you are in effect laughing at her.  Now I’ve tried to remove myself from the situation, to look at it as if we weren’t living with allergies everyday and I still don’t find it funny. 

Allergies are not funny

Let me tell you why allergies are not funny; 

I don’t find it funny …. that you have to constantly plan and worry what they or you eat and even where you go.

I don’t find it funny ….that people live with a life long sometimes life threatening illness carrying around epi pens.

I don’t find it funny …. that my daughter may never be able to experience some foods, may not get invited to parties and be viewed as an inconvenience.

I don’t find it funny …. when she is awake screaming in pain all night with a sore tummy from something she has eaten, legs crunched up.

I don’t find it funny …..when her face gets covered in excema and cracks and bleeds.

I don’t find it funny …. when we have to take her for allergy tests and she cries with pain.

I didn’t find it funny …. when she would bleed internally reacting to something I had eaten.

I didn’t find it funny …. when she would projectile whole feeds and struggle to put on weight.

I didn’t find it funny …. when we didn’t and still don’t know what she can and cant eat.

I don’t find it funny …. when we go out for the day and we have to take all her food and drink with us as we can’t just go in to any shop and get her something.

I don’t find it funny …. when all she can eat off a menu is a bowl of chips.

I don’t find it funny …. that research shows she is likely to be bullied because of her allergies.

So it will come as no surprise that I definitely don’t find it funny that people laugh at her expense. My daughter and the millions of others affected by allergies didn’t ask for them, didn’t do something to cause them. They were born with them or developed them. Allergies are serious affecting your life every single day. I’ve spoken to parents who can’t leave the house for fear of a reaction, who worry everyday whether the next reaction will kill their child. I’ve lived with that fear, driving to the hospital watching my baby daughters lips and tongue swell after eating something containing egg, not knowing if it was going to start affecting her breathing, not knowing if she was going to be ok. 

The people on twittter are hopefully just naive and uneducated on allergies, or maybe they know and just don’t care. So I’m putting this out there. Allergies are not something to be joked about, they are serious and can cause death. Next time you want to laugh at my daughter, because that’s what you were doing, please think twice. 

Allergies are NOT funny!

 

 

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27 Comments

  1. Lola
    March 16, 2016 / 11:13 am

    My daughter is living with CMPA, which is annoying – yes, but I think you’re being overly sensitive.

  2. Emma
    March 16, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    Totally agree and not over sensitive at all. We’ve already started experiencing being left out because if my son’s allergies and I dread going to new play groups and restaurants. I think its just the internet age though, people hide behind a computer and make fun as they dont have to face the people they are saying it too. Its very sad.

  3. March 16, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    As you know my daughter is allergic to dairy too. And no it’s not funny. They should try coming to our houses one night & hold a screaming toddler for hours after they have eaten something they shouldn’t and then the would know it’s now funny 🙁 xxx

  4. March 16, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe people would joke about something as serious as allergies. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you and the worry you live with everyday. People need to be educated!! X

  5. March 16, 2016 / 7:36 pm

    Wow, I could have almost written this myself. My little girl is allergic to dairy, soya, eggs, wheat and pears and it id definitely NOT funny. I do think that allergies are hard to understand unless you’ve been affected or know someone that has but whilst I may not have been the most sympathetic pre-Monkey, I would never have made fun of anybody.

  6. March 18, 2016 / 10:53 am

    oh no, people can just be so insensitive can’t they. Sorry to hear your little one has allergies, I can’t begin to imagine how tough it can be and I think people without allergies just don’t realise how tough it is. I certainly didn’t until reading this xx #picknmix

  7. March 18, 2016 / 11:47 am

    Very well put, raising awareness is the way to go for so many issues that people just don’t understand. Making people think about what they say is important.

    Mainy

    #picknmix

    http://www.myrealfairy.com

  8. March 18, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    I think the answer is even simpler : a lot of people are just jerks

  9. March 18, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    A friend of mine in School had allergies, and lots of them. It was horrid, some people would eat nuts in class & see if she noticed or had a reaction! I couldn’t believe people didn’t realise it could kill her!

  10. March 18, 2016 / 1:17 pm

    It’s definitely not funny! I don’t understand how people think that food allergies aren’t that serious, they can be fatal. :(. Glad you’re getting awareness out there! Xx

  11. March 18, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    My friends 5yr old has a severe peanut allergy and I have witnessed the huge amounts of stress this puts on the parents and the impact it has had on how they live their lives as a result.. It is far from funny. Unfortunately I think a lot of people who don’t have any experience of the effects of allergies don’t understand how serious It can be. The current diet fads (clean, sugar-free, paleo, wheat-free, vegan, dairy free, whatever) probably aren’t helping matters much either as a lot of people are cutting various foods out of their diet by choice, which is a whole different thing to being allergic/intolerant. #PicknMix

  12. March 18, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that anyone would be so insensitive to joke about this, or rude enough to suggest you’re being too sensitive. I’ve been dairy intolerant since birth and am severely allergic to hazelnuts and oysters (random, I know), so I know a little bit about the struggle to eat anything at all when you’re away from home. But when it’s your child, I know this would feel *a lot* worse, especially when they are too small to understand why others can eat and they can’t. I completely agree that anyone who thinks allergies are funny should google what a bad reaction looks like.
    Have you had a blood-based allergy test rather than a skin-prick test for your daughter? This helped me isolate where the issues were more precisely.

  13. March 18, 2016 / 5:38 pm

    That is horrible that people would joke about such a sensitive matter! Clearly uneducated people who have nothing better to do then post nasty comments. Thanks for sharing #TheList

  14. March 18, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    I can’t believe people would joke about something like this?Food allergies can be so dangerous and like you said they can even be fatal. I’m very lucky that I don’t have any and neither does my son but my mum has awful food allergies. She has to carry an epic pen with her at all times and is always discovering different foods she can’t eat and she is 54! Good on you for raising awareness, hopefully the idiots on twitter got the message xx #picknmix

  15. March 19, 2016 / 8:23 am

    My daughter has a dairy allergy and I have a nut allergy and I totally wouldn’t find it funny.It breaks my heart watching my baby girl look longingly at other kids tucking into whatever they fancy while everything she has has to be inspected first x #picknmix

  16. March 19, 2016 / 10:44 am

    My cousin’s two young children both suffer with allergies and it is really debilitating for all of them. There is nothing to laugh about and that ‘joke’ really was in poor taste. You had every right to call them out. I hope they’re feeling suitably stupid now.

  17. March 19, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    I cannot believe that people would laugh at allergies.It is very shocking! how would they like to be in your position? xx
    #picknmix

  18. March 19, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    I’d be the same as you. I know it’s not the same but when people joke about disabilities, even though they aren’t aimed at my daughter I tend to take them a bit personally. Allergies, disabilities etc they are just not things to be joked about – they are serious things! xx #picknmix

  19. March 20, 2016 / 12:35 am

    No it’s not funny. & I am confused as to how they think that particular exchange is parody. I think that’s often the problem. I am actually someone who believes that some people can (& do) make most things into a funny joke, and sometimes it is actually good to be able to laugh at the bad things. However, the key to making a joke about a sensitive subject is that it has to be clever, funny and rooted in compassion for the subject. The problem comes in that a lot of people who aren’t actually clever enough just say things that are offensive and call it a joke, without getting that jokes need to be funny & have a point. On the plus side, the opinions of people who aren’t bright enough to know what a joke is probably aren’t worth worrying about! 😉 #picknmix

  20. March 20, 2016 / 9:36 am

    I think these people on Twitter probably made an off-the-cuff comment without really thinking about what they were saying. Well done for raising awarenessx #picknmix

  21. March 20, 2016 / 10:00 am

    Until starting my blog I wasn’t on social media at all, after having people publicly air their opinions of my marriage break up 6 years ago I decided on my own digital break up.
    Sadly the online world can be a rude insensitive place as behind their computer screens people feel safe to say things they never would to people’s faces in real life.
    Rise above it gorgeous, Ava is very lucky to have you looking out for her and I know what a hard time you’ve had with her allergies.

    Stevie xx

  22. March 20, 2016 / 4:54 pm

    The first person commenting is obviously very fortunate that their child’s allergy is merely ‘annoying’ rather than heartbreaking. I thank my lucky stars that Toby’s reflux is mostly at bay now because for a year I had to watch the screaming in pain as you’ve described and insensitive comments hurt you on your child’s behalf. So sorry you had to put up with that lovely and I hope you get some conclusive answers as to what she can and can’t have xx

  23. March 21, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Some people are just ignorant and try to make light of things they don’t understand. Try not to let it get you down.

  24. March 23, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    What I get from reading this, is that there are just a whole load of tw*ts out there who think they are so big and clever behind a keyboard. You are not being over-sensitive; spoof account or not, it’s all just so unnecessary and unfunny. 🙁 Kathy xx #PicknMix

  25. April 16, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    Bless you, I really don’t understand why people just don’t get the whole allergy thing? Its not difficult to understand, if someone with allergies eats something they shouldnt they could die so they dont eat it. Simple, surely?! Best advice I can give is concentrate on what is right for your little lady and ignore everyone else, not everyone wants to be or can be educated to understand – which is sad because life would be easier if they could! Hugs x

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