The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


Living with Allergies

Standing in the cafeteria line, junior Annabelle Cantrell talks to her friends as she steps a little closer to her lunch. Grabbing her tray, she sees a hamburger. She thinks, “Okay, I can eat this.” She walks further down only to see small plastic trays of celery and lettuce. She moves away and warns her friends not to get it.

She reminds them every time when an allergen is in sight.

An allergy is a reaction caused by a person’s immune system against a harmless substance, but to people with allergies, the reactions may be deadly.

“I’m allergic to grass, peanuts, cats, celery, peppers, avocados, certain spices, every lettuce except romaine lettuce…” Cantrell said. “Dust, pollen, mold – I have asthma and that combination isn’t good for me.”

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A person without allergies would have no reaction to the substance but if a person who is allergic encounters it, the body reacts by releasing chemicals which cause allergy symptoms.

Allergies symptoms vary per person.

For sophomore Thien Vu, eating a peanut causes his skin to redden.

“I ate a peanut,” he said. “and I had a big rash on my neck, chest, lung area.”

For sophomore May Trieu, being near pollen causes sinus troubles.

“I sneeze and I get teary eyes,” she said. “I start sneezing – it doesn’t stop.”

For junior Nina Hua, eating watermelon causes her lips to swell.

“I ate [watermelon],” she said. “and my lips started pumping up and there was a rash near it too and it was just dry and sore and itchy.”

But for Cantrell, consuming a food allergen could end her life.

“If I eat something that’s bad I’ll go into respiratory stress, and my lungs will shut down.” she said. “Once your lungs shut down, it’s over.”

In fact, Cantrell’s allergic reactions are so severe that it prevents from attending school.

“In freshman year, they gave me this medicine with amoxicillin which is like a form of penicillin, and they didn’t tell me amoxicillin was in it,” she said. “I had to miss school for weeks because I was getting a rash to something I was allergic to.”

Luckily, there are solutions to control the allergic reactions.

“I have lotion, pills, and an EpiPen pen.” Vu said.

An EpiPen is a portable device used to stop allergic reactions by injecting a measured dose of epinephrine, a hormone that regulates the body during fight-or-flight situations.

“I used the EpiPen once when I had an allergic reaction to chicken,” Cantrell said. “All I did was stab it in my leg and I felt better afterwards.”

However, Trieu has another solution to control her allergies.

“I use a nose spray and drink medicine,” she said.

Hua also has a different method to handle her allergies.

“I have a prescribed skin gel,” she said. “I put it on and it goes away in a few days. But for the most part, I avoid them.”

Living with allergies is an important factor in a person’s life because it can limit what a person can or cannot do. Allergies restrict what a person can eat, what a person can touch, and even what a person can breathe.

In order to stay safe, Cantrell takes notice of her surroundings to avoid her allergies.

“I just have to be aware of everything around me,” she said. “I can’t go and run in grass. I have to wear tennis shoes. At restaurants, I have to tell the waiters what I’m allergic to.”

Hua does the same as well.

“I would either ask a waiter if there’s watermelon or avocado in the foods I eat,” she said. “I would have to remind my mom, ‘Hey, I’m allergic to this and this.’”

Since allergies are often temporary, they seem almost insignificant.

“It’s not severe,” Vu said. “It’s just a rash, it’ll go away.”

“It’s not that major,” Hua said.

But for others, allergies may be life threatening. Cantrell, for example, lives her life with caution.

“I’m constantly avoiding allergies because I have to make sure everything I do I doesn’­t jeopardize my health because once I do, I’m done here,” she said.  “I can’t be here at Kerr, and my grades will drop. But now, I’m doing great since I know what to do.”

Though allergies are most often discovered through personal experience, anyone can go to a clinic and request for an allergy test showing everything they are allergic to. It’s better safe than sorry.

To conclude, Cantrell gives advice to everyone regarding allergies.

“Allergies could kill you, especially if you have respiratory stress,” she said. “So be careful, you’ll never know when something turns on you.”

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