How to Gracefully Respond When People Criticize Your Allergies

Jane Lawson

I'm a 20-something on a mission to defining myself, and ending stigma surrounding allergies, autism and out-of-the-box thinkers. In my free time, I write the unconventional web series I've been creating, tend to my garden, and binge-watch stuff on Netflix. I blog at janepedia.com.

It’s a problem. People you know and people you don’t know are making comments about your allergies or eating habits. When you rant to a trusted friend, they shrug you off and tell you to ignore it. But ignoring isn’t easy. I’ve found ignoring does nothing but bury a problem or situation, so I’m going to share with you my ways of gracefully responding to allergy stigma and criticism.

picky-girl-eat-finger-food“Are you sure you’re not just a picky eater?”

A person can have allergies and be a picky eater at the same time. Coincidentally, I am allergic to mushrooms because they are fungi, which is a type of mold, and I have never been able to tolerate them because of their taste and texture. They feel like worms, and the only worm-related food I care for are Surf Sweets’ sour gummy worms.

Unfortunately, many picky eaters have used allergies as a scapegoat, if only to avoid having to consume the food. The difference between an allergy and a picky eater is that the picky eater, whether they want to or not, can pick off the food without a risk of cross-contamination. The allergic person, however, cannot always separate the food in such a simple manner without suffering consequences sooner or later.

How to respond:

Of course, that’s a lot to remember. Try this:

“Picky eaters just dislike something about the food. When a substance is an allergy, there is at least one accompanying negative reaction.”

“You need to strengthen your immune system; it’s too weak.”

Allergies are actually caused by an overactive immune system.

That is, hands-down, the cause. Your immune system is freaking out over the little things.

“You keep declining various medications. Have you been examined for hypochondria yet?”

Allergies get an underrated rep in the medical field, so if you are being criticized by non-allergists, or doctors who believe allergies are comparable to fairy tales, you might want to look into another doctor.

I found out the hard way that doctors had added a note regarding my potential hypochondria to my charts. A doctor tried to explain to me the severity of it, which upset me because I’d rather have a natural way of healing than stuff medicine down my throat. I changed doctors, because I realized she was being paid to keep pushing various meds on me that had things I was allergic to.

If your doctor cares more about referrals than your actual well-being, save yourself some paranoia (and money for medical bills) by switching to a doctor who won’t shrug off your allergies.

“A little won’t hurt; just try it!”

If you were borderline or mildly allergic, you wouldn’t have spent almost a fortune on your auto-injector, amirite?

It only takes a tiny particle of a life-threatening/severe allergen to cause a life-threatening reaction.

If this doesn’t sway them, compare the allergy to child abduction: all it takes is one look away from the stroller, the playground.

That’s all it takes for an allergen to take your life.

In the words of Hillary Duff, any moment, anything can change.


Need help figuring out how to respond to other statements? Reply in the comment box below, and I’ll whip up a graceful, tailored-to-you reply.

Post Author: Jane Lawson

I'm a 20-something on a mission to defining myself, and ending stigma surrounding allergies, autism and out-of-the-box thinkers. In my free time, I write the unconventional web series I've been creating, tend to my garden, and binge-watch stuff on Netflix. I blog at janepedia.com.

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