Allergy Tattoos? Ugh.

A friend shared this article with me, about temporary tattoos for kids with allergies in case they get lost.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/07/18/safetytat_allergy_tattoos_should_kids_with_food_allergies_wear_warning_labels.html

This is ridiculous. First of all, ink isn’t good for people with allergies. The chemicals are bad for your skin and even often have popular allergens. Also, people with allergies are not cows. In case of emergency, there are bracelets. In regular life, kids are smart enough to know better. They just need parents who are straight with them.

I was around five and in day camp when the counselor came around with a tray of some fried food that was unidentifiable. It was either fish sticks or schnitzel, from the looks of it. I asked my counselor, “Is this fish or chicken? I am deathly allergic to fish but if it’s chicken, I’ll take some.” She said, “It’s chicken.” I said, “Are you sure? it seems like fish is a better option and I think we’re not having meat today.” She said, “I know, but they changed their minds and it’s chicken.” I ate a bite and was like”FISH!” and I don’t remember anything else but I know I went home. I imagine I got very sick. Would a tattoo have helped? I doubt it. The counselor was an idiot. I was aware of my allergies. I asked the right questions. Tattoo or no tattoo, children just need responsible adults when they aren’t with their parents, and their parents to train them to ask questions and be smart. No kid WANTS to die. I didn’t WANT to eat fish sticks. I didn’t want to try something that made me get sick. I think what parents don’t get is that food that is appealing to non-allergic people isn’t appealing to allergic people. Yes, the idea of chocolate tempted me as a child. The fear of chocolate kept me away. Knowing how bad it felt to get sick kept me away. Things I was more allergic to, like fish, tasted foul and I spit them out. Spinach tasted like darkness and anger. It didn’t taste good. Even now, when sometimes all I want is a food I’m allergic to, the temptation will never outweigh the risk of death.
Bottom line: responsible adults will be responsible if there are tattoos or not. Irresponsible adults will be irresponsible if there are tattoos or not. People with food allergies will prioritize their own lives over food regardless of whether they have tattoos.
Let’s try to at least encourage people to be intelligent, shall we? And maybe train camp counselors better.
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One response

  1. I see the temp tattoos as an extension of the allergy stickers, but yes they do have chemicals. I have stickers I put on my allergic child’s shirts – unfortunately since he’s just a toddler and can’t speak yet, this is necessary (along with a bracelet) as an extra precaution. People LOVE to feed a toddler a cracker. I have fears that a well-meaning adult will feed him something while my head is turned, or when he is with his au pair at a playdate with other au pairs whose understanding of English and food allergies might not be as extensive as hers. But we do try to be vigilant about non-tangible ways of dealing with it, such as announcing to the others at the gathering not to feed him anything at all, and of course bringing his own food.

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