Earlier this month, my husband and I went to the Food and Wine Festival in Charleston, SC. While he stood in line to pick up our tickets, I ducked into the BB&T sponsor tent where Bobby Flay was signing cookbooks. Three steps inside, I felt the air thicken in my throat and nose.
Latex. I knew it was there, but where? I glanced around quickly as I stepped back outside. Lining the entire ceiling of this massive and poorly ventilated tent were beautifully arranged latex balloons in every color of the rainbow.
The BB&T host standing by the door watched as I retrieved my inhaler and stifled a brisk cough. Nothing dramatic but she noticed and quietly asked if I was okay. Offered to get me bottled water. I said I was fine but couldn’t go inside the tent because I have latex allergies and couldn’t breathe.
She asked, “Do you have your EpiPen?”
I was shocked. Here was this complete stranger who by coincidence knew about latex allergies and auto-injectable epinephrine! I assured her I had my medication, then asked her if she had allergies or asthma or had ever used an EpiPen. She said no. I asked if it was in her family. Again no. What she did say was she’d read about people with latex allergies not long ago.
She said it was a terrible idea to use latex balloons in the tent but one she doubted anyone gave any thought to prior to that moment. My episode quickly abated without lingering symptoms or the need for EpiPen, but it gives me comfort to know that non-allergic people are taking to heart the issues we face and are willing to do something about it.
As I walked away, this caring stranger was already talking to the event planner about the latex balloons…
Wow. Now that’s progress. Do you have a similar story to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on latex allergies and auto-injectable epinephrine, download our comprehensive Epinephrine Guide.