Food allergies to ingredients like nuts are a common concern these days, and for the most part our world has adapted to suit people with allergies.
But a mother’s photos of her "minor reaction" during a cross-country flight prove the world is still unsafe for some allergy sufferers.
And the mom-of-two has an urgent warning for other airline passengers, to save patients from life-threatening reactions.
"Their medical kit was not adequately stocked at all."
Australian woman Em Lee shared pictures of her painfully swollen eye from a recent flight, when Lee believes she was exposed to nut residue from a previous flight.
She called it a "minor reaction," but says her children were "terrified" and "traumatized" watching her face swell up.
"Having a life-threatening airborne allergy is like boarding a plane and enduring the whole flight with a person holding a loaded gun to your head. It is horrible," she wrote on Facebook.
Lee later told Yahoo Lifestyle that her airline, Jetstar Airways, was not even equipped to treat her reaction.
"Their medical kit was not adequately stocked at all," she said. "They had no antihistamines or suitable medications onboard. We were reliant on myself and other passengers bringing forward the medications they had to prevent [the reaction] getting worse."
FARE, the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education, says that an allergic reaction sends a person to the emergency room every three minutes, and more children are being diagnosed with peanut allergies each year.
While Lee was "lucky," in this case, up to 200 Americans die from food allergy reactions each year.
Lee offered a glimpse into her life with allergies, revealing she has to worry about a possible reaction every time she travels for work, which is at least once a year.
She has even started packing her own emergency surgery kit for the trip, along with a large supply of emergency allergy medicine.
Posted by Em Lee on Monday, November 5, 2018
"I need to carry my own tracheostomy kit in case I need to perform my own surgical airway," she wrote.
And Lee says until airlines stop offering nuts on their flights, other passengers need to help prevent these potentially deadly reactions.
"If demand [for nuts] stops, [airlines] may be more receptive to taking them off the menu," she explained.
"Be supportive of those living with this. It truly is an insanely traumatic thing to live with!"
Flying The Unfriendly Skies
Lee is far from the first airline passenger with allergies to complain their flight crew or airline were less than helpful.
Earlier this year, a brother and sister with severe nut allergies claimed they were told to spend their seven-and-a-half hour flight in the airplane’s bathroom by Emirates employees, if they were worried about suffering an allergic reaction.
Emirates later said they "cannot guarantee nut-free flights."
Passengers with allergies have even been kicked off flights after raising concerns about their safety.
A Canadian woman was forced off an Air Canada flight in 2017 for not carrying an EpiPen, an emergency medical device used to treat severe allergic reactions.
Zella Leroux-Gillespie says her EpiPen had been stolen during her vacation in Costa Rica, but she was taken off her return flight for not carrying the device with her.
A passenger from England almost found herself in a similar situation, when she notified flight crew about her allergy to strawberries.
"I was told I would have to sort out an alternative way home," Chloe Fitzpatrick told the Lancashire Telegraph. "She said the pilot had agreed with her and was not comfortable having such a passenger on board."
In a headline-grabbing case, a woman was actually dragged off a Southwest Airlines flight, following a dispute with flight attendants.
The woman complained that a service animal on her flight could trigger her life-threatening allergy to dogs. Southwest said their rules allowed them to remove passengers with severe allergies from a flight for their own safety, unless they have a medical certificate.
Still, a few airlines are trying to be considerate to passengers with allergies.
American Airlines announced this week that they will allow passengers with nut allergies to board early, giving them extra time to wipe down surfaces near their seat and hopefully prevent an allergic reaction.
Although, the change only came after FARE claimed American Airlines was violating passengers’ legal rights by not allowing them to board early.
[H/T: Yahoo Lifestyle]