Managing your allergies at University

I graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2015 after studying Graphic Design, and I’m here to reassure you that your allergy shouldn’t get in the way of your University experience this September.

I recently wrote a blog post for the Anaphylaxis Campaign talking about my experiences going to University with an allergy. See below my 'Top 3 Tips' for managing your allergy at University this September. Make sure to read the full blog post, I have a put a link to the blog post at the end of the article.

I have also filmed a YouTube talking about my experiences managing my allergy at University. You can watch the video below.

Should you ask someone if they’ve eaten nuts on a night out?
Freshers is just around the corner – that usually involves alcohol and meeting lots of new people. There might be a time when you’ve just met a girl/guy, you’re getting on really well… should you ask them if they’ve eaten nuts or not?!

If someone has just eaten nuts and you go in for a kiss, you’re most likely going to have an allergic reaction; I’ve heard of this happening to other allergy sufferers. My advice to you is to always ask. I’d usually ask in a jokey way and they would just laugh it off and say they haven’t eaten nuts – it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Watch out for cocktails that contain nuts
There were a number of times where cocktails nearly caught me out and I was so close to having an allergic reaction. Once at university my friend ordered me a drink which contained a few different spirits, so I decided to double check with the bar staff to see if it contained nuts. I was surprised to hear it contained almonds, but it showed me you should always go with your gut feeling.

What was even more shocking was that after that, another student swiped my drink from the bar and took a sip. I later found out, through a friend, that she had a nut allergy too and had an allergic reaction. Please never take someone else’s drink from the bar because you don’t know whether it contains nuts, or if the person who drank it last recently ate nuts – it’s definitely not worth the risk. Also, always check with the bar staff when drinking cocktails, and if you’re not confident with their response, try to speak to the manager instead.

Be vocal about your allergy
When I moved into my student accommodation I was living with eight complete strangers – it was quite scary at first, but after a few days I settled in and got to know my housemates. It’s so important to tell your new housemates about your allergy so they understand how serious it is, and more importantly, to make sure they always clean up after themselves so there’s no cross-contamination in the kitchen.

To sum up, going to university with an allergy shouldn’t be scary, it’s a fun and exciting time where you meet lots of new people and make amazing memories that stay with you for a lifetime. Just remember to always be vocal about your allergy, and never feel embarrassed to speak up about it – I promise you, people are very understanding when you explain to them why it’s so serious.

You can read the full blog post here