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Posted On: 29th Jul 2014

Allergy Anxiety

Fixer Eilidh Ellery
A scene from the Fixers film
The film shows how dining out can be a scary experience

Living with severe food allergies or intolerances can be an isolating experience, but Eilidh Ellery hopes to encourage more empathy toward those with such conditions by sharing her story.


The 25-year-old, from Cellardyke in Fife, aims to highlight how even basic tasks can be a deadly challenge for those affected by these issues.


'There is so little understanding out there for people with hidden illnesses like allergies,' explains Eilidh.


'It's like banging your head against a brick wall every single day of the week.


'I want to show how different, and often dangerous, a seemingly innocuous experience like eating at a restaurant can be for someone with allergies.'


Though highly allergic to salicylic acid – which is prevalent in food, certain scents and materials – Eilidh feels she comes up against scepticism when talking about her condition.


'People seem to think that once you're sufficiently medicated, you can just go on as a "normal" person would and that it makes the anxiety, the disability or the mobility issues magically disappear.


'When the weather is very cold and damp, I have to use a walking stick, but on good days when it's warm and dry, I don't need it so much. Because I don't use the cane every day and because I'm young, people think I'm faking.'


For her Fixers project, Eilidh has helped to create a film, showing how ordering off a menu can become a surreal and frightening experience for someone with allergies as opposed to a fun activity.


You can watch her Fixers film 'Bittersweet' at the top of this page.


Eilidh says: 'I hope that members of the public see this film so that they can change their perceptions about these conditions.


'I'd like people with allergies to see it as well, who maybe feel like they're alone, because they should know they aren’t.'


Wanting her film to also be seen by professionals like GPs, Eilidh hopes her campaign will create a positive change for those who experience adverse reactions to food and other substances.


'I think suppliers and manufacturers should be made aware that there is a demand for safer, allergy-friendly versions of things.


'Especially, I would hope that restaurants could be more aware that if someone asks for no pepper, they shouldn't just put it on anyway.


'No means no.'


Visit the Allergy UK website for more information about food allergies and intolerances.


Help Fix it - Share this story!


‘You can’t actually tell that there’s anything wrong with me’ - See how Fixer Jordan Daly is encouraging sympathy for those with hidden conditions. 

Author: Cara Laithwaite


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