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A news headline in May 2015 read “Apprentice builder, 18, with nut allergy who collapsed and died an hour after eating a Korma curry wasn’t carrying his EpiPen because he wanted to keep the outline of his skinny jeans.” Another, more recent headline from November 2019 read “Allergies: Teenagers needing hospital treatment up 65% in five years”. And finally, a last headline in consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic read “Teenagers mistook COVID-19 symptoms as asthma symptoms”.

Puberty can be a very complicated time for every single teenager. At the same time as disregarding parent’s rules at every turn or thinking they know what is best, puberty signifies so many changes, whether that be physical, mental or emotional. They are starting to get a sense of who they are and how they will be a part of the world around them. In today’s society, the need to ‘fit in’ can subject them to the grating force that is peer pressure.

The first headline at the start of this video showed how this can even be fatal. The 18 year old was on a date with his girlfriend and ordered a Korma curry which, to his ignorance, contained nuts, and this boy also had a nut allergy. In this instance, the menu he ordered from did not contain an allergen guide, however equally, the man did not let staff of the restaurant know that he had a nut allergy. The ideal in this situation would have been both the man letting staff know about his allergy, as well as the restaurant having allergen information regardless. It can be as simple as having a quick word with a waitress or waiter. In this situation however, the man was not carrying his EpiPen as he was evidently worried about it showing through his clothing.

Even asthma can still prove fatal, with Asthma UK stating in 2014 that 46% of asthma deaths were identified as being avoidable. Following the proper guidance that asthma specialists give, and making sure that you know what to do if anyone is having any sort of hypersensitivity reaction really can save lives. If people are not taking their auto-injectors or reliever inhalers with them, they cannot be used. Nowadays, more and more teenagers are thinking ‘It will be fine, I won’t need it’. This may be in part of them not knowing the risks of not taking their medication with them, but there will also be a lot of social pressures influencing their decision. This is probably one of, if not the most obvious rules of medicine: If the medicine isn’t there, it cannot be used.