Five years ago, Johanna Bond went out to dinner with friends who were visiting her in Rochester, NY. As they chatted, Bond, a licensed mental health counselor, nibbled on an ordinary appetizer—garlic bread dipped in marinara sauce. But suddenly, her gums tingled. Her throat tightened. She became nauseated and began to shake. In a panic, Bond called her mother, a former emergency room nurse.
Her quick response: Get to a hospital now. You’re having an allergic reaction. At the hospital, doctors treated Bond with Benadryl, which she’d also taken on the way at her mother’s urging, and kept her there under observation for four hours.
At a follow-up doctor’s appointment, tests showed that Bond, now 29, was allergic to chile pepper, an ingredient in the marinara sauce, as well as tree nuts. The doctor prescribed her an Epipen for emergencies plus steroids to reduce allergy-triggered inflammation. Bond says that before then, she had felt slight tingling in her mouth when she ate chile pepper, but not enough to concern her.
Excerpted from Prevention