Gavin is your typical 17 year old boy. Living in Miami, Florida, he loves to work out, go out to eat, and spend time with his friends. This year he is supposed to start his senior year of high school, but just like everyone else on this planet, the COVID-19 pandemic has totally changed his sense of normalcy. However, Gavin is not worried about contracting the virus, not because he is Superman, but because he knows how to stay safe.
When Gavin was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with a severe food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts after reacting to a small bite of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Ever since that day, he has had to be careful with what he eats and wary of who prepares it for him. “When I was younger, I’d always be afraid when I was eating out, that even if I told the waiter and the chef about my allergy, there would still be a chance that a peanut or tree nut would touch my food.” It wasn’t until he talked to allergists and professional chefs that he understood all the precautions being taken in the kitchen. “At some point, even if you are afraid, it is the chef’s job to prepare the food. They know that it is a big deal and will do everything to make sure that you are safe.”
The Fear of Allergens and the Fear of COVID-19
Gavin relates this to people’s attitude around the coronavirus. If you listen to the professionals and take all the necessary precautions of staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask, washing your hands for 20 seconds, quarantining and staying home, the chances of you contracting the virus are extremely slim.
Gavin’s advice is to “make sure you do whatever the CDC says to do.” Much like the chefs are the professionals in the restaurant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the professionals in the world of pandemics. “If they tell you instead of 6 ft to stand 8 ft, follow what they say because they are the ones with the facts.” They have the science to back them up.
Protecting Yourself from Allergens and Risky Situations
Additionally, Gavin stresses that you should “make sure that you are protecting yourself at all times.” At the end of the day, you are the one in charge of your life and your decisions.
Growing up, his parents always advised him that “it’s not worth it to take a risk to eat, say, an M&M.” While it might taste good for a little bit” but it could cause serious health implications in an hour or two. Furthermore, Gavin’s parents said, “Even if all my friends are doing something, I don’t have to do what they are doing.” This is applicable to social gatherings during the height of COVID-19. What others decide is up to them, but if it is not comfortable with you, ultimately it is your choice to participate or not.
Gavin said that some people may find it weird that you choose to not participate. But his answer to that is: “I don’t really care what other people think about it, because it is my life. I have to make sure that I don’t have an allergic reaction instead of not seeming weird.” Gavin says, “It is more important to stay safe during COVID-19 than to impress people.”