Just two bites into an entree at a trendy restaurant, Jaicey Revelle’s mouth and throat began swelling - she had eaten cashew dip despite being “deathly allergic” to nuts.
The 22-year-old claimed a waitress at a restaurant in Byron Bay, on the NSW north coast, assured her twice her meal would be safe for her to eat.
Feeling anaphylaxis coming on, she jumped up to ask for a third time if the food she was served had nuts, and was told by another staff member the dip was made from cashews.
Ms Revelle explained in a post to Facebook that she had been dining at the restaurant with her partner on October 11 when it quickly turned into a race against the clock to get her to hospital.
“The waiter was very understanding and let us run out the door to deal with the situation. I luckily had my epipen on me as I was struggling to breathe and could physically feel my throat closing, and administered it on the way to the hospital,” she wrote.
The woman said she was given steroids and antihistamines to treat the initial severe anaphylactic reaction, but an hour later her symptoms flared up again.
“My entire body felt like an anthill had been emptied onto my body and lit on fire. This was a second reaction to the cashews still being in my system and it was then that my face, specifically my eye and nose area, swelled up until my eyes were slits in my face and a rash and hives broke out on my body,” she said.
“I was given a second dose of both epinephrine and steroids and was kept awake until the swelling subsided, and the doctors felt comfortable allowing me to try to get some sleep after the ordeal my body had had to endure that night.
She was discharged the following morning and on Sunday, October 20, decided she would go back to the restaurant to explain she was okay and to make them aware of the severity of the situation.
Ms Ravelle said she was disappointed to be dismissed with a “sorry” and a free drink after talking to both a waitress and the owner.
“I purely went in to talk to her about the dangers of misinformation and miscommunication in hospitality, especially when it applies to allergies and intolerances,” Ms Revelle said about her decision to confront the waitress.
Ms Revelle told Yahoo News Australia the experience left her feeling “belittled and offended”.
“They thought almost losing my life was equivalent to the value of a drink. I feel like no matter how hard I tried to convey the severity of the situation, both the waitress and owner were unreceptive and dismissive of the fact they had almost taken my life due to incompetence,” she said.
In dining out previously, Ms Revelle said staff and chefs had always been “accommodating and receptive”, and since her first severe reaction at age five, she had not had an experience as negative as this.
“I know eating out is always a risk as cross contamination is always a possibility, but most venues have been or are more than happy to accommodate my needs,” she said.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted the Byron Bay restaurant for comment on the matter.
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