When I was about 11 or 12, my mother knew I had a lot of allergies; I was sneezing all the time, and my immune system was so bad I missed tons of school. Fortunately, I was able to catch up very quickly, so I didn't really fall behind in school.
She took me to the local clinic for allergy testing, which consisted of a nurse putting substances just beneath the skin of my back. I had 88 numbered shots in my back one day, then had to go back the next day for them to evaluate the reactions. After a few days, the nurse said, "Well, you'll never drink beer! You're allergic to everything in beer except the water!" I asked her how she knew that, and she said that there were red, swollen lumps where the "beer" ingredients had been tested: barley, hops, malt--and those lumps were still an angry red even when it was time to get the next series of test shots. So I just never drank beer, knowing how allergic I was to it.
When I was in my first teaching job, Mrs Media and I went to another teacher's home for dinner. She served us bratwurst, and it was the first time I had ever had bratwurst. It was delicious! I raved about it and said several times, "Penny, you're going to have to give me the recipe for this!" She laughed and said it was so simple there wasn't even a recipe to give me. Later in the evening, we were playing some kind of board game, and I was kind of scratching at my beard on the right side of my face, then the left, then both sides. It was really getting "itchy." I again asked her to share the recipe, and she said, "Geez. It's just bratwurst, cooked in a cup of beer."
I said, "Really? I'm allergic to beer." She said, "What happens when you drink beer?" and I said, "I have no idea. I've never tried it because I know how allergic to it. I guess we'll find out."
It took another ten minutes or so, but eventually, i started wheezing as I talked, and my face got fiery red, and my throat began to swell and close off. We got to the point where we determined if it got any worse at all, I would go down the street from her to the hospital. Fortunately, that was the worst of it, and I started to get better. Disaster averted.