Woman, 22, almost dies after ice cream on holiday left her struggling to breathe

Annika Larson was on vacation with her mother in Rome, Italy when she found it difficult to breathe. She was taken to the hospital where the doctors fought to save her life

Annika Larson was on vacation in Rome (

Image: @annikacooksfood / CATERS NEWS)

A tourist nearly died after eating ice cream while on vacation after suffering a severe allergic reaction.

Annika Larson was on vacation in Rome, Italy on September 28 when she suffered anaphylactic shock after eating ice cream in a coffee shop during a late afternoon group tour.

The 22-year-old has a severe nut allergy and claims she was told that the ice cream – in the flavors chocolate and lemon with turmeric – was made from raw materials and was nut-free.

After Annika had difficulty breathing and suffered from swelling in her face, Annika used her EpiPen and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

She says the doctors fought tirelessly to save her life and is grateful that they did it.

Annika from Texas, USA, said: “I am allergic to all nuts and after doing research I believe the ice cream contains cashew nuts and almond paste.

She was out with her mother


@annikacooksfood / CATERS-NEWS)

She was aware of her nut allergy


@annikacooksfood / CATERS-NEWS)

“Back then, I was told it was raw ice cream, which means it was made from fruit, chocolate, and water with no additional ingredients.

“I asked if the ice cream contained nuts and the staff told me it didn’t.

“Just a few minutes after I had eaten it, I felt my tongue and throat start tingling and over time my eyes started swelling along with my lips and I had to use my EpiPen.

“The ambulance took me to the hospital and I was classified as code red which was the highest level of urgency.

“When I got to the hospital, I passed out and woke up thinking that I was going to die.

“If I hadn’t had my EpiPen I would have died and I think food companies need to label their food more clearly.”

Annika arrived in Rome last Monday after traveling around Europe with her mother for some time.

While touring the popular town, Annika said the group stopped at Grezzo Raw Chocolate to try some of the local ice cream.

She was on a popular tour with her mother


@annikacooksfood / CATERS-NEWS)

She had traveled across Europe


@annikacooksfood / CATERS-NEWS)

Annika said: “I ate the ice cream around 4:48 pm and had the first reaction 10 minutes later.

“I was told the ice cream was vegan, which should be a warning sign for me, as vegan products are often made with nuts.

“I went straight to a pharmacy and took an antihistamine, but it kept getting worse.

“We got in a taxi back to Airbnb, where I called my doctor and he said I had to use my EpiPen – I was scared of it because I knew it would take me to a hospital.

“We went back to the pharmacy and they did it for me and called an ambulance.

“The EpiPen helped me breathe better, but the response was still ongoing.

“I was in the hospital from 6:30 pm to midnight when I was discharged.”

Annika wants to fight for more regulations around food labels and transparency in ingredients.

She added, “This could have killed me if I hadn’t acted quickly.

“It would be helpful for allergy sufferers if food companies would label their food.

“Natasha’s law should apply worldwide – I’ve been to many places where I’ve told them I have an allergy and they don’t know what’s in their own food.

“It scares me and I know it will happen again.

“I’m usually good at keeping track of things, but when something is wrongly labeled, there’s not much I can do.”

The Mirror approached Grezzo Raw Chocolate for a comment.

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