The following post was written by Terri, a very good friend of mine here in the NW. Recently, her little guy Gavin had a scary allergic reaction. My heart aches a little as I read her experience. I am so glad that G is okay! The insight that Terri provides is so honest and her tips could be quite possibly life-saving.
- Was he wheezing? Kind of... definitely breathing heavy.
- Was he swelling? Yes.
- How far away is the ER? less than 10 minutes.
- Okay, take him there now.
- ALWAYS CALL 911 if you think there is an allergic reaction. We were told time and time again that we should have just called 911. It could mean life or death for your child. Even if you already have an epi pen, use it, then ALWAYS call 911 if there is a reaction.
- Kids can have a food allergy even if no one in your family has one. If you have OTHER allergies (hayfever, eczema) that can make a child more prone.
- Keep Childrens' Benedryl on hand even if you never use it. The doctors think that us giving it to him right away could have saved him from going into Anaphylactic Shock. (Always check with your pediatrician before you give any meds).
- Potential signs of an allergic reaction: Hives, Itchy or Runny Nose, Swelling (lips, eyes, face is serious), Coughing (meaning they are having trouble breathing), Red Eyes -- typically a child won't be able to go to sleep with all this going on, according to the ER doc which is also a sign.
- Allergies to peanuts (and other items) can vary in sensitivity (meaning amount of exposure needed to cause a reaction) and severity (what happens when a reaction occurs). Anaphylactic reactions mean that it starts to affect their breathing, Anaphylactic Shock means it also affects their circulatory/nervous system and is even more serious.
- Over 1% of US kids have allergies to Peanuts. There are many theories as to why, which range from an increased amount of peanut products in our diets (US eats over 8 billion lbs of peanuts a year!), to how they are prepared here in the US, to us not exposing our kids to enough bacteria to build up their defenses.
- Peanuts hide in all kinds of food. Specifically many types of Chinese foods, cookies, ice creams, candy (including plain M&M's), sauces, and more. READ LABELS. It becomes a habit. Remember if you have a peanut allergic child over - and you make PB&J for your kids, and dip a knife in peanut butter before the jelly - don't give them jelly from that same jar!
- Always consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about any allergy or allergic reaction. Allergies to any foods can be very serious.
- Be sensitive to others that have an allergic child. Understand that it can be extremely serious, and what should be done if a child you know has an allergic reaction when you are with them (using an epi pen is EASY!). Mom's with allergic kids will be so appreciative of your sensitivity, understanding, and knowledge, and feel more comfortable letting their kids come to play. All these kids want is to fit in, feel happy, and be safe!
Printable Allergic Reaction Instructions ... from KidsHealth.org
Disclaimer: Clearly the Accidents Happen series is meant to be informative but also from a mother's point-of-view. The information provided in these posts are medically accurate - to the best of our knowledge - but we are not licensed physicians. We are mothers sharing an experience.
You may also want to read my other Accidents Happen posts: