Talking Allergies

Severe Reaction - what it looks like
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Author:  kmoran [ Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Severe Reaction - what it looks like

I thought telling my horror story could help others. Lauren is 8 and allergic to peanuts, tree nut, pumpkin and sesame seeds, some fish, latex and is asthmatic. Other than that perfectly normal!

She and my husband went to the store to buy a chocolate bar. She has been trying new ones as more are peanut free. She picked up a Wunderbar and "read" the label, however she only read may contain - she didn't read the ingredients which state peanuts. My husband asked to see it but he couldn't read the print as it was black on purple. He asked if she had read it and said I;ll buy it but I want to read the label outside. By the time he got their she had taken a bite.
Nothing happened at first. He brought her home. (This was a mistake we should have given the epi-pen right away). We both stared at her and then called Telehealth. As I was doing so she got a stomachache so we gave the epipen and called 911. They got there within 5 minutes and took about 10 mins to assess her and get her in the ambulance. As we pulled in the hospital (5 mins) her breathing got "tight". They put iv's in and breathing mask on (probably 10 mins) and the breathing got worse. She then started to vomit and her face reddened and swelled by about 1/3. The breathing continued to deteriorate. This all took about 15 mins. They gave her 3 more epi's and just as they were considering intubating it subsided. After an hour she had a secondary reaction which was just hives all over.
The ER doctor said it was the worst she had seen.
We were very lucky. Scared all of us and Lauren is much more careful. It certainly brought home that when it starts there really isn't much time.
Ask any questions.

Author:  kdufour [ Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:01 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm so sorry you had to go through this... :( But thank you so much for sharing.

I agree that minutes counts when it comes to anaphylaxis... I've witnessed 2 reactions with my daughter, and thankfully only the Epi got her back on track, but parents have to know not to be afraid to use it! Better be safe than sorry!

Author:  Julie [ Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:01 pm ]
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kmoran, What an absolutely terrifying situation! Thank God your daughter is alright! Was this a recent event?? We've had to give our son the Epipen twice, and it was absolutely terrifying for us to see our son in that state... and you're SO right... it happens SO quickly. We found the single Epipen gave immediate relief, but thank you for sharing your story so we can all see the importance of having access to multiple Epipens.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you for sharing.

Is it me or is it getting hard to read the ingredients on the labels of some products?

If you suspect that the allergen has been consumed..give the Epi-Pen. Remember it will not hurt a healthy person but it just might save a life.

Glad she's OK.

Author:  KarenOASG [ Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

It helps a lot to hear other people's stories, especially when ones own child(ren) haven't had a reaction for a long time.

The last bad reaction we had was 5 years ago when my youngest was just 2 -- he's now 7.5 years old. Every once in awhile I find it a bit surreal to think of all the precautions we take, and a very tiny part of my brain wonders if it's necessary. (That doesn't last long - it's just a flicker of a thought.)

So to hear stories like yours gives me a little wake-up smack to say, "you are doing all this for a very good reason".

Thanks again. I hope that you are all doing okay (psychologically).


Author:  Andie [ Sat May 03, 2008 11:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

How terrifying ... I'm so sorry that Lauren & your family had this experience, and so glad you knew what to do and had the epi ready. We've not yet had a reaction beyond hives or reddened face and it scares me witless to think about dealing with this sometimes. I've heard from other parents that once they have given the epi once, they are not nearly as scared of using it again if need be. Once we renew our perscription for the epi I will at least try it in an orange or something so I have a bit more confidence. I do believe that if I had to give it, I could do it.

If you don't mind sharing - had you encountered reactions previously? what were they like? I'm assuming nothing like as serious as this one.



Author:  gwentheeditor [ Sun May 04, 2008 5:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

KM, glad to hear things are OK for your daughter.
That's scary, and not that usual, to hear it took so much effort/epinephrine to bring under control.

Hope you get a good followup with the allergist about why that might have been.

Andie, try not to fear the Pen. In an anaphylaxis emergency, it is a great relief to the person reacting, and well worth the minor pain of injection (even kids find this).

It helps to think of it the same way you plan for an emergency. E.g. in a fire, you'd take a breath, keep your head, and then take the action necessary. In this case: auto-injector, then 911. Keep it simple, focused, be calm as you can, and get the job done.

Author:  kmoran [ Tue May 06, 2008 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Answer to questions

to answer the questions....
- the reaction occurred Sept 2007
- psychologically it was really rough for the first month we all slowly recovered to "normal". We did find out Lauren was sharing snacks in the school yard and she and all her friends were reading the labels...probably badly. She was scared so didn't make such poor decisions soon after the reaction but likely now she has relaxed some. I think sometimes what happens is that she doesn't read the labels when she has had item before..too risky for me so we keep talking about it.
- we have had other reactions, none as severe
1) initial peanut - very large hives and vomiting (she was 3) we didn't have an epipen then
2) pumpkin seeds - hives, vomiting - we sat there watching to see if her breathing was compromised didn't give her the epi-pen then took her to ER. They said that if we wait til the breathing stops it is too late - seems obvious now but wasn't then.
3) trout - slight swelling around mouth but she described that she was feeling anaphylaxic - we didn't know she was allergic to fish then. Gave her the epi-pen, took her to the ER, no further reaction and subsequently she tested positive to trout (she can eat some other fish)

So this was the 4th reaction. It is easier once you have done it. I advise everyone looking after Lauren to give the epi-pen and phone 911 if you are even questioning if she is having a reaction. The epi-pen won't hurt her but she could die without it.


Author:  cdnmama [ Mon May 12, 2008 1:30 pm ]
Post subject: 


Thanks for sharing your story. It was scary to read, so I can't imagine how awful it was for you all.

I have shared the story with hubby and some other family members. We can never get too comfortable, and that's what I feel the need to remind people sometimes about ds.

thanks again.

Author:  mom of2boys [ Mon May 12, 2008 7:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

How terrifying! I really appreciate reading the story though. We just found out our 3 year old son is severely eallergic to peanuts and cashews because he saw an allergist for his grass and tree pollen allergies. The doctor did a skin test for 15 things and included peanuts and cashews. He really has never had much of either because he hates the smell of peanuts and tree nuts and will not willingly eat either even though his 5-year old brother has eaten both just about every day. It is completely surreal to us since he has never actually had a reaction so I appreciate the graphic details of what it could be like if we are not careful.

Me - sulfa based drugs, Lidocaine, cats, mildew
DH - no allergies
5 year old son - no allergies
3 year old son - peanuts, cashews (not tested for any other tree nuts yet), cats, grass, tree pollen, latex

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