Talking Allergies

Reaction at school today
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Author:  Julie [ Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Reaction at school today

My son had a reaction at school today... covered in hives and an itchy, scratchy throat, and my son (now age 12, grade 7) self-administered his Allerject. The principal, vice-principal and 2 teachers were with him the whole time. 911 was called. I was nearby the school and got there before the ambulance. I rode in the ambulance with my son.

We are completely in the dark about what he may have reacted to, but I suspect he did not have clean hands when he was eating. Today was the last day before Christmas break, and our son told us he did not eat anything other than his lunch... I believe him because he is very careful with not eating food we have not provided. But, you never know. I know there were candy canes, but he said he didn't eat one.

So, this now marks 5 administered Epipen/Allerjects in his life, with many other reactions and emergency treatments. It's a pretty stressful way to enter into the holidays, but we are very proud of our son self-administering the Allerject, especially considering he was absolutely terrified of it the last time he received it. Definitely growing up. The principal was in touch with me via email to see how our son is, and wants to meet on January 5 at 9 am (first day back) to assess and learn. This school is very supportive (however, they do include food events which I object to).

On another note, my daughter's high school sounds like it will be a much bigger challenge for handling food allergies. The cafeteria sounds like it will not be the best place for him to eat lunch.... but I'm getting way ahead of myself. Will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Our son is in great spirits and very pleased that he took care of himself today. It was a big step.

Author:  soccermom [ Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

You'll have to tell your son he is braver than many adults. I know some who have had more severe reactions and were too scared to use an epipen, only to be told later by the doctor that they should have. Tell him we think very highly of him. And wishing you a very Merry, Safe Christmas!


Author:  _Susan_ [ Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

I am so happy that he was able to recognize and respond appropriately at the time! :huggy

HE DID GREAT!!! :banana :happydance :banana

The weeks following such an event can be difficult. Be kind to yourself and allow/help him to process this.

If he has much trouble assimilating this experience and moving on, talk to the school about connecting him with a counselor who specializes in food allergies. (Your allergist or local support group might be a resource for finding a psychologist with experience in this field)

I have found a few webpages on PTSD and anxiety:
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Children

Podcasts and videos on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) ... order-ptsd

Living With Anxiety: Children and Teens

Generalized anxiety disorder - self-care ... 000685.htm

Resiliency Skills Training

I wouldn't be surprised if his hands became contaminated with his allergen due from residue left on a desk from cupcakes etc.

Author:  spacecanada [ Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

Wow, so sorry that happened, but so happy that your son knew what to do and wasn't afraid to do it! That's HUGE. Congratulations to him and be sure to let him know this over and over again. We are all very happy that he is now safe and healthy. Give him some time to rest at home and do some comforting activities for the next few days.

I'll echo Susan and say that it was probably residue from who knows what on a desk, door, table, etc. Schools are mine field, and even in 'allergy-aware' schools I get contact hives occasionally from a door handle or counter top.

The links Susan posted are great resources too, should your son need them. Mostly, just make sure he knows he can talk to you, and encourage him to do so when he's ready - if only to understand what happened and how he felt then and now. I've been through anaphylaxis-related PTSD (still managing it), and it's definitely better to seek help earlier than later if anxieties/fears/nightmares/avoidances develop.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

spacecanada :huggy

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

Julie, So sorry to hear. But agree with the others, the really good news is how well your son did with self-administering.

:huggy to you both! And here's to an uneventful rest of the holiday season.

Author:  Julie [ Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

It means so much to me to have everyone's support and great suggestions! Thank you so much. I also realised, and have now edited my initial post, to indicate that my son also had an itchy, scratchy throat (in addition to the his body being covered in hives). There is no way we want to fool around with guessing where the reaction might head, or how significant it might become. As many of us know, SECONDS COUNT! So, we don't try to guess, and we communicate this to our son... we don't want to take any chances, and we want him to take a few hours out of his life to take care of his life today (epinephrine, ambulance, hospital) so that he can enjoy tomorrow, and tomorrow after that!

My son is feeling 100% fine... he did have 2 days of lingering hives, but I could see they were disappearing. Psychologically, he is perfectly fine and back to normal... absolutely does not seem to be suffering whatsoever... thank goodness. He seems to bounce back immediately, so I am so grateful for that. Me, on the other hand, I think I will be needing all those websites so that I can recover. I don't impose my anxiety on him at all because his nature is pretty easy-going, although, he ALWAYS wears his Allerjects and seems very responsible about this part of his life... except that he doesn't wash his hands properly at school! Acckkk! Trying to teach a nearly teenage boy how to take care of himself in this way is another thing altogether! He doesn't even look in the mirror to see if he combed his hair before school... so handwashing?? Hopefully this incident was a "wake up call" (his words...

Thanks again. I wish you all a safe holiday season!

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

I send a few wipes in a zip lock baggie. I put this right in dd's lunch bag.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

Good point re teenage boys and hygiene.

I know one who shall remain nameless who was famous for "washing hair" - and emerge from shower with dry hair. We'd say "back you go," but it sure does add to the challenge with food allergies.

Author:  spacecanada [ Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

Julie wrote:
Psychologically, he is perfectly fine and back to normal... absolutely does not seem to be suffering whatsoever... thank goodness. He seems to bounce back immediately, so I am so grateful for that.

Just an FYI - PTSD can have a delayed onset, so be sure to monitor your son over the next few weeks and question any changes you may see. (Mine started two or three weeks later, but it can start immediately or at any time.)

Author:  Alison's Mom [ Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

I'm sorry to hear about the reaction, and it's worrisome not to know what he reacted to. BUT, like others have said, kudos to him for doing the right thing and self administering! I can only hope my kids would be as brave and level-headed if they are in the same situation in the future.

Author:  Becky [ Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reaction at school today

The wipes are a great idea Susan.

I'm sorry your son had a reaction, but so proud that he handled it so well!! One of my kid had an unknown reaction at school, in many ways they are more stressful than when you have a direct cause and effect.

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