Category Archives: food allergy reactions

Food Allergy Reaction

This topic is always my biggest concern.  Obviously, I am always thinking about how to help Little R live a normal life while avoiding a potential food allergy reaction, especially a life threatening one.  He has had a few sporadic reactions over the years since his first one that almost took his life.  None of them required an Epi-Pen, but my biggest concern with this is that it can cause us to become complacent.

A lot of people are under the impression that all food allergy reactions will be like the first one.  They think that all symptoms will be the same, or that because the first reaction was not life threatening, that a life threatening one is unlikely. 

I cannot say it any clearer that THIS IS NOT TRUE!  I don’t know how many people I have talked to that have food allergy children, or care for one, and they inevitably make the comment that “They just get red around the mouth.  They have never had a life threatening reaction.”  Or, “Their reactions are NEVER anaphylactic.”  I believe that this is what makes death due to a food allergy reaction HIGH RISK!  I have read, and heard it said at FAAST food allergy meetings, that the number one cause of death from a food allergy reaction is FAILURE TO USE THE EPI-PEN IN TIME!  If you care for a food allergy child, you must first believe that any reaction could be potentially turn life threatening and be prepared to use the Epi-Pen! 

Ask any family who has lost a child due to a food allergy reaction.  I would bet that none of these families were the ones who were what most people would call “overprotective” when it came to their child’s food allergy.  I do not mean any disrespect to these parents.  I know how easy it is to live in denial or ignorance about food allergies.  Doctors just do not do a good enough job educating about them.  But, I just know too many other parents and care givers who live in this fog, and I wish for them to wake up, so to speak.

Read the story of  BJ Horn, or Emily Vonder Meulen.  Both of these children were loved by their parents, but ended up dying from food allergy reactions (namely peanut allergy) because the volatility of their allergy was not understood completely.  Click on their names to read their stories, and pay attention to the part where their parents basically say, “We didn’t know/believe that their allergy would be truly life threatening.”

Nobody wants to believe that they could lose their child, especially because of  food.  But, if your child has a food allergy, you MUST start taking this seriously!  If your child has a peanut allergy, you especially need to be on alert as peanut allergies appear to be the MOST volatile.

*BJ Horn link is from Allergy Moms blog.  Gina does a great job educating about food allergies.  I recommend reading her website and blog.

*Emily Vonder Meulen link is from Food Allergy Angel website.  Paul has developed this website to help share Emily’s story in an effort to educate others about food allergies.

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Filed under advocating, always be prepared, Anaphylaxis, food allergy reactions, food allergy support

Hives, OH MY!!!

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Just a few days ago, my little C broke out in hives!  We have always treated him as if he has the same food allergies as little R because we have never been 100% sure that he doesn’t.  He did have a breakout of eczema from head to toe about three years ago after eating eggs (after his allergy test was negative…)

Friday morning, after breakfast, little C started getting these random hives on his body.  There were only about three of them to start, but they were rather large- about the size of a silver dollar!  I gave him Benadryl, and they disappeared pretty much right away.  It was later in the day, when they started reappearing and would NOT disappear with Benadryl that I got worried!

I called the pediatrician, and they eventually told me to bring him in.  The doctor who saw him was stunned at the size of the hives.  He said that he had never seen hives that large before in person!  He checked his breathing and felt confident that we didn’t have to worry about anaphylaxis.  Though, part of the reaction did include very red, itchy eyes, and a nose that was like a drippy faucet!

I took him home, and proceeded to get him ready for bed.  However, as I was taking his clothes off to put on pajamas, I about fell over at the sight of his hives!  They were enourmous!  One of them stretched form the middle of his waist down to his knee!  I am not kidding!!!  In fact, I will post a picture for  you to see.

I took some time to think about what could have been the cause of all this havoc.  Luckily, the hives started within the first h0ur of the morning, so I didn’t not have a whole day to sift through.  The only conclusion I could come up with was the yogurt little C ate for breakfast.  He has had yogurt plenty of times, but this was a new kind.  I won’t mention the brand name, but it did have some ingredients in the list that I don’t believe he has had before.  They included chickory root, and carmine.  I did some research on both, and was shocked to find a ton of information on the carmine!

Carmine is used for red food coloring.  It comes from dried, ground up beetles.  Yes, I said beetles!  Apparently, it is very commonly found in yogurts, ice cream, popsicles, and even candy.  There have been a large number of allergy reactions to carmine reported, so the FDA has passed a law that by 2011, carmine has to be listed on all ingredient labels. 

If you don’t believe me, you can read about it on the FDA website.

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Filed under food allergy reactions, food labeling, hives