We’re fighting a war out there… a war against anaphylaxis. If you have a severe allergy or care for someone who does, you’re on the front lines. So put on your helmet, be vigilant, and don’t forget your only weapon against the enemy: your epinephrine auto-injector.
Take 2 along everywhere… every time.
No doubt you’ve already broken a New Year’s resolution or two if you’re like us. (Though we do vow to get to the gym more often… eventually. No, really!)
Here’s our New Year’s resolution list for parents and caretakers of children with food allergies. These are much too important to break, and we hope you’ll join us in resolving to make 2015 a safe and happy year – with no mention of “child” and “anaphylaxis” in the same headline!
A study of 102 patients enrolled from adult and pediatric clinics showed that only 16% used their epinephrine auto-injectors correctly. Of the remaining 84%, more than half missed 3 or more steps for proper administration.
The most common errors included:
- Failure to hold the unit in place for at least 10 seconds after triggering
- Failure to place the needle end of the device on the thigh, and
- Failure to depress the device forcefully enough to activate the injection.
With the holidays upon us, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has issued the following call to action:
Children suffering food-induced anaphylaxis (FIA) were less than half as likely to need hospitalization if they received epinephrine prior to visiting the hospital emergency department. This was the finding of a study published in September in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
The study, conducted at Hasbro Children’s Hospital/Rhode Island Hospital, reviewed the charts of 384 emergency department visits for FIA during a six year period beginning January 1, 2004. Of these, 234 (61%) received treatment with epinephrine prior to the visit (the “early” receivers of epinephrine.)
Once again, world attention is focused on the story of a 15 year old boy from the UK who died of peanut cross-contact. Rather than focus solely on the incident itself, we’ll highlight common sense strategies to help avoid tragedies like this in the first place.
William Luckett had had his first food allergy reaction at four years old and was diagnosed with a nut allergy at age six. At that time he was given a prescription for epinephrine auto-injectors which he never needed to use. Over time, with the absence of reactions, the family stopped filling the prescriptions.
In December 2012, William was visiting his father on the Isle of Wight and was having ribs for dinner, takeout from a local Chinese restaurant. He began experiencing classic symptoms of anaphylaxis: difficulty breathing and swelling of the lips. Despite his father’s efforts, William lost consciousness and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital.
California’s stock epinephrine bill, SB 1266 introduced February 21, 2014 by Senator Bob Huff, would make the stocking of epinephrine mandatory for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools as well as the training of personnel to administer the drug in cases of suspected anaphylaxis.
As we approach Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 11-17), we at SnackSafely.com would like to remind you to always take 2 epinephrine auto-injectors along, whether you have the severe food allergy or your child does.
Once again, a child’s death caused by anaphylaxis is receiving attention in the media, this time in the UK. The loss is yet another in a long line of horrific, preventable tragedies, but there are lessons to be learned from the details of the child’s exposure and the subsequent attempts at first aid.
Connor Donaldson, a 12 year-old boy from Greater Manchester with severe asthma and a severe peanut allergy, died October 19, 2013 after ingesting a few bites of curry the family had taken out from a nearby restaurant.
His mother had discussed the allergy with a staff member of the restaurant over the phone prior to ordering. She was assured that their dishes would contain no peanuts.
The food allergy community was abuzz last week with the news that Mary Baxley, a paraprofessional at Holiday Hill Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, received a 10-day suspension for bringing peanut butter cookies to celebrate a student’s birthday in a peanut-free classroom. But what should parents of children with food allergies learn from the incident?
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