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?
Chantel Giacalone, a 27 year old actress and model with a severe peanut allergy from West Bloomfield, MI, was visiting a friend in Las Vegas a year ago. On February 20, 2013, she unknowingly bit into a pretzel that contained peanut butter and suffered full-blown anaphylaxis.
“She went into cardiac arrest twice – four and a half minutes both times,” said Maria Lamia, Chantel’s aunt.
Chantel was placed on life support in a hospital in Las Vegas. Thousands of dollars were raised to have her airlifted to a hospital in Michigan, where she was finally released in November.
The results of a 3 year study of the effectiveness of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) for desensitization of peanut allergy in children was published today in the medical journal The Lancet.
The study, co-sponsored by the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, followed 85 children aged 7-16 with confirmed peanut allergy from January 2010 through March 2013.
In yet another horrific tragedy that could have been avoided, 14 year old Emma Sloan died on the streets of Dublin Wednesday after ingesting a sauce containing peanuts at a restaurant.
Emma, who had a known peanut allergy, was having dinner with her family at Jimmy Chung’s Chinese buffet in Dublin’s Eden Quay. Emma’s mother Caroline explains what happened in this quote from the Irish Independent:
“Emma has always been very careful and would check the ingredients of every chocolate bar and other foods to be sure they didn’t contain nuts. She had a satay sauce. She thought it was curry sauce because it looked like curry sauce and smelt like curry.
“I’m not blaming the restaurant because there was a sign saying ‘nuts contained’, but it wasn’t noticed. After a while, Emma began to say, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’.”
An excellent piece entitled: “What Should Airlines Do About Children With Peanut Allergies?” appeared in the New York Times “Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting” blog section yesterday.
The article by Abby Ellin makes the case for better accommodation of people with food allergies by the airlines. She details the experiences of two families, the Silvermans and Mandelbaums, both of which experienced humiliation at the hands of airline personnel. Our readers may find these anecdotes all too familiar.
According to US News and World Report, a study presented this week at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) described the case of a boy who was cured of his peanut allergy after a bone marrow transplant.
A pilot study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Allergy and Immunology and Harvard Medical School shows promise that treatment combining the asthma drug Xolair® with oral desensitization therapy facilitates rapid desensitization in children with severe peanut allergies.
The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), followed 8 boys and 5 girls aged 8-16 years with histories of significant allergic reactions to peanuts.
A trial conducted by the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and funded by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development has begun testing the usability and efficacy of a new web-based video game targeted at children with food allergies.
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