Teen Suffers severe allergic reaction-Taken off life support
The death of a 13-year-old Edmonton girl from a severe allergic reaction two days after Christmas is a tragic reminder of how quickly allergies can kill, says an injury prevention advocate.
An allergic reaction is "a true medical emergency. Seconds count," said Dr. Louis Francescutti, an emergency room doctor in Edmonton.
"Sometimes there's not much anyone can do, unless they get to medical care right away. So don't drive them to the hospital yourself. It's a true 911 call."
Chantelle Yambao, a student at Father Michael Troy Junior High School, had lived with a peanut allergy virtually since birth, her aunt Julieta Yambao told the Sun yesterday.
On Dec. 23, the teen ate a sweet treat that triggered a severe allergic reaction. Four days later, Chantelle's heartbroken family made the decision to remove her from life- support in hospital, said Julieta.
"The doctors said her brain was not working any more and her heart was not working any- more."
Chantelle's parents, her extended family and her many friends are utterly devastated by the loss of the pretty teen, said Julieta.
"They are crying and crying because they lost their only daughter. She was their angel."
A spokesman for Edmonton Catholic Schools couldn't say yesterday whether any memorial service is planned for Chantelle after students return to school from Christmas holidays next week.
Francescutti wasn't familiar with Chantelle's case. But he called for greater public awareness about the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions.
"It usually feels like an instant cold coming on," he said. Victims' noses start to run, their airways start to close up and their faces may start to balloon. They may also experience a shortness of breath.
"It's something that's got to be taken very seriously because people can actually die from this. If people know they have these allergies they should wear a MedicAlert bracelet and keep several EpiPens around," said Francescutti.
EpiPens deliver an instant shot of adrenaline to combat the anaphylactic shock that results when severe allergies are triggered.
Allergies have varying degrees of severity, but peanut allergies are usually the worst, said Francescutti.
"I'm very saddened that a girl has had to lose her life like this."
Chantelle's parents were too distraught to speak with the Sun yesterday.
According to the non-profit group Anaphylaxis Canada, about 2% of Canadians are living with a potentially life-threatening allergy.
The group claims the incidence of severe allergies has increased dramatically in the last decade.