15 uses of Epi Pen?

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I met a woman recently with a DD in college. This college girl has a serious tree nut allergy. She has had to have an EpiPen injection 15 times since age 12 -- over 8 years.

Is this just par for the course, or excessive? I mean, is she not being careful enough with food restriction to have that many adverse reactions, or is this a common experience?

On Feb 4, 2006

I would say it depends on the types of reactions she has. If she is airborne or contact allergic, it seems impossible to eliminate the allergens completely from her environment.

On Feb 4, 2006

This girls parents must be beside themselves!!! Waaaaaay too often to tempt fate, IMO. (given what we've seen, I'd need to be in a rubber room at that point)

Maybe she uses it for any symptoms at all? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img] This is the only thing that makes sense, really...

If she's using it because of full-blown, OMFG anaphylaxis, then I'd say she's not being nearly careful enough. Epinephrine isn't a get-out-of-death-free card, and I think anyone who carries one ought to think about that very carefully indeed.

(This is coming from someone with a DD who is ingestion,contact, aerosol sensitive to PN and eggs.) Our objective is to NEVER have another anaphylaxis event, because the outcome isn't assured. ever.

On Feb 5, 2006

The mom said these are anaphalytic reactions. I think she is contact allergic -- to tree nuts, just like my DS. He has had pretty severe reactions (hives, facial swelling) but no Epi-Pen use yet at 5.5yo.

It just seemed like something must not be right to have that many reactions...there has to be a safer way to manage the allergies...but who am I to say?! I am not even close to college age, and I know serious reactions often happen in the teenage/college years.

This was one of my first experiences with hearing (in real life) how bad it can get. Yikes! [Most of the time I'm dealing with the snooty moms that just don't get it!]

On Feb 5, 2006

Yes, that was my question, actually... is she using an epipen for grade 1 or 2 anaphylaxis on the advice of her allergist, or is she REALLY experiencing grade 3,4,or 5 anaphylaxis so often? Has she been intubated or given an IV to push fluid volume? I just have to guess not, or she would have missed so much school by now she wouldn't still be in college... KWIM?

Perhaps she and her family have never been told that epinephrine doesn't offer any guarantees... I don't know.

Is this someone you know well? I mean, I have heard people tell me stories about "how allergic" someone is, only to find out later they were exaggerating or even just outright manufacturing details... not saying that is necessarily the case here, but it is possible in my experience.

I'm just saying that my daughter at SIX years old will pretty much do anything possible to avoid anaphylaxis EVER again. She knew she was dying, and she was just 2. It isn't something you forget, and it pretty much outweighs everything else. (shrug) I could be wrong about teenaged thinking, I realize, but near death experiences have a way of snapping you out of that.

On Feb 5, 2006

I think this girl either isn't taking good enough care to avoid her allergens *or* she could be having psychologically induced symptoms. I'm 23 and I haven't had to use my epi once, I'm only PA and not touch/airborne sensitive, but 15 times?! Like the person above me (sorry, forgot who), once you've had a near death experience, why risk it? I know I psychologically will induce an asthma attack sometimes (I start to focus on my breathing and I get so consumed in it I start wheezing)...maybe she touches something, thinks there may have been PB on it, freaks out and sends herself into anaphlyaxis? Wasn't there a study posted here somewhere on a woman who was only psychologically allergic to something?

If it's not psychological though, then I really think she needs to start rethinking how seriously she takes her allergy.

On Feb 5, 2006

I would worry as well that this woman is not being cautious enough if her reactions are from eating things which contain/are contaminated with nuts, but if she is having airborne/contact reactions then it is difficult to judge.

Corvallis' mom wrote: "Epinephrine isn't a get-out-of-death-free card." This is great! I think I might adopt this phrase!

On Feb 5, 2006

At my first allergy conference (actually my only) a college student spoke. She had NUMEROUS anaphylactic reactions, maybe 9-12 all in the presence of her parents.

We were kind of new to the allergy field then but I really wanted to ask her what the heck and where was she eating. I believe her allergy was PA.

I did not want to be judgemental so I kept my mouth shut but I used that as an example to my son who also wondered "what does that girl eat?."

We were out at a concert once with another doctor and his PA wife. They handed us salad and she dug right in. The dressing was peanut colored and she ate it all. No questions asked. Her epi pen was in the car.

I could barely eat. I think I made her INSANE so I just stopped thinking about her PA. She got to be an adult, I imagine she had some safety precautions in place but I never saw any of them.

People just have different comfort zones. Ours is very strict but our son is 21 and off on his own and thriving. He manages his PA well.

If he had to use his epi pen 15 times for his PA, not any other anaphylactic allergies, I'd give him what for. 21 or not.

Peg

On Feb 5, 2006

This is not someone I know well. It's a family/child psychologist that I just met. On the one hand, I was relieved that she could relate to the food allergy issues -- and especially the social issues, as I've had problems at both my DS' preschools.

On the other hand, I was shocked about the 15 reactions and it just struck me that something is not right there. Maybe she is giving it too often -- when Benadryl would do the trick. Or maybe she is way too lax in checking foods. I'll let you know if she says anything further on the topic.

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