Sadly..our questions answered...

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It seems that she made many BIG mistakes...

1...eating Asian Food

and the biggest

2...not carrying her epi-pen

[url="http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/charlotte/news/10735155.htm"]http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/charlotte/news/10735155.htm[/url]

Posted on Wed, Jan. 26, 2005

Restaurant warnings urged after teen's death

Postings sought for those with allergies

GAIL SMITH-ARRANTS AND KAREN GARLOCH

Staff Writers

CONCORD - Early Saturday afternoon, Gina Marie Hunt, 14, excitedly called her grandmother, who was shopping nearby in Concord Mills. She had found a $50 sweater on sale for $5.

Then the Concord eighth-grader went to the food court with a friend to get Chinese food.

About 20 minutes later, Gina collapsed. She died shortly afterward of a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, her mother said at the graveside service Tuesday afternoon.

Now her mother, local health officials and other area parents whose children are allergic to peanuts are calling on restaurants to post warnings if they use peanuts or peanut traces as ingredients.

Experts say peanut allergies are becoming more common. Among the most dangerous food allergens, peanuts can cause a violent reaction with a drop in blood pressure and closing of airways.

Gina and her family were extremely cautious about her allergy, said her mother, Sandra Price.

Price even asked Northwest Cabarrus Middle School officials to make sure that on field trips, Gina would ride in a bus with no peanut snacks or peanut-butter sandwiches aboard.

But this one time, said her grandmother Nina Realmuto, Gina was "caught up in the moment" and forgot to ask whether the food at Yeung's Lotus Express contained peanut products.

She also wasn't carrying her syringe of epinephrine, which can reduce the effects of severe allergic reactions, Price said.

Gina, realizing she was having an allergic attack, called Realmuto on her cell phone.

Gina, who also had asthma, used the inhaler she kept in her purse.

"She said, `I'm throwing up. We have to go home,' " Realmuto said.

But by the time she found her, Gina was on her stomach on the floor of the mall.

A nurse came by and performed CPR.

Cabarrus County paramedics gave Gina epinephrine shots and took her to NorthEast Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead about 2:30 p.m.

Price said she didn't get the name of the nurse who tried to help her daughter but would like to thank her.

"They just couldn't get her heart started," Realmuto said.

Restaurant warnings

Price said her family was vigilant about checking labels. But perhaps because she hadn't had any violent reactions in years, Gina didn't always carry her epinephrine pack."She's been reading boxes since she was a little girl," Price said of food ingredient labels. Gina also was allergic to eggs and dairy products, she said.

"Just the day before, when she was getting sorbet, she said, `I could die' " from peanuts, Realmuto said.

Price said she will push for restaurants to post warnings on whether they use peanuts or peanut products in their food.

Restaurants aren't required to post such warnings, said Fred Pilkington, executive director of the Cabarrus Health Alliance.

"It's an excellent idea because teenagers don't always ask questions like that, and they don't know they're getting a peanut ... product," he said.

In a check Tuesday, no fast-food stops in the mall's food court had signs warning about peanut ingredients.

Efforts to reach Bethesda, Md.-based HMS Host, which owns Yeung's Lotus Express, were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Peanut allergies growing

Peanut allergies got national attention in 1998 when the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered airlines to set aside peanut-free zones for allergic passengers.

When Gina was 2, Price said, she had a severe attack on an airplane that served peanuts.

The prevalence of peanut allergy in children doubled in five years, according to a study published in the December 2003 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Today, about 1.6 million Americans have peanut allergies, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, an advocacy group for the 7 million people in the United States with food allergies.

The group estimates about one in every 125 children has peanut allergy.

Among food allergies, peanut allergy is the most dangerous, said Dr. Richard Roberts at Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center in Charlotte.

Injections of epinephrine should be administered quickly, he said; otherwise, "most people die within minutes."

A recent study showed that teens with food allergy and asthma appear to be at highest risk, because they often dine out, are less likely to carry medications and may fail to recognize symptoms, according to FAAN.

Other area parents reacted strongly to the news of Gina's death and said they worry for their allergic children.

"I spent a good part of the morning crying for this family," said Nicola Carter of Charlotte, who has two children, ages 7 and 9, with peanut allergies. She said most people don't understand when parents ask for signs at restaurants or special accommodations at school.

"It's such an awful, awful tragedy to lose a child over something like this," she said.

-- STAFF WRITERS RONNIE GLASSBERG AND LENA WARMACK CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE.

-- GAIL SMITH-ARRANTS: (704) 786-2185; GSMITH-ARRANTS @CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM.

[This message has been edited by robinlp (edited January 26, 2005).]

On Jan 26, 2005

Oh, robinlp, it seems as though I really can't deal with this to-day. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Just how very sad and tragic. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jan 26, 2005

This is exactly what scares the he** out of me and my husband. Right now my daughter is 9. She's very, very good about making choices regarding her allergy and carrying her epi-pen. BUT - when girls become teens, they want to do what their friends do. They don't want to stand out in the crowd and will get caught up in the moment. We just have to make sure we keep talking to her about it. What else can we do?

This poor family. This is so upsetting.

On Jan 26, 2005

I wish that allergists would fully educate their patients as to the highly DECEIVING nature of the peanut allergy. One can go for many many years without a full blown reaction. This naturally can lead to a lowering of one's guard. It is such a relief to feel the luxury of freedom to eat anything anywhere, that it is very tempting to take chances. People should be warned about the fatal potential.

Also, allergists must have teenagers and their families fully in their radar screens as this is such a high risk group. There must be more professional guidelines for providing effective life saving education.

A PA individual can eat the same types of unlabelled or may contain foods over and over again, and find themselves in a state of false security because they have never had a serious reaction when part-taking. The reality is that it is never really the same exact food, nor is one's immune system in the same exact state from one meal to the next.

This is such a sad tragedy. May God be with her family.

On Jan 26, 2005

My heart breaks for this poor family [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

I do admire them though for having the presence of mind to do an informative and hopefully educational interview so soon after her death.

Perhaps we can use this article to get our local establishments to post signs? I can think of one ice cream shop that does in my town and that's it.

It's just so tragic, she shouldn't have died.

Meg

On Jan 26, 2005

I'm so very sad for them. I cried when I read this article.

I'm also so very scared for my DD and for all those with life threatening food allergies.

Very very tragic...

On Jan 26, 2005

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] very very sad, this is the exact reason that resteraunts should be posting such warnings. I do hope that her family will find peace and reasurrance that if this changes their loss would not have been for nothing [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] as hard as that must sound.

On Jan 26, 2005

I told my guy to-day. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Sometimes on the week-end when we're going out, he will occasionally (very rarely) forget to strap on that Epi-belt. It's because I have one in my purse.

I explained to him to-day, as I told him, that soon enough (he's 9), he won't be with me all the time and that's why it's so important for him to wear his Epi-belt ALL the time.

He asked me if it was one of our friends on PA.com [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

In some ways, I'm thankful 'cus it is my son and not my daughter - I could see her ripping things off, little Fashionista that she is and her character is just SO much different than my son's, I have always been thankful that out of the two of them that it was Jess that had the allergy (not that I'm thankful either of them do [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ).

But teenage boys can also rebel or even be forgetful (as it looks like was the case in this story) and that's what frightens me, especially now as he gets closer to that age.

I told my sister tonight, who I don't really speak with a lot, and certainly not re PA, and she immediately "got it" why it would be teenagers or nearly teenagers dying. How very very sad. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jan 26, 2005

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/005788.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/005788.html[/url]

On Jan 28, 2005

I worry about this from a drinking angle. I am not naiive enough to believe my children will never try a beer out... but that is enough to cloud my PA child's judgement for everything, including PA issues. Scary!!

On Jan 28, 2005

[quote]Originally posted by robinlp: [b]It seems that she made many BIG mistakes...

1...eating Asian Food

and the biggest

2...not carrying her epi-pen

[/b] [/quote/]

3 . . . not calling 911

So if you are ever wondering if your reaction/child's reaction is bad enough to warrant a 911 call, remember this story and call right away.

On Jan 28, 2005

[quote]Originally posted by robinlp: [B]

Gina also was allergic to eggs and dairy products, she said.

"Just the day before, when she was getting sorbet, she said, `I could die' " from peanuts, Realmuto said.

Just wondering how it was determined that her reaction was caused by peanut. Or more likely some combination thereof.

On Feb 8, 2005

This story continues to haunt me. My son is 6 and has had one severe ana reaction and many mild "contact reactions".

My son does not carry his own EPI, I do or whoever is caring for him does. He is well versed in asking adults to read labels and manages his allergy very well.

I decided after this story that it is important for him to start taking responsiblity for his epi now instead of down the road when he is more independent. So, I put the epi trainer in a epi fanny pack. He is incorporating it into his normal dressing routine. My hope is that it will become automatic for him to always wear it and he will become accustomed to it while playing etc.

On Feb 8, 2005

saknjmom.I hope you don't mind instead of quoting you I cut and pasted this.

I decided after this story that it is important for him to start taking responsiblity for his epi now instead of down the road when he is more independent. So, I put the epi trainer in a epi fanny pack. He is incorporating it into his normal dressing routine. My hope is that it will become automatic for him to always wear it and he will become accustomed to it while playing etc. I have been thanking of this for a few weeks now I like the idea of the trainer first(I am going to start now)Everytime we leave the house she says my sack,or my medicinesp?} It makes me feel good to know others have thought of this too!Thanks

------------------ Love this site Synthia

On Feb 8, 2005

My son has been wearing his since he was 4 years old full time and we have never had a problem with it at all.

HTH, Valerie

On Feb 8, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by robinlp: [b]Now her mother, local health officials and other area parents whose children are allergic to peanuts are calling on restaurants to post warnings if they use peanuts or peanut traces as ingredients.[/b]

I don't know how much a sign would have helped. Would children/teenagers actually look for the sign and read it?

I think that you must [b]ASK[/b] questions. That is thew only way to know. And if you are not comfortable with the answers, don't eat there.

This applies to both Asian restaurants and non-Asian restaurants.

p.s. a peanut warning also will not help if the child has other allergies (ie: shellfish, walnuts, sesame, etc)

[This message has been edited by erik (edited February 08, 2005).]

On Feb 8, 2005

We all live in fear of this. I pray for this family! Paula

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