Scary Reaction

Posted on: Mon, 08/16/1999 - 12:38am
PattyR's picture
Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

My son is 7 and is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, & strawberries. A few months ago, he ate a cookie that I believe was mislabeled. He took one small bite and put it down. I knew right away that there was a problem. He went straight to the couch to lie down, put his hands to his throat. I gave him some benadryl, (should have used the epipen). I waited a few minutes to see if the reaction would stop. It didn't and we were off to the ER. I think the Dr. there made a bad decision by not using the Epinephrine right away either. The reaction progressed. His face was very flushed, he was irritable, and finally he started to have trouble breathing. They had tried steroids but it didn't work. They were going do give epinephrine via a breathing treatment when another Dr. was called in to evaluate. He immediately administered epinephrine right into the vein. He improved immediately. Since that time, I am scared to death for him. I won't let anybody else make a decision about food for him. I am so afraid of what will happen if this occurs again. I know that I will administer the Epipen right away. I realize now how uneducated I was. I don't think the Drs. do a good job of educating us. We are on our own. Sometimes, I think I know more about this allergy than they do! This was not the first reaction. He first reacted at the age of 12 months (the very first time he tried peanutbutter). He was already allergic to dairy at that time. He has since outgrown the dairy allergy! I am glad to find this web site. It helps to have other parents who have been there.

Posted on: Mon, 08/16/1999 - 12:18pm
tim's picture
Joined: 08/16/1999 - 09:00

pI've had really bad experiences with doctors at hospitals(California). They have wanted to 'observe my reation' for 45mins while I requested a shot. Too many doctors in California are on a power trip./p
pThe best thing to do is be prepared and arm your self with the epi-pens!/p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 8:21am
Lorri's picture
Joined: 07/02/1999 - 09:00

pHi Pattibr /
I can imagine how frightened you must have been...I also have had a scary experience with my 8 year old daughter. We live in Costa Rica, and the 911 service is not so reliable, and when my daughter reacted to an improperly labled icecream, we started on our journey to the hospital, (25 min. away) We gave her benadryl right away, and waited untill we were about half way there to give her the needle. Her lips were very swollen and she was very mellow, and said her chest felt like a cramp...We waited much too long, but it was our first time we had to administer the epipen, and we were afraid. I think in the future we will give benadryl first, wait a couple minutes just to make sure it's a peanut reaction, and that its not just a less severe reaction to something else, but only a couple minutes wait this time.... then give the epipen. It's such a scary thing , and i'm sure you have been hearing from everyone including doctors on what to do next time. So have I, I don't know for sure what i'll do if theres a next time but I do know i'll give the epipen much, much sooner. Stay safe and hope there isn't a next time!/p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 10:45am
rebgaby's picture
Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

pNever hesitate to give the epi-pen - I have found this out the HARD way. This is why you need to have several epi pens so you aren't so worried about "wasting" one. /p
pI once ate a bite of some stuffed grape leaves at a restaurant. I immediately knew I was in trouble. I went to the lobby and called 911, then went in the bathroom to inject epi. A rude female police officer walked in right as I was injecting it and started accusing me of doing drugs. She was responding to the 911 call! I explained and she made me go outside to wait for the ambulance. Over the next ONE HOUR the police and fire fighters (who had shown up but couldn't do anything) forced me to wait outside the restaurant for the ambulance (it took over an hour). I used three epi pens during that time. They would not let me leave in my own car to drive to the hospital, which was 10 minutes away. /p
pWhen the ambulance arrived they would not leave before they started an IV. They couldn't start the IV because a) they were incompetent and b) I had a lot of epi in my system which shrinks your veins. After 20 minutes I convinced them to call and get instructions from the hospital. The hospital told them to give me an epi shot and a benedryl shot and bring me in. They didn't know the way to the hospital and it took them 30 mins to get there at 5 miles an hour. This was a terrible reaction and I had to have some serious steroids later to get rid of it./p
pThe moral of this tale is a) have plenty of epi pens and don't be afraid to use them, b) calling 911 isn't always best - if the hospital is close, just drive there! The epi pens give you about 10 minutes each./p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 2:19pm
Noreen's picture
Joined: 01/24/1999 - 09:00

pRebgaby, that's got to be the worst ambulance story I've ever heard. It's a wonder we survive the incompetence of our medical system at times, isn't it? /p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 10:32pm
Coco's picture
Joined: 03/14/1999 - 09:00

pI am so sorry to hear of your frightening experience./p
pI hope that you are aware that there is no law requiring any American food company to state "may contain traces of peanut" on their pkg. Since your son's reaction was so severe it might be a good idea to telephone food companies and ask about chance of peanut contamination before using their products./p
pPlease do not be shy to use your epi-pens! /p
pAlthough giving an epi-pen is anxiety provoking for many people in a time of high stress, it is the single most useful thing that you could do to help your child./p
pIn all of the case histories I have reviewed of deaths due to anaphylaxis, epinephrine was not administered right away. In each of these cases it is thought that immediate use of an epi-pen would have saved these lives./p
pTo use an analogy I once heard from a medical anaphylactic reaction can be thought of as Niagara Falls. As the water is approaching (initial symptoms) it can be easily dammed and halted (administer epi-pen to halt/reverse reaction). As water progresses to the edge of and over the falls, (reaction increasing and encompassing more systems of the body) it is very difficult to stop/reverse the flow if not impossible (at this stage death often occurs)./p
pAdministration of an epi-pen when not needed will not be cause any harm to your child. Procrastination might cost you your child's life./p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 10:38pm
PattyR's picture
Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

pThank you all for your responses. I wish the Drs. would be so frank. They make me so mad! When I first discovered the allergy, the only thing the pediatrician said to me is "You know what he is allergic to, just keep him away from it". He did not even prescribe an epipen. It took me a year before he would give me a referral to an allergist. I told him I would not leave the office without one! They took me seriously and wouldn't let me out the door without an epipen. I was really in the dark, but no more!/p

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/1999 - 11:05pm
James's picture
Joined: 08/11/1999 - 09:00

pHi Patty, Tim, and Rebgaby/p
pI can sympathise with you all - thanks for sharing your experiences. Hope that your treatment improves in leaps and bounds from now on!/p
pI too experienced the hospital "Observe for hours, inject one stage at a time, etc" drill when having a reaction. The "shock" part of anaphylactic shock is due to the extreme swelling and dilation of the blood vessels around the reaction site and in other places. You rapidly loose blood pressure, blood volume supplied to the brain is reduced, and shock is inevitable. /p
pThis causes drowsyness, and an inability to concentrate, and combined with reduced ability to breathe, it is a very scary experience!/p
pIf you take benadryl, phenergan or other antihistamine, this also adds to the sedative effect, and you can't really tell if you are sleepy due to drugs, lack of oxygen or both./p
pOnce all that swelling takes place, it is near impossible to reduce it all. They have to use IV fluids to keep your blood volume up, and to increase the BP. /p
pI have never injected epi before, but after experiencing 3 hours of "observation", I am determined to use epi no matter what!!! Do you have to loose consciousness on medical people before they will consider using epi????/p
pTake your treatment into your own hands, get to hospital, and while you are there, educate the people who treat you!!!/p
pI still remember the time I taught a doctor how to put my arm into a sling. I was 10 at the time! These medico's often don't cut the grade, or have to follow policy so they don't get sued. Its obviously better a PA person dies from the allergy, than at the hands of an incompetent doctor!!! Moral - TREAT YOURSELF!/p
pTake care everyone!/p

Posted on: Wed, 09/01/1999 - 9:07am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

pHas your child had CAP RAST for strawberries? I posted under strawberries on main board and asked some questions there too. Has doctor told you what levels are high for this food or when they might consider a food challenge?/p
p Thanks for any info, /p

Posted on: Wed, 09/01/1999 - 1:18pm
PattyR's picture
Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

pJan B.,br /
My son was tested when he was 2. He is now 7 and I don't remember the exact test result. All of his allergies were very severe. At the time, the numbers did not mean anything to me. I was just told that his reactions were very high. They never mentioned the idea of challenging him and I am in no hurry to do it. He has never had another strawberry reaction since that first one./p

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/1999 - 2:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

p Thanks for the info. I'm glad that he has had reaction to strawberries since he was one. My son has never eaten real straberries but his teat was in the high range. He can eat the Hershey twislers though because I check with company and it has no natural strawberry favor./p


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