? able reaction

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 11:20am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

My son had a possible reaction at school last week. He was given the epi first, then they called 911. The EMT's arrived first, then me , the medics from the hospital. It was really questionable whether it was a true reaction or not. I could tell that the 6 guys were all looking a bit puzzled. I let them give benedryl and rode with ds in the ambulance to the hospital. The ER doc said it didn't look like a typical reaction to him...but he couldn't say that it wasn't either. DS seemed fine....he was observed for a while and then we took him home. DH went back to the school to question everyone.

I really have no answers...and we haven't changed anything that we are doing .. I figure if it really was a reaction we will know soon enough.... so here is what happened..

a piece of banana bread was put on a table behind my son...about 18 inches away. The bread was made in a facility that processes peanuts. DS did not touch or eat it. (so we think) the children had not started to eat it either.

the teacher heard my son cry - he was covering his nose...he said that his nose hurt...he had a lot of mucos and started crying and turning red...they took him out of the room...the aide attending to him said his face was red, she offered him water he refused, he started shaking and teeth chattering (it's not cold here) and she looked on his chest, legs and back and said that there were red spots on his back and now his scalp was red. She gave the epi. When I got there...within 5 mins of the epi he was not red....he had no marks..he seemed fine...but a little shaky. My first sense of doubt was from looking at the emt's and medics reactions and my son looked fine.

So IF he reacted...he either ate a piece of that bread...the teachers were horrified when we suggested that might have happened... or he could be airborne sensative and if that's the case I guess we will know soon enough because he will react again. i just don't know what to do with that "possiblity".....I don't want to make major changes when we are pretty uncertain that a reaction happened at all. DS had had a virus and was also being uncharacteristically emotional...he had also been complaining about his legs/knees hurting that morning - which could just be from growing -he's a tall kid.

So i am posting to see if this rings any bells with anyone....if I have missed anything or if you think I am looking at this the wrong way or if there are questions that I need to be asking please please let me know.

Our current comfort zone is that we feed him nothing that is shared lines or facilities with peanuts. He has no other allergies and mild excema. All food he eats is from me. But I would hate to limit his contact with the outside world based on an inconclusive reaction.

oh...and the next day...he was as chipper as ever!

my thoughts are that I should start a food log...report this to his allergist...and make sure that I communicate to his teachers if he is the slightest bit "off"

I really apprecaite any thoughts on this.


Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 1:01am
bethc's picture
Joined: 04/18/2005 - 09:00

Boy, that's a hard one. How old is he? Do you think he might have just impulsively taken a bite of the bread? Was he snacking also at the time, and how completely sure of the safety of his snack are you? It seems so unlikely that he'd have an aerosol reaction from something just made in a facility with peanuts.
It sounds like a suspicious group of symptoms and it seems like a good thing that the people at school took it seriously and treated it. You know, getting a shot of Epi can just turn around a reaction really fast sometimes and it can seem like they're fine by the time the paramedics arrive. I know people on this board have had paramedics be doubtful that there was anything wrong with someone because the Epi shut down the symptoms quickly. And they don't necessarily return. So just because he was fine later doesn't mean it wasn't a reaction.
If it were me, I'd keep asking him about what happened beforehand. And I'd consider anything you know he ate, even if he's eaten it before. You may never sort this one out. Or he may have another similar reaction someday that you know is from peanuts, and you'll think, "Now I know that's what it was." It's so hard sometimes. I'm glad he's okay!

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 1:49am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Exactly. I think the epi and Bendaryl and ride to hospital were well done. All of his symptoms sound like a reaction to me.
Do you think he's afraid to tell you he did eat some of the bread?
Maybe you can let him know we are all learning and sometimes we make mistakes. You won't be angry but you really just want to know so you can help him learn how to keep safe.....
Good luck. It does not sound like an airborne reaction and how wonderful it is to know the epi worked so well.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 3:09am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

Thank you both for your responses.
He's 3 and half.
We immediately thought that he probably snuck a bite of the bread...but the teachers said no way...that he is the first to tell you that he only eats food from mom and dad...and I don't think any of the bread was missing...and I really think his teachers would have said if there was a piece missing. I asked him directly but very gently and told him that it was ok to tell mommy and that we are just learning and need to keep him safe, etc...and he tells me no. He also told me that he didn't have a reaction. He said he was just freaking out. His words.
He hadn't had any of his snack yet that day. He did have strawberries that morning and he hasn't been tested for them but has eaten them many times. That is a question for me...could it have been the strawberries - either new allergy or xcon.?? I ate the rest of the berries and won't give him anymore unless we are going to be with him. *lightbulb* He had strawberries last night in some homemade mixed berry ice cream.....no reaction..but different source of berries. (this is maddening)
So....yeah we told the teachers that they did the right thing and were very thankful for that....but I don't think that my husband and I are convinced that it was a reaction. Maybe that's wishful thinking on our part.
Another thing I didn't mention is that the teacher aide who made the decision to do the epi is ESL and her first language is Spanish. Her communication is not the best...she speaks english well but never seems to answer my questions...maybe she doesn't understand it as well as she speaks it? Her daughter is PA and she recently gave another child at the school and epi in a clear ingestion reaction...she got a lot of praise for that. I'm not saying that she did this for praise or that she was wrong to do it....I just don't know. I really want her to have been wrong.
Am I supposed to or should I be giving the teachers some kind of thank you gift for this? I guess if it were a clear reaction I would without question so I probably should since I don't want them to doubt themselves. On the other hand I don't want them to give that epi too quickly and I really wish they had given him benedryl first.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 3:59am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

It does not matter if you thought it was actually a reaction. You were not there.
Luckily the teacher was there and she thought it was reaction enough to treat. And I think successfully.
How can we make ourselves believable if an injection of epi looks like a cure? That is tough. The paramedics came and scratched their heads because your son looked fine but in fact he did not look fine to the teacher moments earlier. And the paramedics should have known that.
Please don't look at the epi as a last resort or a BIG BIG decision to be made. Be thankful that teacher did what she was supposed to.
None of us no matter how experienced we are can predict how far a bit of redness, salivation and a bit of a rash can go. Added up they all sounded to me like a good reason for Epi and Benadryl. And look you have three bodily systems involved with these symptoms.
You can send a letter to the school commending the action of that teacher. I don't think you need to get her a gift. Your child's life is her gift! Make sure the letter goes into the teacher's file and she can use it as part of a resume in the future.
Don't second guess her or yourselves. More kids die while some well meaning but scared adult is sitting around in a "wait and see" attitude.
Do you really want to give the responsiblilty to a teacher to decide epi or Benadryl? Maybe when your son is older and can be 100% sure of what happened to cause the event he can consider Benadryl first but the rules are Epi first then Benadryl. There was no clear reason for the "reaction" so the teacher (I feel) did the correct thing.
What does your son mean by "freaking out." I mean what caused him to freak out? It sounds and looks so much like a reaction I would want to know more about the freaking out. Those are big words for a little guy like that. I know we use them all the time but a little guy coming up with that? Is he talking about that feeling of doom that comes with anaphylaxis? Three is a bit young to be able to describe this, he felt awful and maybe did not know how to describe it.
For sure he did not like the epi and the paramedic fuss but again I wonder was he too scared to tell you he had eaten something forbidden.
And yes check the berries.
This is how we learn, by dissecting these situations.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 4:05am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

"On the other hand I don't want them to give that epi too quickly and I really wish they had given him benedryl first."
In my opinion, there's no such thing as giving an epipen "too quickly." I've read again and again about the dangers of giving bendryl first - it can mask the more serious symptoms and by the time the caregiver realizes how bad things are, it can be too late.
To my mind (although I'm not a medical expert), it does sound like an allergic reaction, and an epi was the right treatment. More than one body system was affected, and the chattering teeth in particular is distressing because it might have indicated a drop in blood pressure, which is very dangerous. Also, "freaking out" is actually a possible symptom - it's usually described as a "feeling of impending doom."
I totally understand why you don't want this to be an allergic reaction, but if it was one, then the epi was the right decision, and if it wasn't one, the epi (and not benedryl) was STILL the right decision. Bottom line, your son is fine.
You might consider finding a translator to talk with the caregiver to make sure you have all the details right. I hope you figure out exactly what happened soon!
Take care.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 6:34am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

It does matter if I think it was a reaction (or not) only to determine future safeguards. I am not really questioning what they did. I put him in thier hands and I trust them. They did the right thing. I have to trust the teacher and aides to make these decisions - that or homeschool.
Benedryl is first on our action plan not epi. She gave the epi because he refused water and she was taught that they refuse water it is because they can't swallow....so you skip to the epi. But given the multitude of symptoms...epi first is understandable. We told her and the administrator that we think she did the right thing. We are not questioning what she did outwardly....but we want to know at the same time if it was warranted or not. I think part of my not being convinced that it was a reaction is that the symptoms were communicated to us in drips and drabs after multiple questions. Each time we ask we got a little bit more or DIFFERENT information.
Uh...my little guy is amazingly verbal and mature for his age. He is way ahead of his peers. He got so tired of our questions that he just wont answer anymore. I am afraid also that while he is very bright...he's also a bit unreliable. When I asked him if it was a reaction he said "no I was just freaking out" ? I think this weekend I am going to make banana bread with him and see if I can bring it up or if he brings it up.
You guys so far are the most convinced that it was a reaction....the ER doc and the EMT's, etc weren't although they wouldn't rule it out. The ER doc practically ruled it out...but wouldn't quite go there.
I hear what you are saying...about the epi working to well...we are treating it as a reaction....and will use it as needed for use in future school plans, etc. But without more information are not going to change our safety zone, etc yet.
I really appreciate the "talking to" you guys are giving me. I just don't think that I am going to have the answers on this one.
Oh...and your opinions are as valuable to me or more than an ER doc! Not that he wasn't good....but he doesn't live it.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 8:24am
notnutty's picture
Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

Sarah: I understand you questioning. We gave our ds epi once and after thought "was it really a reaction." I think asking this question is 100% normal and should be pondered, especially if you weren't there. I think it matters.
I think the school did the right thing by giving epi...I would rather they not wait...however, I also wonder if he had a reaction, especially since the source of the suspected reaction was not close to your ds AND your ds did not ingest it AND it was only a x-contaminated food. It seems suspect to me.
You may never have the answer. I think in time you will understand his allergy better and understand the way his body reacts.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 9:28am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

thanks nonutty
it's just so hard...because at school (and most of the time at home) my son is the most amazing happy almost perfect child...they have really never seen him act like a typical 3 yo..... I have seen him act like a typical 3 yo and that can include crying, turning red, not answering, huffing (which could look like teeth chattering) and lots of snot...
so was he just "off" because of a virus and frustrated with his "work" (Montessori) OR could that virus have affected his allergic response and made it much more sensative?
I typed it all up and am going to send it to the allergist and see what she thinks.
I think I am going to put together a little care package for his teachers with my new found baking and ice cream making talents. They must think I am a robot because I am so calm about it all...

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 9:40am
Adele's picture
Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

It sounds like a reaction to me, too. I've also had flushed face and shivering as part of what I think was a reaction. I was also coughing until I gagged.
I found this on: [url="http://www.flash-med.com/anaphylaxis.asp"]http://www.flash-med.com/anaphylaxis.asp[/url]
"Often people will develop itching, cough, shivering, and flushing. Sometimes people will experience swelling of the throat and tongue associated with difficulty breathing."
[This message has been edited by Adele (edited March 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 9:48am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

Ug [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
So what do you think...he ate the bread? he reacted to airborn particles in the bread? he reacted to something he ate that morning? something on the table?
Dh checked out the table for any smudges, etc...it was clean...had been cleaned the night before and no food had been on it since the previous days lunch...
the school is "nut free" and I know that his teachers would not let any child eat pb or any obvious nut product ....even before they went nut free she was making the PB eaters move away from my son.


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