Children & Severe Food Allergies - A Personal Story and Education

How a family begins to deal with life-threatening food allergies with links to many wonderful resources.

It was almost a year ago when I had to give Elliott his very 1st Epipen injection. Well, it just so happens, the whole experience is much less frightening and stressful the 2nd time around…This past week it happened, again. I went through the motions of checking for symptoms – in Elliott’s case, he started gagging and threw up thick clear mucus, this within minutes of ingesting dairy – and I immediately knew I had to use his Epipen Jr.

(Visit the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network for great tips on staying safe when Trick or Treating this Hallowe'en.)

What led to Elliott’s allergic reaction was a mistake. But it was mistake that could and should have been prevented since it was an adult who was well-aware of his severe allergies. And it only took less than 5 little cheddar goldfish crackers to cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. However, instead of dwelling on one person’s carelessness, I’ve decided that spreading awareness to those around us is a much better use of my time and energy.

I feel so silly (and a big part of me wants to use a stronger word) and irresponsible. When we moved to Philly just after his 1st episode, I didn’t want to introduce Elliott to our new friends with the warning “he’s severely allergic to all things dairy, (and nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, neosporin, cats, dogs, molds and dust)”.  I guess I’d hoped that I could manage his allergies on my own, or thought that people would be less interested in playing with us since it meant that they’d have to be extra cautious, even inconvenienced, and I didn’t want to be a burden. Ugh.

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connie scotto October 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM
I applaud you!!! I too have a little girl who is allergic to shellfish, hearing your story makes me realize how one careless act can turn deadly, i gave up shellfish as well as I do not ever want to take a chance of cross contamination!!! education and awareness are key.
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