The day of the first reaction, we gave our son half of a peanut from the bag we received earlier that week. (We didn’t know he was allergic at that time.) Almost immediately, he started to act and look strange. Within seconds, his lips swelled up and started to turn blue. Then the vomiting began.
We were completely terrified and didn’t know what to do. We grabbed him and rushed him to the hospital. We didn’t know what was going on. They took him back, examined him and our worst fears were confirmed. Our son was diagnosed with a severe, life threatening allergy to peanuts; anaphylaxis, they called it.
He was later tested to find out if he had any other allergies. My son’s food allergies include: peanuts, cashews, and pistachios.
Here are some experiences from our readers:
“The epipen jr had to be used today on my pa/ta daughter. She is okay now, thankfully, but scared to go to school now because that is where it happened. A child brought in cupcakes for his birthday and the label was ripped off. The teacher said he checked them and they were okay. I got the container off of him after I got to school to take her to the e.r. and the label was ripped but you could see, “May conta”. I am assuming it said “may contain peanuts and/or tree nuts”. I am FURIOUS! However, that being said, I am glad she is okay. She is staying home tomorrow and I will be calling the school to speak with them about the importance of label reading. Thank you for letting me share.” – Meghan P.
To Meghan P:I am so very sorry your daughter had to have the epipen jr used on her today. Unfortunately, misunderstood label reading can be a major cause for allergic reactions. This is why reading, and sometimes, double reading the label is extremely important. To help your daughter feel better about being in school, try providing her with a bag or Tupperware box, of safe snacks to keep in her classroom. This way she can just go straight to her safe snacks when there is a celebration, if they are not sure about the foods. Even if they feel it is safe but there is no label, or in this case the label was ripped, having a safe snack bag as a back up will help her feel safer and still included in the celebration. I hope she is okay now and send her my best!
“My son has a life threatening allergy to dairy. We went to a trusted restaurant for my birthday. After being assured the bread was safe we allowed him to eat it. Bread in restaurants is always avoided. Within 15 minutes he was having a reaction. Not big but stomach cramps, minor hives. I spoke to our waiter to explain what was happening and that we may need to administer Epi’s and call 911. He brought our check. At the time we live in A North Shore Suburb of Chicago. The hospital was 5 minutes away so we raced to hospital. His reaction remained the same. Doctors gave him more antihistamine and watched him. An hour later they were releasing us. On our way out, I heard a wheeze when he was breathing. He was going into anaphylaxis full on. Epi and steroids were administered and we stayed a few more hours. He has had a bunch of reactions. This was the first one that was delayed.” – Tracie W. C.
To Tracie W.C. : Unfortunately, events like this can not be predicted. This is why we prepare ourselves by practicing using the epipens and educating ourselves on different scenarios. You can never be 100% prepared, but as long as you know what the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction are, and you educated yourself on “safe” places to eat, you can prevent a reaction as much as possible. This being a restaurant that you frequented, it is shocking that it happened, however it is always a possibility when human error is at play. You did an excellent job at handling the situation, i must say! My advice to you is to avoid anything you think “may” have been contaminated by his allergen. Even if they say it is safe, if you don’t trust it, don’t eat it. Personally, I stick with the same foods for my son when we go to restaurants. It can never hurt to remind the staff every time you go there because staff changes and so does the menu. Good luck and I wish your son many years of happy restaurant experiences.
“This summer we went to an allergist who told us that my son’s skin tests scored lower than his initial diagnoses 3 years prior. This was our first time visiting this particular Dr. He also told us that since my son only broke out in hives with his first reaction that he probably wouldn’t have even prescribed us an epi-pen. He sent us home and had us do a food trial. Even though I saw red flags, we tried a food trial at home anyway. This Dr was very sure of himself. I was nervous. My son doesn’t even like peanut butter (thank God) so for the trial I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He took the tiniest “mouse bite” and we waited. Within minutes, he had severe abdominal pain, then threw up. His face was blood red! You could see blood under the surface of his skin (like a strawberry) all over his entire face. His throat started to close. He was crying and saying “I can feel my throat on my tongue!!” We kept talking to him calmly and walked out of the house, got in the car, and sped to the hospital. (It took us 3 minutes we live VERY close, thank God!) He was given epinephrine, steroids, and pepcid to help if there was any left in his stomach. He was on oral steroids for about a week after this incident. I can tell you that there is NOTHING more horrifying than the PLEADING look in his eyes. He was so scared and so were my husband and I. I will NEVER forget the look in his eyes. EVER. Needless to say we do NOT go to that allergist anymore. I am extremely happy with the one we have now. I don’t ever want to experience this again. I hope and pray every day that my son never does.” – Cherie K. T.
Cherie K. T. : That had to have been extremely scary and definitely a traumatizing experience. For that doctor to have you do a food allergy at home may have been the most “unprofessional” thing I have ever heard of. Most doctors recommend food challenges in the office, or if you want to do it on your own, most recommend it be done near a hospital or in the hospital lobby. You explained this in so much deatil that I can almost see the events, step by step, of what happened. It is always a heartbreak, to say the least, when we see our child suffer and when it is from something like this, it is so much worse. You handled the situation with great restraint; trying to remain calm for your child. My advice to you is to always trust your gut. Even if a doctor tells you otherwise. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, then something probably is. You know better about your child. Keep yourself prepared with an epipen at all times. If by chance an allergist says he doesn’t need one, request one anyway. If they refuse, I would go to another doctor. Remember, if there is an emergency and the epipen you have is expired or a jr (and your child now uses the full strength), it is best to use something rather than nothing at all. They do not advise to use expired ones however, in the event of an emergency and your child can not breathe, it is best to try. It can’t hurt. Good luck to you and your child in the future. I wll keep my fingers crossed for no more reactions!
“This wasn’t a first reaction but it was one of the scariest for me because we were nowhere familiar. We were coming home from a trip and had just stopped to use the restroom. When we got back into the car, we gave the kids (daughter 8years old, son 5 years old) some Laffy Taffy. Both my husband and I read the ingredients and didn’t see any of their allergens (daughter ana to peanuts and treenuts, son ana to egg, peanuts and treenuts). Within 1 minute of beginning to eat my son starts screaming that the roof of his mouth was burning and he insisted that there was egg in it. We assured him that we checked and there was no egg. Within 3o seconds he began projectile vomiting. We pulled over on the side of interstate 80, jumped out and threw his door open. His eyes and mouth were swollen and he had ginormous hives all over and started wheezing. I got out epi pen and gave it to him. My husband pulled up the nearest hospital on GPS (thank the lord for GPS!!!) and we sped there. I called 911 and told them to call the hospital and have them waiting out side for him. I soothed him all the way (it was less than a 10 minute drive but felt like hours). He continued throwing up but his breathing seemed better. Finally got to hospital and medical personal were waiting. Told them as we were pushed into room his history and when I gave him the epi pen. They started IV of steroid and began checking his vitals. Said his lungs sounded good and they would keep him for 4 hours. 1/2 hour into our stay, he started wheezing and got more swollen. The doctor was wavering on giving him the second epi pen. I said he is getting worse and they had 5 seconds to give him the epi or I would because I wasn’t going to watch my son die. Well, they did and thankfully he got better. We stayed at the hospital 6 hours and drove 4 more to get home. The next day I researched and found out that Laffy Taffy in the size we had gotten has eggs, but neither myself or my husband saw it listed. Because we threw it away (with the vomit) we couldn’t prove to the company that it was miss labeled. Very thankful it ended well.” – Julie B. W.
Julie B. W. : I am very thankful it ended well too! Sounds like you were very prepared and handled everything so well. Under the circumstances, it is hard to remain calm and know how to keep the child calm too. You did a great job! Situations like this happen all of the time but we hardly ever hear about them. It is true that some of the “mini” packaging or the “king size” packaging are produced differently, this is why we as parents need to try to keep ourselves up to date with changes in the factories. Unfortunately, we can never know for sure sometimes, no matter how much “research” we do. You did what any mother would have done had they been in your situation. Pushing the hospital staff to administer the second epipen is NOT something your should have done, however sometimes the parent has to be the doctor. This is why it is so important to understand your child’s reactions. My advice for you is to keep being a great mom! You handled the situation the way you should have and that is awesome! If by chance, your child has another reaction, not necessarily from a Laffy Taffy because if could be from another food, save the wrapper to show to the hospital staff and to have as prof of what he ingested. I recommend keeping a Ziploc baggy with his epipen so if you have to save a wrapper, you can put it in there and there isn’t a risk of him coming in contact with the wrapper. Scary situations like this, unfortunately teach us how to handle stressful situations. Good luck and to your children!
Reading about other parent’s situations can help you learn what to do and how to handle it, if you ever have to deal with your child going through an allergic reaction. Sometimes, when an allergic reaction happens at school, it can seem so much worse because you are not there to REALLY know what happened. This this why it is important to have preventative measures put in place. Even those cant completely stop an allergic reaction, however it can prevent it most of the time.
All of you mothers, handled the situation extremely well, under the circumstances. I applaud you all!
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*All information on this page is not to be taken instead of medical advise.*