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Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions Rising in Children

Your Allergy Advocacy Association continues to recommend that “when in doubt, take it out.” This article discusses a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield that found the number of severe allergic reactions in children reported by hospitals have more than doubled between 2010 and 2016. The article includes signs and symptoms to look for in an impending anaphylaxis attack and suggests “If you think about using an EpiPen, go ahead and use it if you notice any of these signs and symptoms.” Most importantly, Dr. Anna Volerman of the University of Chicago Medicine says to make sure that your child has “a really strong understanding of the allergy, and feels comfortable speaking up and saying, ‘I’m allergic to X, is there any X in this food item?’”

Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions Rising in Children

Hands Holding Two EpiPens Together
Photo Credit: Andrew Mangum for The New York Times

By Perri Klass, M.D.
APRIL 9, 2018

Anaphylaxis is the scary end of allergy, the kind of reaction that can kill. It can happen almost immediately after the exposure — being stung by the bee, eating the peanut — and it can move fast. In anaphylaxis, your immune system turns against you with a vengeance, revs up and releases histamines and other chemicals that set off a range of dangerous physiological changes.

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Are Schools Ready for Severe Allergic Reactions?

The good news is that a recent survey found 81% of school nurses stock epinephrine to use in an emergency for any child. The bad news is epinephrine was much less likely to be available for after-school activities or for travel with student groups outside of school. This is especially concerning since up to 19 percent of anaphylactic reactions during the school day may occur outside of the school building or on field trips. Whenever your child is scheduled for outside activities, make sure they have their own EpiPen with them and speak with chaperones and coaches so they know what to do in an emergency. An EpiPen should be available for use on anyone, as many are not even aware they have an allergy, such as to bee stings. School nurses also reported that allergen labeling could be improved for school lunches.

Are Schools Ready for Severe Allergic Reactions?

Study Sees Key Gaps

School Nurse
Photo Credit: Istock

By: Mariam Matti
April 4, 2018

A majority of school nurses report being trained to handle severe food allergy reactions, and most have stock (or unassigned) epinephrine available as a tool.

Underscoring the importance of those factors, a national survey of school nurses reveals that one-third of the nurses had to deal with at least one severe reaction in the past year.

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District School Bus Rules Did NOT Contribute to the Amanda Huynh Tragedy

This sad story reinforces the importance of school bus drivers being able to carry and administer epinephrine in an emergency. After a student had a severe reaction after eating a granola bar, 15 minutes were lost before the bus reached the nearest school for the nurse to administer epinephrine, and the young girl died 2 days later. It is believed that the delay in receiving the drug may well have contributed to Amanda Huynh’s death. We can all learn from this tragedy and for policies that should be implemented in every school district.

District School Bus Rules Did NOT Contribute to the Amanda Huynh Tragedy

Amanda Huynh

By Dave Bloom
March 13th, 2018

Update Tue, March 13, 2018 @ 2:50PM EDT: Given a retraction from our original source and Allergic Living’s recent update regarding the Amanda Huynh tragedy, we’ve made a correction to the previous version of this article. The district does allow self-carry of epinephrine by students, but in Amanda’s case, she had stopped carrying an auto-injector the year prior. While we do our best to verify our sources to provide timely, usable information, our reporting was incorrect. We offer our sincere apologies to our readers for the error.

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Advice on Attending Summer Camps with Food Allergies

It’s that time of year again! If you plan to send your child to summer camp, there is much research to be done. The author of this article suggests you make an in-person visit to the camp and to not go by “just what they say, but what you see and even how you feel” in order to choose the right camp for your child. She also provides some excellent questions to ask before you sign your child up for a camp.

Last summer a volunteer counselor at a local Boy Scout camp got stung by a hornet, and had no idea he was allergic. If an EpiPen had not been on hand, the results could have been devastating.

Advice on Attending Summer Camps with Food Allergies

Kids At Camp With Sailboat
Photo Credit: Istock

By: Gina Clowes
Originally published July 19, 2016,
www.allergicliving.com

Follow these tips to research safe adventures for your allergic child.

From daytime activities to sleepaway journeys, summer camp can create lifelong memories and give parents a brief respite. Of course, adequate planning is essential when food allergies are on the table, but sometimes simple observation and a mother’s intuition play an even bigger part in assessing the safety of a situation.

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Anaphylaxis in Very Young Kids Can Often Be Severe and Under-Recognized, Study Finds

An associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine surveyed 600,000 pediatric intensive care units and found that the risk of anaphylaxis in children to be higher than previously thought, even in young babies. With a mortality rate of 1 percent, peanut and dairy reactions were implicated as the leading causes of death. The author believes that if more physicians on the front lines quickly recognized and treated anaphylaxis, perhaps severe reactions could be minimized.

Anaphylaxis in Very Young Kids Can Often Be Severe and Under-Recognized, Study Finds

Dr. Carla Davis presents a poster at the AAAAI/WAO meeting.
Dr. Carla Davis presents a poster at the AAAAI/WAO meeting.

By Gwen Smith
March 14, 2018

An analysis of data from 600,000 pediatric intensive care units across North America reveals the risks of anaphylaxis in children to be higher than has previously been appreciated, even in young babies, according to one of the study’s authors.

The study, which is the largest report to date on the characteristics of anaphylaxis in children, showed that 2,000 children were admitted to pediatric ICUs between 2010 and 2015.

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