Tag Peanut allergy

Stocking Epinephrine in Schools Might Save Lives | HealthDay News

As a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Sarah Denny has seen her share of the life-threatening reactions that can happen with food allergies.

That didn’t make it any less scary when her son Liam, then 18 months old, drank soy milk and was soon covered in hives and having trouble breathing. Moments later, he was unconscious.

She called 911 while her husband jabbed their son in the thigh with an epinephrine pen. “I could hear sirens on the way to us,” Denny recalled. “I’m holding Liam out on the curb, and my medical brain kicked in. I thought, ‘I need to be doing chest compressions.’ ”

She didn’t have to — the epinephrine quickly took effect. On the way to the hospital, her son woke up. Fifteen minutes later he was smiling and talking again.

“Epinephrine works very quickly. As long as you give it soon enough, it can reverse a [severe] reaction,” Denny said. “It’s truly lifesaving. Had we waited to give it or just called 911, I’m not sure he would have survived.”

To help ensure children like Liam can get epinephrine when it’s needed, new federal legislation encourages schools to have epinephrine for any child who needs it. Signed into law by President Barack Obama last November, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act gives states a financial incentive for passing legislation requiring that schools have epinephrine on hand and personnel trained in how to use it. Obama’s daughter Malia has a peanut allergy.

“Epinephrine needs to be given right away, within five minutes of the onset of symptoms,” said Dr. David Stukus, an allergist and immunologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “If you wait longer, the risk for death increases.”

…But about one in four first-time food-allergy reactions happens at school, and the parents might not even realize their child is allergic. Denny kept an EpiPen at home because she knew Liam was allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. But he had eaten soy before with no issues.

…Currently, 26 states permit schools to stock epinephrine for use in any child who needs it. Only five states — Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada and Virginia — require schools to stock epinephrine, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

That leaves 19 states that have no such legislation.

The federal legislation gives states that require schools to stock epinephrine preference for receiving asthma education grants. Also, state and federal legislation empowers school personnel to take action to save a life.

“We would like to see state legislatures require [schools to stock epinephrine],” said John Lehr, CEO of Food Allergy Research & Education. “We understand that each state and locality needs to make its own budgeting decisions, but we believe that having stock epinephrine in the schools will save lives.”

“All of the [epinephrine pens] are easy to learn to use and safe, even if accidentally given to someone without a food allergy or [someone who is] not having a food-allergy reaction,” Stukus said. “It’s adrenaline, which we all have in our bodies.”

To read more, please click on this link Stocking Epinephrine in Schools Might Save Lives.

Please call your school to make sure epipen is stocked.

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Planning an Allergy-Friendly Birthday Party (usnews.com)

Planning an Allergy-Friendly Birthday Party – (usnews.com).

Here are some tips I garnered for when you find yourself in a similar situation:

• Inquire about dietary restrictions when sending out the invitation: To give yourself plenty of time to figure out the menu and arrange for special accommodations if needed, it’s best to ask guests about any dietary restrictions well in advance.

 

• Make a pizza plan B: Pizza is a fairly typical menu staple at kids’ parties, but it’s problematic for guests with dairy or wheat allergies, Celiac disease or who follow vegan diets.

If you’re hosting a party at home, it’s easy enough to pick up an allergy-friendly frozen pizza to offer – look for gluten-free options from Udi’s or gluten-free/dairy-free options from Amy’s Kitchen.

 

• Enlist help from parents of guests with food allergies: If you’re concerned about being able to accommodate the dietary needs of a guest with food allergies, don’t hesitate to reach out to his or her parents to ask questions or request help in ensuring appropriate options are available.

• Emphasize fun over food: While food is expected at a birthday party, the folks at Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) suggest that it need not be the focal point of everything from goody bags to classroom celebrations.

Click on the link above to read more.

 

Hungry Middle Schoolers Create Prize-Winning Allergy App – ABC News

Hungry Middle Schoolers Create Prize-Winning Allergy App – ABC News.

When 13-year-old Samantha Hinton is unsure of the ingredients in a snack, she just doesn’t eat it.

That’s because Samantha is among the growing population of food allergy sufferers in the United States, and she fears a bite containing peanuts could kill her.

“I know it’s deadly,” she told ABC News. “And the side effects are just too scary.”

But a team of eighth-graders at her New Hampshire school created a smartphone app that could make navigating the cafeteria a whole lot easier. The Hampstead Academy students took home the grand prize at Verizon’s App Challenge with their idea for “Chow Checker,” an app that identifies food allergens.

To read more, click on the above link.

Food Allergy Awareness Heads to President’s Desk – ABC News

Food Allergy Awareness Heads to President\’s Desk – ABC News.

 

The deaths of two girls in Illinois and Virginia from severe food allergies have helped spur efforts to get schools to stockpile emergency medications that can save lives.

That effort has now reached the highest level: President Barack Obama\’s desk. The president was expected to sign a bipartisan bill that offers a financial incentive to states if schools stockpile epinephrine, considered the first-line treatment for people with severe allergies. The medication is administered by injection, through preloaded EpiPens or similar devices.

Several states have passed or are considering bills that also aim to stock epinephrine in schools, primarily in nurse\’s offices. And late last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its first guidelines to schools on how to protect kids with food allergies. The guidelines, which are voluntary, ask schools to take steps to restrict common foods that cause allergic reactions and to make epinephrine available.

“Everything is moving in the direction which adheres to our mission, which is to keep kids safe and included in schools,\” said John Lehr, the chief executive officer of the Food Allergy Research and Education advocacy organization.

Read more at Food Allergy Awareness Heads to President\’s Desk – ABC News.

 

via Food Allergy Awareness Heads to President’s Desk – ABC News.

What is Food Allergy?

Photo Credit: northshorekids.com

Photo Credit: northshorekids.com

Food allergy is a reaction of the body’s immune system to something in a food or an ingredient in a food-usually a protein. It can be a serious condition and should be diagnosed by a board-certified allergist.

How many people have the food allergy?
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5 million Americans, (5 to 8% of children and 1 to 2% of adults) have a true food allergy. Many people with any type of food sensitivity have food intolerances. Fewer people have true food allergy involving the immune system.

Which foods trigger allergic reactions?
There are eight major food allergens, including milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts and almonds), soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. These eight foods are the most common food allergens and cause more than 90 percent of all food allergic reactions. Among children, allergy to dairy and eggs are most common.

Do food additives cause allergic reactions?
No. Misconceptions abound regarding allergies to food additives. Many of these additives, including aspartame, monosodium glutamate and several food dyes have been studied extensively. Although sensitivities such as digestive problems or other temporary, localized reactions that do not involve the immune system have been associated with food additives, scientific evidence shows that food additives do not cause allergic reactions.

Are oils derived from foods that can cause food allergy, such as peanut oil, also allergenic? 
Not usually. Most commercial oils such as peanut oil are highly refined (hot solvent extracted), which removes the protein from the product. These types of oil are most commonly used in commercial food preparation. Since it is protein in allergenic foods that cause food allergy, highly refined oils are nonallergenic. Research has shown that individuals with severe peanut allergy have not had reactions to heat processed oils. However, people with food allergy should avoid “gourmet” or cold-pressed oils because they may contain allergenic proteins, which provide the flavor to the oil. For the same reason, oils that have been used to fry potentially allergenic foods should be avoided by allergic individuals.

Are peanut allergies increasing?
Research indicates that reported allergies are increasing. Peanut allergies are not a new phenomena; however, it is difficult to determine if the increased reports of food allergies in general and peanut allergy in particular are due to actual increases in incidence or a result of increased awareness among consumers and health professionals.

What are the symptoms of food allergy?
Symptoms of food allergy vary among individuals. Symptoms can also be different in the same person at different exposures to the same allergen. Common symptoms of food allergy include skin irritations (rashes, hives, and eczema), gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting), sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Some people experience a more severe reaction called anaphylaxis, which is a rare but potentially fatal condition in which several different parts of the body experience allergic reactions. Symptoms may include itching, hives, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, lower blood pressure and unconsciousness. Anaphylactic reactions usually happen rapidly and can be life threatening. Immediate medical attention is necessary when anaphylaxis occurs. Emergency treatment usually includes an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) to open up the airway and blood vessels.

Is there a cure for food allergies?
Unfortunately, the only “cure” for food allergy, at present, is strict dietary avoidance of the allergen. However, scientists specializing in food allergy are addressing this question. Because of the severity of reactions in peanut allergy, scientists are working on developing a vaccine for this allergen first. They hope to help desensitize those with peanut allergy, and substantially decrease the severity of reactions. It should be noted that these experiments, which are being conducted on animals, are in the beginning phases. If the animal studies are successful, human trials may begin within three to four years.

What is the best way to manage food allergic children in schools?
The best way to deal with an allergic child in school is with education and management for all parties involved (parents, teachers and school administrators). Education and awareness of what a food allergy is, how to prevent a reaction and what to do in case an allergic reaction occurs are keys to successfully managing allergy in schools. Since most children do not outgrow peanut allergies, this approach will help the child learn techniques on how to cope in everyday situations that will be carried throughout life. The Food Allergy Network offers educational programs and materials aimed at food allergy education and management.

Should allergenic foods be banned from schools?
Banning allergenic foods from schools is not practical or effective. Allergenic food bans are counterproductive because they diminish the need to teach children with allergies to take care of themselves. If a school instituted a ban on food allergens, it would be very difficult to enforce. Bans do not render an allergic child’s environment absolutely safe. A ban in schools may create a false sense of security for the allergic child and school staff, which can potentially lead to serious injury or death. Better solutions include establishing lunch tables that are free of allergenic foods and prohibiting lunch swapping among students, for example.

The Food Allergy Network has a comprehensive School Food Allergy Program and other resources designed to educate and assist school personnel and parents with the effective management of children with food allergy.

Where can I go for more information? Many resources are available to obtain further information about food allergy. They include the Food Allergy Network (FAN), the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and others.