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Jan 16, 2009

Being Prepared

I posted earlier this week on my diligence to keep my food allergic boys safe.  However, that's only half the battle. The other half is being prepared, and knowing what to do in the event of a reaction.  Its so important to have a food allergy plan, and know how to handle a medical emergency. Not deviating from the plan you've put together with your doctor is crucial to making the best decisions for your child.  Ask me how I know? We had to put our plan into action last night.

Just after dinner, I looked down at my three year old and noticed his eye was red, and sort of glassy looking.  As I picked him up for a snuggle for a closer look, I noticed that his lip looked sort of puffy.  As I opened his mouth, I noticed that there was a good bit of interior swelling on his lip.  Its a good thing I checked *inside* because from the outside, it looked pretty good.

Allergy plan in effect!  I grabbed my purse, gave him a dose of Benadryl and had my husband dial 911.  I was debating about the Epi Pen, and had it by my side ready to use if necessary.  Our pediatrician has told me that any swelling on the inside can very quickly spread resulting in a swollen airway.  The trucks arrived within three minutes, and they checked his respiration (fine) and his oxygen concentration (fine.)  I could already see the anti-histamine from the Benadryl taking effect.  

However, even though he was doing better, it still was advised that we get a "truck ride" for further observation.  I'm so lucky that my college room mate lives across the street. Before I even got in the truck, she was there to take my six year old so that we didn't all have to go to the hospital. Thank you sweetie, you are truly the best.  Little man and I hopped in the truck where he asked many questions about the equipment and had his vitals checked several times along the way. 

Now, you may ask, if he was doing better and the meds had stopped the reaction, why the truck ride?  We're not sure what caused the reaction.  And if it was the half an apple he'd eaten, then he had half an apple's worth of material to continue to cause secondary reactions.  At the ER he received additional medications, and he stayed for observation for about an hour and a half.  He'll continue to be on medicines to stave off any reactions till whatever it is that he ate has passed through his system. 

I'm not telling you this to scare you but to indicate that even given the best efforts to eliminate any sources of allergic reactions, you can still never guarantee it won't happen.  Whether there was a trace of residue from one of the daycare children's food, or from my kitchen cleanser (for which I'm now looking for a replacement) or if he's developed a new allergy to apple, I don't know yet.  I'll be scheduling an appointment with our allergist to see what the next steps are.  But for now, I'm just going to snuggle with my little brave boy.  

If you have food allergic children, remember to keep your emergency meds close, never leave home without them, and don't ever be afraid to put your allergy action plan to use. While I didn't want to have to use that pen, and I hope I never do, it was ready by my side in case that lip swelling got worse.  Luckily the Benadryl worked fast, and thank goodness for living so close to the Fire Station.......  

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