Oranges. I love them. Sweet, juicy and sometimes a little on the sour side. But, that cute little ball of liquid sunshine might be a severe allergen to another person. One that leads to hives, itching, inability to breath and, possibly anaphylaxis and trip to the ER. The nightmarish conditions of fear and panic grow exponentially when this involves a child. So, besides avoiding the allergen, are there ways to avoid the ER?
Dr. Buck Parker, a trauma surgeon and one of the stars of NBC’s reality TV show “The Island,” who provides expert medical opinions on the Web, radio & TV programs nationwide, says many of these severe reactions could have been prevented in the first place.
“Avoidance of the allergen is key and most parents will do everything in their power to protect their child from that particular substance, “Dr. Parker says. “But in addition, there are five things parents of children with food allergies must do to keep their children safe and out of the ER.”
- Do not be afraid to administer epinephrine. Give epinephrine at the first sign of a severe allergic reaction.
- No one is immune to food allergies and new food allergies can develop at any time so always be aware of severe allergic reaction symptoms to look out for including: hives, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, repetitive coughing, throat swelling, tongue swelling, etc.
- Anaphylaxis can happen anywhere at any time and it can be deadly if not treated quickly and properly. Parents must educate themselves, their children, their friends, their family, schools, camps, babysitters, etc. about the severity of food allergies and how to avoid life-threatening allergic reactions.
- Be vigilant about cross contamination. Battling food allergies is not only about avoiding consumption of the allergen but also about avoiding contact with the allergen. Wash hands with soap and water. Keep kitchen surfaces and tables clean. Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.
- Always have a second dose of epinephrine with you and use it if a second reaction starts to occur again.