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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 928
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Our 11 year old son had an allergic reaction on Friday (2 days ago). We gave the Epipen and headed to the hospital. It's been 3 years since his last reaction to food. We do not know what he reacted to, so this is the hard part now; however, the ER doctor said we may never know.

Here's the story (it's a bit long and detailed because I have some questions from our Allergic Living community). On Thursday evening, our daughter had her grade 8 grad ceremony at her school. Our son is very outgoing, and was walking around greeting many of the teachers before the ceremony, and touching many things in site. As often as we have told him to not touch his mouth, nose, eyes, face when we are in public, constant, constant reminders, he still does it. Very frustrating. I've told him it's only a matter of time before he has a reaction because his allergens are at school (and everywhere else!), with the exception of peanuts and tree nuts at school. But he is still a carefree child who does not want to worry himself with these things. There was food at the grad for the 15 minutes we went to another area of the school for the party and dance, but he did not eat anything.

We came home and he had a "treat" after the grad - Chapman's ice cream topped with Welch's berry mix. And off he went to bed, no issues. He had a normal sleep, and woke up in the morning, COVERED in HUGE hives! No other distress symptoms at all. The hives weren't even itchy. My husband gave him Claritin for his seasonal allergies (I didn't realise this until after the fact). I had the Epipen out right away, just in case (he's received it 3 times in his life - all 3 times given by me: age 3, 5 & 8 ). There was only 1 body system effected, so we didn't give it. What should we have done?? Please feel free to comment.

We considered going to go to the hospital, but based on his symptoms, I made an appointment with our trusted, wonderful doctor instead (who also has food allergies). By the time we saw her, his hives were much calmer. She said to keep an eye, and we know what to do if it gets worse. This whole time, our son was in great spirits, joking around, and behaving normally, so this was a factor. We went home.

Hives started up again around 4 hours later - just a few. Another hour later, covered again in HUGE hives all over his body. This time we gave the Epipen and went to the hospital. Overall, the hospital staff was wonderful with our son, but I would say the ER doctor was questioning whether the Epipen had actually been necessary, whereas the triage nurse was hive-fiving my son because he actually received the Epipen and she said she wished more people would do this. The doctor said he would discharge our son in an hour, the hives looked much better, so I drove my daughter home because she was exhausted from her grad. My husband stayed with our son.

They weren't home for another 2 hours, and our son was covered again in HUGE hives. They discharged him like that. I was surprised. They gave him Benadryl, just as he was to leave, and that was it. Every 4 hours we gave our son Benadryl and he continued to have huge hives. The next day, same thing. We almost gave him the epipen again. But then the Benadryl finally kicked in.

This morning, he finally looks better, but we keep checking every 30 minutes. The ER doctor was very nice and seemed very knowledgeable about food allergies. He said we can expect hives for several days and to treat with benadryl. He said he's almost 100% sure this is all we would need. But I was surprised our son was discharged 3.5 hours after we gave the Epipen with huge hives reoccurring on his body. The next day, the reason I considered giving the Epipen (but didn't) is because our son had started coughing along with the huge hives. But he said he didn't have any itchy throat or have trouble breathing. Please feel free to comment.

The main thing is, our son seems to be over the worst of it. Likely we should have given the Epi earlier (in retrospect). I'm second guessing what we did, but if only one body system is effected, what is the correct response. Thanks for listening to my long post. (if you're still reading :-) )

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
Ugh! It's so hard when you get conflicting advice from the medical community. You are best off going with a cross between your sons allergist and your gut feeling. These are the two most knowledgeable experts. Your son is at high risk of anaphylaxis already so if you felt administering the epipen was warrunted, it was. It is far better to use it and not need it than to need it and not use it.

An ER doctor is very knowledgeable about many, many illnesses but they can't be expected to be up to date on every single condition. It is generally recommended that you remain at the hospital 6-8 hours in case of a biphasic reaction. Perhaps you can get you allergist to print out the directions for anaphylaxis treatment as it applies to your son. You can bring this with you to the ER. In any event, being discharged does not mean you have to leave. It simply means that you are not under their care. It does not take much to re-admit a patient.

It sounds like your son's allergy cup was full to overflowing. The anti histamine was enough to keep symptoms at bay but as it wore off, the symptoms returned until his body had cleared his system of allergens. It might have been environmental allergens in combination with excitement, hormones.

Was it windy that day? Was anyone cutting the grass?

In the long run, your son will remember this and it may help him to recognise the need to be careful.

Teens and young adults are higher risk of anaphylaxis so a reminder is not necessarily a bad thing so long as the outcome was positive.
http://www.allergysafecommunities.ca/challenges/

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 928
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to read my long post and give a thoughtful reply. I appreciate it. As parents, we can all identify and learn with others experiences. I really appreciate the support from this group and going through this difficult journey together. Thank you for listening. I'm going to read through allergysafecommunitys document as a reminder. We learn something new each time.

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
:huggy I remember dealing with ER Dr's.....

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
We had a situation recently where we should have given the epinephrine and did not so I agree with Susan to err on the side of caution. You know from experience what is normal and not normal for your son with a reaction.

For my daughter, it terrifies me when I think what could have happened if her anaphylaxis had progressed further that day that we should have administered epinephrine. We did not recognize the signs of anaphylaxis because it did not happen with food and her throat was not swelling. The Allergist said always better to give it and not have needed it than the reverse.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:17 pm
Posts: 253
Location: Niagara region, Ontario
Julie,

Our son went through this exact same scenario when he was about the same age. Of course it freaked me out! We later had an appointment with an allergist at the Firestone Clinic in Hamilton. He said the two reasons that this may have happened would be either if our son was on medication he was allergic to, or it was a virus. Well he wasn't on meds, so probably a virus. We were so relieved, and it never happened again. I've since heard of this happening to a couple of other kids, some with no history of allergy. I hope this is the case with your son.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
With anaphylaxis, the situation can turn in a dime. The symptoms may seem to progress slowly and then speed up. Each time is different and you can only see a few of the symptoms. It's a bit like an iceberg in that.
If you wonder about using it...use it. Epinephrine is a natural hormone and will not harm an individual for whom it has been prescribed.

:huggy Be kind to yourself. I always found the 2 weeks after a reaction hard for me to deal with. You've been through a traumatic event. What could be worse for a mother than the potential of the imminent death of her child?

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 805
Location: Vancouver, BC
Sorry to hear about the reactions. It must be so frustrating to have it keep recurring, and not know what's causing it. I hope you're able to get some answers soon.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 928
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Thank you to everyone that took the time to read my l-o-n-g post and your thoughtful responses. I appreciate your "expert" replies! I don't use the term "expert" lightly, either. Each of us are living this journey, and we have all spent countless hours researching the condition and how to handle an emergency. Most of us are not doctors, or in the medical field, for that matter; however we have needed to educate ourselves and prepare ourselves for this life-threatening condition. It is important to share our experiences and learn from one another. After reading your posts, I am no longer second guessing the use of the Epipen the other night. It is definitely better to err on the side of caution. With the years and years of research behind us, we are aware that the use of epinephrine is a life-saving medication, and if an individual is experiencing an allergic/anaphylactic response, in an individual with a known allergy with potential for anaphylaxis, epinephrine should be administered. For those living with this condition, as Susan has said, we must follow the advice of our allergist. Thanks all, for your support!

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
_Susan_ wrote:
If you wonder about using it...use it. Epinephrine is a natural hormone and will not harm an individual for whom it has been prescribed.


When my teenager recently had anaphylaxis I was not at home. By phone I asked if she needed to use her epinephrine and she did not think so --- with hindsight I should have told her to use it and kept her on the line while someone else called 911 for her; and have someone else call a neighbour who could have stayed with her until we got home. We were less than 10 minutes from home but last time the ambulance was there quicker than that.

My daughter didn't want to use it if she didn't need it but I keep repeating to her that anaphylaxis can progress so quickly that you cannot wait to use the epinephrine. Neither of us realized it was anaphylaxis at the time :cry:

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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