Sunday, June 3, 2012

Safety and Security

Everyone with a peanut allergy is afraid of anaphylaxis, which can happen when the allergic person is exposed to one of their allergens. Anaphylactic shock happens very quickly and it can be deadly. When someone goes into anaphylactic shock, their body reacts by releasing chemicals and it is the natural reaction that causes the potentially deadly anaphylaxis. The scariest part of anaphylaxis is the speed in which it happens. Once the chemicals are released, the airways narrow and breathing becomes difficult, blood pressure drops dramatically, hives develop, and vomiting can happen. The deadliest part of anaphylaxis happens when the air ways narrow and blood pressure drops. If you or your child has a food allergy to peanuts, an EpiPen could someday save your life. A friend of mine went on vacation to Toronto (they were from the States) and her daughter had a reaction in the hotel. They went to their room and within moments, her daughter could not breathe. She suddenly completely stopped breathing and passed out dead cold on the bed. They were so lucky that her husband had the EpiPen with him, because if he had had to run out to the car, their daughter would have died. He stabbed the shot into her leg so hard that he actually bent the needle on her little thigh, but he saved her life as the epinephrine immediately forced her back into consciousness. Since they were from the States, they were unaware of what to do with her at the hotel. Her husband grabbed the four year old and carried her as he ran to the front desk. The employees called 911 which brought a fire truck and ambulance to the hotel. They spent the day at the hospital, while the doctors made sure their daughter would be alright. She ended up being fine, but they left Toronto and drove home, ending their vacation before it even started. Since people with food allergies cannot be home all of the time, it is extremely important for them to be aware of their surroundings and prepared for the worst. My friend reported that the hotel room was immaculate and there was not any food in the room, but since it only takes 1/44,000 of a peanut kernel, literally the DUST of a peanut, it could have easily bee peanut residue from the previous lodger. To this day, their daughter carries a small purse everywhere she goes, even in her public school classroom. The purse contains her EpiPen, Benadryl, and her inhaler of Albuterol. If you are an adult or older teen with food allergies, you should let your friends and those who eat with you know that you have food allergies, especially if they are the type to cause anaphylaxis. In 2011, actor Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman) was eating with friends Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan when he suddenly went into shock. Neither woman knew that he had a severe food allergy to many different kinds of nuts, so they had no idea what to do when the shock began. Had he told his friends that he had a food allergy, they would have been able to help him by injecting an EpiPen or making sure that their food was free of nuts or other allergens. He was rushed to the hospital and had to stay overnight while the physicians made sure he was stable. Knightley and Mulligan were caught completely unaware and did not know what to do. It turned out that there were traces of nuts in the food that Garfield ordered. Experiencing anaphylactic shock is extremely frightening for the person who is in shock, but it is also incredibly frightening for the people who are watching. It is a great idea for those with tendencies towards anaphylactic shock as a reaction to a food allergy like peanuts, milk or eggs, to tell their dining companions about their food allergies, so if something horrible happens and the people who could help you are totally unaware. Knowledge is power and if you are dining away from home, make everyone knowledgeable when you are dining away from home

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