Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When Something as Simple as Peanuts Becomes Deadly

       Today, as I was going thru the news, I was deeply saddened to read about Natalie Giorgi.  She was a 13 year old teenager with peanut allergy who recently passed away due to her body's reaction to the allergen. Coincidentally, this story came out just 4 days after my friend's son (who also have peanut allergy) was rushed to the hospital for breathing difficulties after tasting a pork BBQ in a restaurant.  They later found out that marinade used had some traces of peanut in it.  Thank God the later was fine after an epinephrine shot.
 
        When I first read the story at Yahoo, I was extremely bothered by some of the comments.  So instead of typing anything,   I decided to look for a more detailed article online.  Finally, I was able to see this from the Sacramento Bee. 
 
2W30ALLERGY.JPG
Photo courtesy of Sacbee.com
 
    
            As I am writing this, my body is still filled with goose bumps.  Okay, here's a quick disclaimer.  I am not a medical professional, allergist or a declared expert when it comes to food allergies.   I am just a mom who happens to have children with multiple food allergies.  One of them has anaphylactic tendencies.  Whatever I'll write from here onwards are just my opinions most of which are based from my experiences. If you have issues on how to cook or bake gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and peanut free food though, ask away and I'll share my countless tips and recipes.  Are we clear with that?
 
         Anyway, after reading the article which pointed out that the parents followed everything by the book.  Just like my allergist has reminded me a hundred times.  First sign of itching or a reaction --- Benadryl.  Within the 2 hours after consumption, if there's tightness around the throat or trouble breathing - 1st Epipen shot and call 911 for an ambulance.  If there's no relief after the first shot, use the second Epipen.  Still, they weren't successful in reviving their daughter.
 
          I am so thankful and blessed that I haven't reached a point where I needed to  use that Epi-pen.  I can't imagine how scared and powerless the parents had felt seeing their child struggled to stay alive.  Holding the body of a supposed to be perfectly healthy child is incomprehensible.  
 
          The two incidents about the accidental ingestion of peanuts and their outcome made me realize that:
        1. One can never be too prepared.  It is necessary to have the required medications at all times.
        2. Epi-pen or Epinephrine is a tool that helps treat the symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction.  Take note, I emphasized the word help.  As what I've discussed with my children's allergist, Epi-pen is not a cure.  As with all medications, it also has side effects that can be severe or fatal to some people.
        3. Avoidance is always the best way to prevent a reaction.  As pointed out to me by our allergist, "One can never tell how the body will react when exposed to the allergen at a particular time.  It can be a simple bump, upset stomach, eczema after 2 days or even no reaction at all.  However, the possibility of a fatal reaction is always there."
 
            With that being said, education is a must in order to have an allergy friendly environment for everyone.  The exact cause of food allergies is still unknown.  Yet the rate of people with food allergies is growing significantly.  According to the recent statistics by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). 1 in every 13 children  (under the age of 18) has a food allergy.  That doesn't include undiagnosed children and even adults.
 
            I may not know Natalie or her family personally but we do have something in common which is Food Allergy.  May stories such as hers enable other people to understand the severity of allergies.  That to some, simple things such as peanuts are indeed fatal.  It is not a fad diet or an act to look special.   It is a matter of survival. 
 
           Can I ask you a favor? Will you join me in prayer for Natalie and those who have  food allergies?  Also, will you help me spread awareness about it? 
 
            Thanks a bunch.
 
- Roz 
         

15 comments:

  1. Very well said. I will join in prayer for Natalie's family. Several members of my family suffer similar extreme reaction - not to peanuts - but with the same severe results.

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    1. Thanks Luella. I also pray for your family members as well.

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  2. Thank you for all this information. I do not directly deal with food allergies in my family but I do have a granddaughter with Juvenile Diabetes. Sometimes monitoring her blood sugar and administering insulin is scary and there is always that emergency dose in her bag if she goes too low and passes out....it is all scary no matter what the illness!

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    1. I'll keep your granddaughter in my prayers as well. It always bothers me when I hear about children who have to undergo so much stress and most people, even grown ups feel aren't aware that it is happening.

      Oh, the book The Cure by Timothy Brantley has some points about health and healing. He has some ideas on Diabetes that might be helpful to your granddaughter.

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  3. Praying for sure...thanks so much for sharing this. The judgment of armchair experts is no comfort for parents who are doing everything they can to help a child. We have adopted children with attachment issues, and while they are completely different from allergies, we also deal with a lot of criticism and quiet judgment from people who don't understand or think we are overreacting about things. Parents know their kids best, though. :)

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    1. I hope your children will be able to adjust really soon. Sad to say but it is always easy to judge if one isn't on the same footing or scenario. As what my often reminds me, "Be thankful you're not on that situation. God's purpose for you is to help."

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  4. there are many others who are severely allergic to peanuts too. here in the school systems peanut butters are not allowed to be brought in at all. I send my condolences to Natalie's family.

    Thanks for sharing. <3 from your newest bloglovin follower at http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/6632563

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    1. That's great that your school system already banned peanut butters. I have heard so many stories that some schools even give parents a hard time for a simple request like washing hands after eating.

      Thanks for following. I'm still learning my way at bloglovin :)

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  5. Replies
    1. I totally understand you. I was crying when I first read it because my children are food allergy kids too. It was just the comments I read afterwards that inspired me to write about the topic. We really have to be aware about it.

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  6. very well written!! A friend of mine has two small children with severe food allergies and she is always trying to stay on top of things. So sad and praying for Natalie's family :(

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    1. Thanks Kim. I hope your friend's children will outgrow their allergies soon. As a mom, it really gets scary once the kids get older and most are not as aware about the effects of food allergies.

      If your friend needs some ideas or would like to share her experiences, please hook me up. :)

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  7. Thanks for sharing this story although I know what it is like to have a child with food allergies. My daughter is allergic to nuts and dairy products. What scares me is now that my daughter is fifteen she is doing more activities where I am not there. We do not allow her to go to a conference in Florida, because I feel like the adults don't completely understand her restricted diet.

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    1. I feel for you Mechelle. I noticed that it is harder to educate grown ups than young kids. In my son's Kindergarten class for instance, I have noticed that his classmates tend to be more watchful on what the grown ups are distributing to them. They often ask right away if it is okay for my son to have it because he has allergies.

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  8. I have a daughter with peanut allergies too - fortunately she has never had a severe reaction -- but even so you never know - the next one could be fatal.

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