Just before Christmas 2008 I became pregnant with my first baby. I had a really easy pregnancy with no crazy symptoms. I ate a healthy diet (except for the cookie dough blizzard and onion rings, yes together!), I exercised moderately, took my prenatal vitamins and all in all did everything you are supposed to.
My delivery was…well it was super long and painful and I am glad it is over but hey I had a beautiful (big) baby boy and the world was a wonderful place. Isaac was a great baby, so happy and easy-going (he is still that way). When he was 10 months old I thought I would defy the doctor’s advice…eeek (pause for effect), and I gave him a bit of peanut butter on his lip. We had no history of food allergies in our family and up until then Isaac had been loving all foods (He was also breastfed for a year). So when his lip turned red and he started to scratch his face you can imagine my shock and horror at what I was witnessing.
Allergies! Oh no not my kid!!!
Yep. My Kid. My perfect wonderful kid has a nut allergy, an anaphylaxis allergy. We have since had him tested (twice) and he is allergic to ALL NUTS! Now I am very aware that an allergy is minor in the grand scheme of things, I mean it is avoidable and treatable and as far as allergies go there is almost no other allergy that is as widely labeled. Everything now shows it has nuts, is nut free, or may contain traces. It’s pretty amazing really. That being said I am a mom and from the moment that test showed two happy pink stripes I have been in a constant state of worry and fear for the well-being of my child. All you parents out there know what I am talking about right. So of course I would prefer no allergies or an allergy that caused hives instead of vomiting, swelling of the lips, throat and tongue, but that is not the case.
So Isaac wears an Epipen as well as a Medic Alert bracelet (it is a cool black strap and metal ID). Whenever he goes to someones house I also remind the parents that he has an allergy to all nuts (the poor parents, you can almost see their brains trying to remember all the foods in the house that may be a probem…LOL! ) then to really make them nervous I have to ask if they are comfortable using an Epipen. Most parents are honest if they don’t know how and that is when I bust out my EpiPen trainers (Ya, First Aid Instructor!!!) and give them the demo. Isaac has also taken the trainers to school for share day and all the kids and the teachers get to practice using them. It’s cool for Isaac to show his peers how to use his EpiPen and it is a nice reassurance that if he should need it at school there are lots of people who will know how to help him.
The school that my kids go to recently sent home a brochure about the Medic Alert ID bracelets. They have a program with participating schools called No Child Without, which provides a free Medic Alert ID to any student who has a medical condition. I immediately called and they were super helpful and Isaac received a really cool looking black velcro wrist band in less than two weeks. I will include the link incase anyone wants to look into this for their child. Its http://www.nochildwithout.ca.
Isaac is now 7 years old and while we have only had two minor incidents I know the possibility is always there. We have encouraged him to always try new foods and read labels, he is super responsible and always asks about ingredients before he eats something unknown. He carries his EpiPen at all times (I still have to remind him…but hey he is a busy boy!) and I know that if he needed it he would know what to do.
So would you know what to do? Could you recognize an allergic reaction? The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis? Would you think to check for a Medic Alert bracelet? Could you administer or help someone administer an EpiPen? If not, thats ok I can help. So many people now have allergies and it is important to educate yourself on how to help, I offer many different Red Cross First Aid Courses that educate you on how to prevent, recognize, and provide care for emergencies.
You can also download the red cross first aid app there is information on allergies and anaphylaxis and how to provide care for these emergencies.
If you would like to set up a First Aid course for your staff, group of friends or club contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s not just First Aid Training it’s a Life Skill”