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”
I now live in Duncan BC on Vancouver Island (yippee!) When we moved here however so many people joked about the island sinking into the ocean following an earthquake…dun dun duuuuu! Even though I am not a believer in the island sinking theory I must admit that earthquakes happen here and we need to be prepared. Not just for earthquakes but for any emergency, after all they are called emergencies for a reason. It’s not called a scheduled disaster or a planned “let’s see how well everyone can do during a fire”. Emergencies happen suddenly and without warning. My kid’s school has asked parents to provide a “Comfort Kit” for each student in the event of an emergency in which kids are separated from their parents for a prolonged period of time. This got me thinking about how my family would react to a sudden emergency and if we were prepared for the unexpected. So are you prepared?
If you think you are that is great, your ahead of most. If you are like the rest of us you probably have been meaning to pack a “go” bag or store up on supplies, but just keep putting it off. Well here is your nudge. I am going to give you a list of things to put into a “go” bag in the event of an emergency. As well as some tips that you may not have thought about.
In most cases you will want to fill a large backpack with enough supplies to get you through 72 hours. Remember that you will need enough for everyone in your household so add more or take some away depending on your number. It’s also a good idea to have more than one. You may want a bag in your home and your vehicles, remember you may not be home when you need it. Even if you don’t plan on having a “Go Bag” it is a great idea to keep First Aid Kits in your home and all vehicles. Ok here is the list of supplies for a 72 hour Emergency Preparedness “Go Bag”:
Fill a large backpack with the following:
- Tent (small and light)/ Large Tarp
- Blanket or compact sleeping bag
- Duct Tape (can use to secure a shelter or almost any else!)
- Poncho/Rain gear
- Gloves/Hat (for warm and cold weather)
- extra pants and warm shirt (you can cut them incase of warm weather)
- extra socks/ boots/runners (I would opt for boots as they will hold up better in wet or cold conditions)
- Body warmers Reflective Blankets
- Headlamp/Flashlight (extra batteries)
- fire starter/ lighter or matches (the light anywhere kind)
- Glow Sticks (dollar store sells)
- Swiss Army Knife (with can opener)
- Copies of ID (Drivers License, passport, birth certificates, SIN, Medical Care Card)
- Copy of Immunization Records
- Copy of Marriage Certificates
- Photo of Family
- Recent photo of kids
- Extra Cash ($50-$100)
- Pencil and small note pad
- USB with any other important documents. Insurance policy, photos of home and contents etc.)
- Cell phone and charger (wall and car)
- Water! Potable ready to drink. At least 1 gallon per person per day for 3 days.
- Reusable bottle (Nalgene etc..)
- Walter filtration tablets for purifying water once you run out. (Coffee filters are great to strain any debris that may be in the water before you use the filtration tablets.)
- Headlamp or flashlight (extra batteries)
- Fire starter and matches (light anywhere kind)
- glow sticks
- High calorie and energy food like power bars, protein bars, granola bars
- Meals-ready-to-go are also good
- beef jerky, dried fruit and non perishables that are light to carry.
- packets of re-hydration powder (Gatorade) to mix in water.
First Aid Kit
- Emergency First Aid Kit. You can purchased one from the Red Cross or you can make your own. Your kit should include at least the basics:
- Sterile Gauze
- first aid manual
- medical tape
- scissors, gloves, tweezers
- triangle bandage
- pocket mask / barrier device
- medications extra medication for each member of the family for at least 7 days. Such as inhalers, heart medications, epipens (take a photo of the prescription in case you lose the bottle).
- Radio with batteries
- Leash/Collar with ID and contact info
- Any medications
- Zip lock bags (large)
- garbage bags (ground sheet/ poncho etc.)
- bug spray/ sunscreen
- Toilet paper, sanitary napkins, baby wipes.
- Small and light games for kids (cards, travel game)
This is a suggested list, you can add or take away to customize it to you (for instance if you have a baby you will include diapers and formula). Hopefully you will never need it but if you do you will be so happy you took the time to prepare this for you and your family.
Another amazing way to prepare yourself for emergencies is to take a Red Cross First Aid Course. I offer a variety of First Aid Training options so check out my courses page to find the right one for you.
You can also download the Red Cross First Aid App in the App Store and on Google Play.
For more information about First Aid Kits click on the Red Cross link below.
Hope this helps everyone feel a little safer and more prepared. Happy packing!