Archive for December, 2005

Schools Need to Learn and Teach about Anaphylaxis

Nine-year-old Brentson Duke learns about math, science and history from his home school teacher, but not by choice.

If it were up to him and his mom, he’d be with his friends at his elementary school, but a day at school could be deadly, just as it nearly was four months ago after he came into contact with just a trace of peanuts. His throat began swelling up, and before his mom could drive him to the pediatrician’s office, he passed out.

“It kind of felt like someone was choking me real hard,” Brentson recalls in a casual, matter-of-fact sort of way. “I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t.”

The article then goes on to say this…

Laura Duke said she tried to contact the school before sending her son back, but says her requests to speak with the principal were ignored for two weeks.

It wasn’t until she contacted local media and filed a complaint with Tennessee’s board of education, she says, that the school decided to help. They held educational classes for staff and students about how to avoid and manage food allergies and sent letters to parents asking them not to pack peanut-containing foods in their children’s lunches.

Are you kidding me. The principle should have been sacked on the spot for that. Unacceptable. You can’t hide from anaphylaxis. It’s a growing issue and schools have to LEARN and be TAUGHT how to deal with it.

Again some more…

A month later, Duke says she discovered that peanut-containing chocolate bars were distributed at a family night held in the cafeteria. On her doctor’s advice, she pulled her child out of school.

“It should’ve been safe for Brentson and the other children (with peanut allergies), but it wasn’t,” Laura Duke says. “Brentson could’ve walked into that cafeteria, gone into anaphylactic shock and died.”

If the school places restrictions on foods then it needs to stick to them. We’ve seen this before and it’s no less sickening each time we hear of it happening.

The best policy is not restrictions but awareness and compassion. We find that the majority of children know better than their parents when it comes to their friends issues. Truely a sad state of affairs.


Exzema is it caused by a Food Allergy?

I was asked by a friend the other day a question about their baby that has started to get exzema.

She’s got it (exzema) all over her body and at the moment she’s just being breastfed. Is there anything you could suggest? The nurse suggested using dermizine (not sure on spelling?) and having Mum avoid eating dairy. We’re trying to make an appointment to see the pedeatrian and some allergy testing place. We’ve also putting Alpha Carey on her too to try and keep her skin moist.

We agree with the nurse to avoid eating LARGE amounts of dairy. Moderation.


We just visited the GP and she gave Baby a couple of steroid creams (one strong and one mild) to wipe out the symptoms. She didn’t think removing diary from Mum’s diet was going to be much help. We’ve decided to go with that and not go to the allergy testing place or the pedeatrician for the time being and see how the steroids go.

We were always thought that steroid creams were the last resort but if they help with the pain then so be it.

Be wary of GPs talking about allergies, it’s surprising just how little most of them know. We had one GP tell us to just keep giving the allergen to our son (who has anaphylaxis to dairy) and he would grow out of it. For those that don’t know, that would be considered murder.

After talking this over with Melanie she’s come up with a few tips. Hopefully they can help others as well. These were my notes from the conversation. If I don’t write things down they get forgotten really quickly.

– Exzema can be a sign of food allergy to something in the breast milk, however DO NOT stop breastfeeding

– Check laundry detergent : try to see if there is any difference with a different brand

– Check bath oil / soaps / moisturisers (also adults creams / soaps)

– Check clothing materials / sheets (cotten is best)

– Steroid creams can thin out the skin if overused, mother at pre-school recommends Eladel (non-steroid) some can contain peanut / almond other nut oils which can sensitise baby creating nut allergies

– Check with manufacturers as exzema can idicate allergic tendancy, therefore avoid all major allergens, avoid food introduction until 6 months instead of 4 months

– Lots of tips and info on the internet
Heinz Baby Club – forums, messageboards
Covers both allergies and exzema


Parents get wish on nut-death probe – Part 2

I didn’t realise that story had 2 pages.

Mr Bracks (Premier of NSW) said that since October a new, optional short course in the administration of EpiPens had been included in staff’s first aid training.

The Baptists are unhappy with the Premier’s response, claiming the measures established for anaphylaxis management are token and inadequate. “In spite of the rhetoric there is still a long way to go to make kinders and schools safer for anaphylactic children,” Mr Baptist said. “I would have thought that if you had a child with the life-threatening condition of anaphylaxis it would be mandatory for all teachers to know how to administer an EpiPen.”

I completely agree with this statement from the parents of Alex who died in kindy.

Mr Baptist urged the Government to make anaphylaxis education a mandatory part of teacher training, to introduce legislation banning anaphylactic foods from kindergartens, to implement vigilant monitoring of food brought in, and to ensure kindergartens and schools stock spare EpiPens.

This is why we aren’t going forward with anaphylaxis awareness as fast as we should be.

If there is a child in the school that has anaphylaxis then ALL staff need to be educated and trained to indentify and administer the correct medication for the child.

HOWEVER legistlation banning anaphylactic foods. This is where you lose the battle hands down. This does not achieve the desired effect and turns 99% of the population against you. The Baptists are forgetting that there is more than just peanut allergies. What do you do for those with Wheat or Dairy anaphylaxis? You can’t do anything and to something for one and not the other is discrimination.

If you do go down that path, then you need the food police. Plus everyone’s awareness is lax because everyone thinks it’s safe and bingo someone has an attack.

It is also not the responsibilty of the school to stock spare drugs for their students. The parents should provide the school with the medication.

With one paragraph the Baptists just demolished their credibility on a subconcious level with most of the readers of the article.

However I commend them for pushing through even with the loss of their child. I don’t know what I would do should one of my children die due to anaphylaxis while in someone elses care.


Parents get wish on nut-death probe

THE parents of a four-year-old boy who died at his kindergarten from a suspected allergic reaction to peanuts have welcomed the State Coroner’s decision to hold an inquest into his death after a year-long battle to try to find out what went wrong.

The story goes on to say…

The kindergarten had been specifically chosen by his parents, Nigel and Martha Baptist, because of its nut-free policy. (The Baptists have asked that the kindergarten not be identified until the inquest is held some time next year.)

We are always saying that having a nut ban isn’t the be all and end all that parents who advocate think it is.

I will be following this inquest here as we did with Hamadur a couple of months ago.

Truely tragic when a child dies before their parents and bites close to home when they die of anaphylaxis. As it could just as easily be one of our own children coming home from school in a body bag.


Schools Grapple with Anaphylaxis

As mentioned in The Westerly Sun

Should school children with deadly food allergies be allowed to carry their own adrenaline self-injectors?

I would have thought this question would never even come up.

If a person has the need to carry an epi-pen then they have a need to carry it with them at all times.

Its not a question of if they should, but how they should.

We are about to face this dilema in 2 months time when our eldest goes off to grade 1 with a dairy, nut and egg food allergy.