It is truly heartbreaking when any child has a fatal allergic reaction to food. Recent media stories have underscored the vigilance necessary to keep food-allergic children safe and the need for increased community awareness and additional treatment options.
With children heading back to school, now is the perfect time to remind parents, teachers, school nurses and administrators that a child can have an allergic reaction at any time, in any place and that everyone should be prepared. Epinephrine (usually in the form of what’s commonly called an “EpiPen”) is the most common treatment for children experiencing a severe allergic reaction. It is important to remember that the timing of epinephrine treatment after a reaction, the expiration date of the dose and the proper storage of the injectable epinephrine to maintain efficacy are vital to a child’s outcome.
If the epinephrine administration is delayed, if the medication is expired or if it is stored in a hot environment for prolonged periods of time, the injection may not work effectively enough. We want to remind families who have children with food allergies that they should continue to carry injectable epinephrine at all times and make sure all caregivers are comfortable with epinephrine administration. Be sure to also keep prescriptions current and properly store the medication.
Texas Children’s offers a Food Allergy Clinic that specializes in the treatment of food allergies in children of all ages. Our clinic can help diagnose and treat children with all sorts of allergies.
We have much work to do and will continue to move forward in our mission to increase food allergy awareness, develop state-of-the-art food challenge protocols, discover more accurate tests and ultimately find a cure for food allergies! Until that time, please make sure that your child’s epinephrine treatment is available at school, current and stored properly.