Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pecan Reaction 2005

When Sophie was 3 years old, our allergist lifted his ban on certain foods for her. Because of the number and severity of her allergies, he had previously restricted her from having tree nuts, fish and shellfish, even though she had no history of reactions to them. After she turned 3, he felt that this restriction was no longer necessary.

Knowing that pecans are a favorite of basically everyone in our family, my husband and I decided to try pecans first. On an afternoon when we were both home, we gave Sophie one pecan half. She chewed and we she began to swallow, she said, “My mouth is burning!” I immediately gave her a double dose of Benadryl. Within 5 minutes, she had huge welts following her lymph track and she was struggling to breathe. I guessed that we just needed to help her breathing until the Benadryl took effect (usually about 20 minutes). Based on that we decided to administer her inhaler and followed up a few minutes later with a nebulizer treatment.

After a few ups and downs, her breathing eventually returned to normal and we were able to continue with our plans for the rest of the day. In hindsight, I think I should have administered the Epipen. She had 2 body systems reacting: skin and respiratory. Her symptoms were responsive to treatment but only temporarily; breathing difficulties resumed within a few minutes of administering albuterol. I did not have the proper equipment to be able to determine other warning signs, such as blood pressure dropping. I am grateful that Sophie pulled through—we were certainly blessed—and given another similar situation, I would just give her the Epipen and go to the hospital.

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