1 in 13 children suffer from an allergy. I never thought that was a huge number, but as FARE says, that’s “roughly two in every classroom.” My family has never really struggled with their health. Sure, as my grandparents got older their health got worse, but that’s just age catching up. There’s never been any heart conditions passed on, or asthma, or allergies. It wasn’t something I ever thought or worried about. Not even when my children were born. I just assumed they wouldn’t have any of these health issues since there’s never been any in my families history, and most allergies and other health conditions are passed on through genes.
So when a family friend told me her kid had spontaneously developed an allergy to lactose I was shocked. We bumped into each other at the supermarket.
I was looking for some Red Vines and she was browsing the gluten-free section. I said hello, how are you – the normal spiel for when you bump into a friend. I wasn’t expecting much more than a fine, the family’s god, how are you; what I got was a story that was so mildly horrifying I immediately went online to find out everything I could on allergies and allergy prevention after she left.
The long and short of it was she noticed her kid had started to get constant stomach aches, strange hives and rashes, and it culminated in throat swelling after a couple of weeks. It wasn’t until her son was freaking out at breakfast that he couldn’t breathe properly that she realised something serious was up.
She rushed him to the ER and after an epinephrine injection and some general freaking out by everyone, they had a diagnosis for a lactose allergy. The thing is, most kids actually outgrow lactose allergies, so her son developing one when he was 10? It’s actually not that strange, but it was strange enough to her that she got her other two children tested.
They were in the clear thankfully, and she was happy that her son was alright. But it got me thinking about mine and after my research, I decided to go get my kid tested as a precaution.
I’ve never been so happy to be cautious or to have run into someone when shopping.
As it turns out, my kid has a peanut allergy. Who’d’ve thought? Not me! I know what you’re thinking, how could a peanut allergy slip under the radar? It’s so dangerous, surely you’d’ve noticed by now.
Well, the thing is, we don’t really eat peanuts in our house. I don’t like it, my husband doesn’t like it, my kid doesn’t like it. We don’t buy things with peanuts in them. So adjusting to a peanut free life wasn’t really difficult for us.
The only things I was shocked to find out was the symptoms of allergies, as I had just thought that if someone was showing these signs they had food poisoning or something. So, here’s what happens when someone has an allergic reaction and the steps you should take to treat them.
Food allergies symptoms
- Hives or rashes
- Swelling of the tongue and throat (Anaphylaxis)
- A strange feeling in your ears
- Increased heart rate
- A feeling of impending doom
- Facial swelling, especially in the eyes
- Running nose, streaming eyes
- Sniffing, sneezing
- Vomiting, stomach pain
Peanut Allergy Treatment
There are two main ways to treat allergic reactions. One is administering an epinephrine injection, a shot of adrenaline that most commonly is known as an EpiPen, which relaxes the throat muscles, essentially stopping the symptoms of anaphylaxis before they can become life-threatening. You should use an epinephrine injection if someone starts to exhibit any of the symptoms above. Medical help should be called as well, as someone will need to follow up medical attention.
The second way to treat allergies is by using Antihistamines. This a drug that helps suppress histamines, the thing that your body produces when they come in contact with an allergen it needs to fight and causes you to have the allergic reaction. They can be used on their own for mild reactions, or in tandem with an epinephrine injection.
Please don’t take allergies lightly. They’re something anyone can develop at any time, so if you think you or a loved one could be allergic to something, go get tested! It’s simple and easy and could save their life.