The event, itself, was sponsored in part by Mylan Specialty, marketers and distributors of EpiPen (epinephrine) Auto Injector.
Mylan Specialty held this sponsored event to hold a frank discussion with BlogHer, Mylan, as well bloggers, including myself for better understanding potentially life-threatening allergies to boost awareness and educate us as well on this very timely and important topic.
On the whole, I want to take this opportunity to thank both BlogHer and Mylan Specialty, as not only was I honored to be a part of this day, but felt truly welcomed and came out of this experience indeed learning and having a better understanding about these types of life threatening allergies then I already knew as both being a former teacher and parent to two young girls, too.
The first part of the event was run by Maeve O’Conner, MD and licensed allergist, who brought her game with all of her previous knowledge and hands-on experience with her studies and dealings with her real-life patients.
She educated myself and the panel on true definition of Anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction, such as an itchy rash, throat swelling, and even low blood pressure. It has a rapid in onset and may even cause death.
A major component of Anaphylaxis is that it occurs in TWO or more body systems.
Dr. O’Conner also shared us the key take away for Anaphylaxis is to:
1. Know It
2. See It
3. Treat It (immediately!).
Some alarming statistics that she also shared with us during the event were as follows:
- Food allergies are on the RISE…as 1 out of 13 children now have food allergies.
- 25% of kids who have had allergy episodes at school, didn’t previously know that they even had this food allergy before said episode.
- There is no cure for these known food allergies, but AVOIDANCE is truly the first step.
But if Anaphylaxis does occur, how do should it be treated?
1. Give epinephrine (this is where Mylan Specialty and their EpiPen comes into play)…When in doubt she explained give EPI or EpiPen, which are Auto-Injectors, for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by allergens, exercise, or unknown triggers.
2. Second Call 911 or emergency (Dr. O’Conner even told us how she has taught her own child this – He now repeats back to her 911 and his name Finn (F-I-N-N) when giving their own action plan). In doing this, make sure ask specifically for an ambulance that is allowed to give EPI, because not all are allowed to!
Dr. O’Conner’s final advice to us this day was:
“Don’t be scared, be prepared!”
Basically, all should have an Action Plan just in case.
Keeley McGuire, Blogger and Food Allergy Mom, HERE, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to on one side of me during this event.
Keeley further discussed the important topic of Anaphylaxis. She made the idea of food allergies that much more real, as she is a mother to a young girl referred to as “Little Miss” (I cannot say enough how much I loved her nickname as most know I refer to my girls as The Princesses around here), who does indeed have a food a allergy.
I admit I think I loved this part of the day the most as she showcased some awesome ways to incorporate allergy friendly meals into the home, as she and her daughter make these fairly easy, but adorable meals. My girls may not have any known food allergies at this point, but others in their schools do and these ideas truly made it that much more accessible to send them into school with food allergy friendly food to keep all in their schools safe. So, I truly appreciated and valued Keeley’s input and help on this.
By the way, the meal idea she showed us how to make was a reindeer sandwich, made using Udi’s gluten, dairy, nut, & soy free bread filled with SunButter Sunflower Seed Spread & honey. Which can be found at her blog with some other Christmas advent calendar countdown lunches HERE.
I admit, I didn’t know or follow Keeley before this, but now I am truly a fan and totally following her blog, as her allergy friendly food ideas are truly ingenious and also she really is just a lovely person, as well.
More from Mylan Specialty…
Mylan Specialty, took center stage at this point, to enlighten us all to the fact that they have now gotten involved in schools with their very own School Access Program, which was developed to help improve access to epinephrine in the event a person experiences a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in the school setting. They are offering four FREE EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors to qualifying public and private kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools in the U.S. Requirements to qualify for this offer include having a valid prescription.
Because, as Dr. Maeve O’Conner’s earlier shared, of “25% of kids who have had allergy episodes at school, didn’t previously know that they even had this food allergy before said episode”, this is so very important and crucial, because there are indeed kids who never had a a reaction indeed having this happen to them at school of all places.
So, for schools to have access to EpiPens during these times is a huge and major advantage in helping to possibly save a child’s life that could be in danger and wouldn’t have this kid of intervention or help afforded to them otherwise.
Then, there was lunch (which wow to the food served!!)…
Last, but not least…
We got to know each other a bit better and brainstormed, too!
This part truly opened my eyes (and I do believe others in the room, as well).
Why you ask?
Well, I don’t consider myself to be a mom with kids who have food allergies, BUT…
I found out through this discussion that food allergies can come about at any time even later in life (Dr. O’Conner touched on this earlier, but the discussion brought this topic front and center), as one blogger on the panel shared that her brother even developed a food allergy well into his thirties.
So huge takeaway for me…
Never Say Never with Life Threatening Allergies!
Even though at this point neither of my kids have any known food allergies, never say never on this and stay vigilant as either of my kids could develop a food allergy at any point.
As scary, as this was to hear, I feel better equipped from this day, as I now know not to be scared, but to totally be prepared just in case with my very own Action Plan, which includes making sure our local schools is involved in the Mylan School Access Plan on that off chance that my own kids or even other kids in the school have a food allergy reaction and are in need of this type of help or intervention.
Also, one final note…
I hope that this helps further my readers’ knowledge on the topic of Anaphylaxis and the importance of the use of Mylan’s EpiPen for any potentially life threatening allergies for ALL.
Last, but not least…
So, again huge thank you to BlogHer and Mylan for getting me involved in indeed learning more about life threatening allergies and getting me better prepared, too!