I teased here and here about attending a BlogHer Social Media Influencer Event in NYC.
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!
Good information, Janine….vitally important information. Thanks for raising awareness about this, and have a great week ahead.
This is all such good information! Even though awareness is being raised, I still think that people need to be properly informed! Thank you, Janine!
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
When we went to Disney this past summer, we traveled with another family and one of their kids has a severe tree nut allergy, so I saw first hand how carefully they had to order his food.
We have a nephew who we just discovered needed an EPI pen at 11! He had always been a picky eater and so his finickiness with food had saved his life! Great tips Janine and what a great event. That lunch looks like the bomb!
Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama says
This truly was such a great informative event, I learned so much about food allergies and how life threatening they can be, it really taught me to be better and more sensitive about allergies. I have even asked everyone coming to my sons bday party this weekend if there are any allergies I should know about. I am SO happy I also got to meet you in the process! 🙂
I was a camp counselor for 8 summers and each year I could see firsthand a rise in the number of children with serious food allergies. By the end we were all trained in how to use in EpiPen (which thankfully I never had to use), but it’s scary to think about, especially that your child might suddenly develop a serious allergy. Thanks for sharing, Janine!
Diane Roark says
I think my oldest son has some food allergies, but not life threatening. He has a lot of stomach issues and allergy like symptoms all the time. He is 18 now and has always been a picky eater. He has never wanted to be tested for food related allergies. He thinks it is normal to have stomach issues all the time. We know he is allergic to mold which is impossible to stay away from in locker rooms. He will NOT be playing sports after his senior year. I am hoping his problems clear up, if not it will be time to check out food related issues.
I love that you are helping to bring awareness to so be people having life threatening food allergies. I never realized how many people this affects. WOW!
Thanks for sharing!
Good info here! Lucky not to have anyone with allergies right now but you never know when they could come!
Seana Turner says
This is such an important issue, and it seems to be getting more and more common. On the positive side, awareness is on the rise, and people know what pipes are. But a chart like this one, along with the idea that we shouldn’t be scared, just be prepared with a plan, is so helpful. I don’t have food allergies in my family, but I have plenty of friends who do. I can’t imagine the anxiety of sending your children out into the world knowing that they can suffer even when they are being careful. Thanks for sharing!!
Ugh, so scary that it can happen at any point. I think about that a lot. Makes me sad. I hope awareness will ease the panic and help keep people prepared!
Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly says
I once hosted a party at my student studio apartment, and the main course was a huge chili bomb, just to find out that one of the guests had an allergy to corn. Ever since, I ask for food allergies (or sensitivities, or simply dietary preferences) when I first invite people over for dinner. Luckily, none of our children have food allergies so far, and I hope is stays this way. But if there’s someone in the house with food or other allergies that may cause anaphylactic shock, this EPI pen is what I would want to have at home. Thank you for sharing about your panel and what you’ve learned, Janine!
Chris Carter says
WOW! So much valuable insights and information Janine! Thank you for sharing all of it, because there are many things you shared that I didn’t know at all.
I’m so glad you had such a great experience and met some wonderful people too!
Kristi Campbell says
Great conference to attend!! Tucker is allergic to cashews and peanuts and probably the other nuts as well. We have an epi pen at home, in my bag, and school has one. It’s pretty scary stuff and I guess a kid died a few years ago because the teachers didn’t give him the EPI pen. It’s heartbreaking and awful. Allergies suck but at least there are things to do and awareness is step one!!!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
As a mom with a child who has anaphylaxis dairy allergies, I applaud this being shared.
We actually decided to homeschool because of my daughter’s allergies. We felt the schools and public needed way more education on anaphylaxis before we put our daughter in school. People seem to have accepted nuts and peanuts as serious allergens but my daughter’s dairy allergy is incomprehensible to many… and dairy/dairy by-products are in so many foods.
It’s these sorts of articles that increase awareness. Loved the infographic (pinned it to my allergies and anaphylaxis board.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Aunt Gloria says
Good information Janine and important to know. It is interesting that we can develop allergies at any age in life….so we can never say never and it is good to be prepared with knowledge of what to do. Christmas is coming up quickly…..I plan not to have any allergic reaction to any of the goodies! Love……
I see they really did make you feel welcome!! And I love that you got to be involved in a brainstorming session too!
I’ve heard of this before and I always think of how crazy it is that an allergic reaction can take over in just minutes! I’ve never seen a scenario when it has happened in real life but learning about it is always good for the just in case future circumstances. Thanks for sharing, Janine!
Amanda @ Growing Up Madison says
I walk around with an Epi Pen on a daily basis because I am deathly allergic to nuts. I can’t have them at all. There are a few other things that I’m allergic to but they are mild and not as bad. You can never be too careful and I’m always scared that the day I forget it at home will be THAT day.
I’m here in my hometown at JFK waiting on my flight and just had to stop by and say Happy Holidays if I don’t have internet access to say it. 🙂
My kids do not have serious food allergies but my husband is allergic to crustaceans (sad life!) so we do not cook those at home. It’s scary! We have to be careful when we eat outside the house. It sure pays to be ready!
My kids are thankfully allergy-free, but my son has friends who have life threatening nut allergies. It’s scary when a child comes over for a playdate with his epi-pen. It is so important for all parents to be educated!
I’ve never personally seen an epi pen in use, but it seems like it’s more common as time goes on. Great information.
it’s so scary all the allergies on the rise, it makes me believe even more that GMOs are pure evil. I am thankful that Dino’s allergies are not life threatening. I had to have training on epi pens when working in elementary schools…so scary.
Christy Birmingham says
Good tips here for being alert to food allergies! I also thought the reindeer sandwich was so creative! Sending you big hugs!