Children With Severe Food Allergies
Lately I’ve been thinking about children with severe food allergies, and ways to successfully discuss severe food allergy symptoms with kids. It’s so important to decipher what a child is going through if they are describing a life-threatening reaction, so I began searching online to see what I could learn.
I found this amazing stop-motion video on Youtube that I wanted to share. Like someone mentioned in the comments section, it’s a non-threatening way to portray anaphylaxis symptoms such as face swelling and dizziness, and it even includes the correct place to inject an epi-pen!
The play-dough stop-motion video seems geared more towards children who are old enough to read, but I found lots of other resource videos for all ages on YouTube, so I encourage you to search around for yourself.
What got me thinking about this topic in the first place was a post from the No Nut Traveler, one of my favorite allergy blogs to follow. On their Facebook page they had a post covering the many ways children may describe their allergic reaction symptoms. I thought this was very important, so I took a screenshot of it, because of the difficulty and inability children may have describing their symptoms accurately. I feel like discussing this topic is a more recent development in the allergy community, one that wasn’t a discussed topic when I was a child, or possibly even in 2012 when the above article I quoted was written, so I’m glad it is being talked about now to help catch signs of a severe reaction in a child.
The FB post:
I’ve written the same bullet points out on how kids describe allergic reactions to food:
- Food tastes like something is wrong with it
- Food is spicy, tongue is burning
- Bump or something poking tongue
- Tongue or mouth itches
- Hair in mouth or on tongue
- Lips/tongue/spit feels big
- Rocks/bone/frog/something stuck in throat
- Bugs in ears
- Eyes itching, burning, or leaking
- Eyes going in and out and dark
- A sense of doom, “something is wrong”
- Tummy hurts, feel sick, ate a volcano, bugs in stomach
- Body feels heavy, stuffy, or hot
National Library of Medicine – NIH Results
I also came across this 2012 article on the National Institute of Health that had a chart comparing adults symptoms of anaphylaxis compared to children. It states, “Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis for adults and children are summarized in Table 1. Although cutaneous symptoms predominate in adults, the primary presenting symptoms in children are respiratory in nature (e.g., wheezing, shortness of breath). In addition, cardiovascular symptoms tend to be less common in children (17 %) than in adults (30 %–35 %).”
I found this interesting, even with it being somewhat outdated, it seems respiratory issues are most common in children, and I absolutely had this same experience as a child. I was diagnosed with asthma and always felt wheezing coming on as the primary symptom of a food reaction when I was a kid. My symptoms have definitely morphed over the years as I’ve gotten older, so I’ve attached the table in case you’re interested:
Out of the same article, I pulled another piece to consider, “In studies evaluating parents, only 48 % of parents could identify more than one symptom that would require use of epinephrine, and only 43.5 % reported receiving education regarding their child’s food allergy and management of his/her reactions.” They include a basic management of anaphylaxis table, shown below:
This anaphylaxis in children article is lengthy, but covers a lot of ground, I recommend reading it. I learned statistics I wasn’t familiar with before.
Please feel free to share either the YouTube video, No Nut Traveler FB screenshot, and/or this blog post to help spread awareness. I’d be interested to know if you’ve discussed food allergies with children, and how those conversations went. Feel free to start conversations in the comments portion!
And again, thank you readers for all the continued support! XO!