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How to deal with an allergic reaction - do we need an Epipen?

(7 Posts)
scampidoodle Thu 02-May-13 21:48:03

My DS is nearly 3 and has a milk allergy. We're usually very good at making sure he doesn't have milk products but about 4 months ago I accidently gave him something with milk protein in (powdered coconut milk - never imagined it would contain it but don't know why I didn't check). His reaction was worse than ever - he was having difficulty breathing, scratching all over and screaming. In the past his reaction has been a milder version of this, wheezing and scratching (except the screaming, which has always been bad). He has a ventolin inhaler for asthma symptoms unconnected with his allergy and antihistamine medicine, originally prescribed to help him stop scratching his eczema. I gave him the medicine and just kept giving him the inhaler (with short breaks) until he could breathe more easily, which took quite a while.

We saw the Paediatrician a few weeks ago and I asked what I should do in future if he has a reaction like this, as it was very frightening and I'd almost called 999 as it was so bad (I probably should have done). She mentioned an epipen but then said to give the antihistamine first, then 4 puffs on the inhaler and call 999 if he wasn't getting better after that. Does that sound right?

I was about to take his inhaler out of the bag I leave with the childminder and pre-school as he's now on a preventer so shouldn't get wheezy generally, but then I realised he would need it in case of an allergic reaction. The pre-school have a big thing about not giving medicines and I'm concerned that I need to be clearer with them (and the CM) about what to do if he does have a reaction.

Any advice appreciated.

adv115 Thu 02-May-13 22:14:04

Crikey, you must have been v scared. Ds had a severe reaction to egg a few weeks ago. He's 7 mths. He started ballooning, but other than that all symptoms v similar to what you've described. We came away from hospital (I dialled 999) with an epi pen and a written action plan which is to administer piriton in the first instance and then epi pen if he doesn't improve. From my admittedly v limited experience I think you should request a plan in writing so that Pre-school are clear on what to do and I would also push for a clear and reasoned decision as to whether he should have an epi pen or not rather than having it mentioned in passing then dropped. There were mixed views on it when ds was in hospital but they went with it in the end. Good luck...

ukey Fri 03-May-13 02:13:52

from how you describe the reaction I think you should go back to GP for advice, ask for referral to allergy clinic, as it does sound like a severe reaction esp as he also has asthma. Always best to have a reliever inhaler available at all times anyway, even with asthma is well controlled as u never know when asthma could flare up.

scampidoodle Fri 03-May-13 14:18:10

Thanks for your replies. I will go to the GP and ask for another opinion.

We get a written report after the consultant appointments, and I think the bit about giving the antihistamine then the inhaler, then call 999 is in the last report, so I will copy this and give a copy to the cm and the pre-school supervisor. If the GP suggests anything else/prescribes an epipen, I'll ask for everything in writing so I can pass that on.
I don't know why I haven't done this before - he hasn't been going to cm/preschool very long so it didn't really occur to me as I know they're both really careful about what he eats.

freefrommum Fri 03-May-13 16:19:57

Just wanted to clarify that coconut milk does NOT contain cow's milk protein and therefore unless your child is allergic to coconut, then it couldn't be that which caused the reaction, there must have been something else. My DS is severely allergic to milk but has no problem with coconut milk.

scampidoodle Fri 03-May-13 19:35:39

Hi freefrommum - I know, it usually doesn't, that was why I never checked the packet. This was powdered coconut milk, the brand is Maggi and the ingredients include milk protein. I've still got it and have just checked.
I don't know why I didn't check when I bought it, as I usually check absolutely everything, but usually the tins are fine, plus I'm sure he's eaten this cooked in a curry before so he may only have reacted because it was uncooked (I'd made some truffles with it at Christmas so he could have some treats and chose the powdered stuff so I could make it nice and thick like cream).

freefrommum Fri 03-May-13 20:02:59

Sorry scampidoodle, I misunderstood your original post I thought it was a food product (eg curry) that contained coconut milk powder rather than just coconut milk powder which contained milk, ifyswim.

Don't beat yourself up about not checking it, no matter how careful we are, there are always going to be the odd slip up. Had a similar mishap myself last week due partly to bad labelling (am pursuing with Food Standards Agency as doesn't comply with EU laws) but partly because I was in a rush to get to work sad

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