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dd given her epi pen today for first time

(19 Posts)
notsofarnow Mon 15-Sep-08 21:16:35

dd 16 reacted today to nuts - not sure how but was in school common room and reacted. Breathing became difficult, school rang my df because I was in work and said they thought she was having panic attack - she asked had she been near nuts and did she have her epi pen? They didn't know so df said she would go get her.

She took her to GP no gp in building so said to take her to a&e she got mile down road and lips swelling, pins and needles, hands in spasm, hyperventilating. Was opposise ambulance station where df works so took her in there. Off duty paramedic gave her her epi pen, salbutamol and hydrocortisone. An emergency crew were called who took her to a&e. They gave her piriton and sent her home.

She is knackered still has high pulse - from epi pen.

But they siad they don't know how much was reaction and how much panic, so now we're in position of not knowing if allergy getting worse or if she just fearing worst when she does react and then going into panic. Hosp have said if it happens again try and get her to a&e without giving her epi pen so they can assess if it is true anaphaylatic or not.

She has never had epi pen before has always been ok just with loratadine apart from one occasion when she had nebuliser from medics.

So if she didn't eat nuts and this was cross contamination from someone else how do I get school to make it nut free. Would anyone listen to me or not?

DesperateTooDyson Mon 15-Sep-08 22:04:36

That sounds so scary for you and your dd. Thank goodness your df sorted it all out..

I guess you need to have a meeting with your dd's Head to discuss the situation. If they will not make the school nut free (can secondarys do that?), then it might be worth discussing the reaction among her friends, making sure they know what to do if your dd reacts to something. Also, to ensure dd carries an emergency pack with all her meds at ALL times, clearly marked with what to do.

I hope this was a 'one-off' for your dd.

notsofarnow Mon 15-Sep-08 22:09:48

unfortunately don't think its going to be a one off, she has been reacting to nuts for 3 years, started off as eating things and getting itchy throat and itching all over and now progressed to this. This is the worst that she has had though. I don't know if they can make a secondry school nut free - it's a big ask i know, but what if she reacts so badly that somehing drastic happens - how will people feel then.

Emergency pack good idea, she generally just carries epi pen round with her.

Think will put paper bag in too for when she hyperventilates.

williamsmummy Tue 16-Sep-08 10:59:04

its normal to panic when you have an allergic reaction. lip swelling isnt often a cause of a panic attack.
Sometimes panic is there for a very good reason.

some random ideas to think of trying,...........
go over treatment plan with your daughter.
( sitting down when reacting, not going to loo on own, body position when reacting,asking for help, getting help to her etc)
practice with a trainer or out of date epi/ana pen.

ask her to teach a couple of her best friends how to use the epi/ana pen.

senior school doesnt need to be peanut free,( and certainly this is not possible) however its worth asking to see the school protocals on this area.
certainly the school should be, after this reaction, open to your enquires.
They should have phoned for medical help themselves , THEN contacted family and friends.
Have they been fully informed of your childs allergies?
do they know what to do in a allergic reaction?

As for the hosptial.............how long was the observation period after treatment?
where you informed about the risk of bi-phasic reactions?
Was precautionary oral steriods given to make sure airways remain clear , in case of bi-phasic reaction?

wb Tue 16-Sep-08 11:10:05

Fwiw, I do NOT think you should try and get her to A&E without using her epipen if a future attack includes lip swelling and/or breathing difficulties. Better safe than sorry.

DesperateTooDyson Tue 16-Sep-08 12:37:24

My ds carries a pack wherever he goes that contains his epi-pen, piriton, inhaler and hydrocortisone cream. Luckily, he rarely has to use any of it but is handy when we are away somewhere as is always ready to go.

I completely agree that school should have sought medical assistance themselves. I would want to know why they didn't.

Good idea to scrutinise their protocols and check on their training for dealing with anaphylaxis.

Even if the school is unable to 'go nut-free', could there be a discussion of this problem in an assembly so that other pupils are aware of the problems some pupils might face if nuts are consumed on the premises. It would not need to focus on your dd, just a more general talk.

I hope you get a supportive response from the school as I'm sure that will help set your mind at rest.

tinytalker Tue 16-Sep-08 15:04:49

How scary for her and for you.
Has she been tested to check what her specific allergens are?
I have a friend who had a severe reaction to shower gel because it had some nut oil in. You might need to start checking her toiletries. Body creams can often contain nut oil, as can some crisps/snacks.
I do think you need to have a meeting with the school to work out a course of action should this happen again. I ended up researching and writing my own for the school.
It is definitely worth talking to your daughter and her friends so that they can respond to any reaction quickly and without panicking.
Best of luck.

tatt Tue 16-Sep-08 22:48:03

are you sure that some of the kids didn't throw nuts at her to see how she would react? I have heard of this happening at more than one school and she may not wish to tell you.

I have seen one report of an apparent anaphylactic attack from someone who tested negative to nuts. However if lips are swelling that is normally an allergic reaction. She should have piriton not loratadine as it acts faster. She should be given that immediately she has a reaction and the epipen when breathing is difficult. An ambulance should be called when she has problems breathing as it is a medical emergency.

It is very rare for someone to die from epipen use, it is more common to die from not using one promptly enough. There is no way she should wait until getting to hospital to use her epipen. I believe its possible to test for the cause after an attack but very few hospitals know how - ask the anaphylaxis campaign as I may have got that wrong.

Totally agree with williamsmummy. You can't make any school nut free but you can have better care when something goes haywire.

tatt Tue 16-Sep-08 22:59:45

just an afterthought - that paramedic seems better informed than the hospital as they did all the right things! I'd guess that by the time she got to the hospital the epipen had reversed the reaction and they were just left with a distressed teenager. Please try to reassure your daughter that epipnes are very safe and more effective if given quickly. DONT tell her to wait, it could kill her.

marz Wed 17-Sep-08 20:31:52

I wonder if you have heard of the Anaphylaxis Campaign? there is a helplie and I spoke to a great person who talked me through why they do not believe that making schools nut free is the way to go...it creates a false sense of security. But you do not need to be a member to phone, you really could get some good advice from them though. Also they have a lady who goes to schools and can talk to staff and pupils about anaphylaxis (specifically to make sure that they know signs and symptoms and what sort of action plans they might have etc) and this might help you at least deal with the school issue.
Sorry I cannot do fancy links....but here is the site http://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/
and the helpline no is on the home page. Please phone them, it looks like you could do with the support from them, and good luck!

notsofarnow Thu 18-Sep-08 06:22:11

Hi all thanks for your responses. Took her to GP yesterday as she was still feeling pretty rough. She talked her through what a panic attack does as it seems that gave her more problems than the attack itself (understandibly) The fact that her hands were in spasm, and her face was numb and pins and needles indicates that she was having a panic attack.

GP says epi pen will do no harm as you have already said.

Problem with school is that now she is 6th form she is based at 3 different schools, so I think i'm going to have to ring the three schools. I agree that they should have called an ambulance but they said they made judgements on how she was how on earth a child having difficulty breathing doesnt need an ambulance is beyond me.

will try the anaphalxys website thanks all

tatt Thu 18-Sep-08 09:24:57

schools often don't understand allergies. You may want to get the school nurse to talk to each school - certainly to the one she was at when she had the attack. The Anaphylaxis Campaign produce a good video which our school nurse showed to the school. Each school should have an agreed protocol telling them what to do.

I guess that a panic attack would generate adrenaline in the body - fight or flight reaction. So it may have saved her life this time.

Please keep telling her that while attacks are frightening if she uses an epipen promptly it will be more effective. When she can feel her breathing improving she won't panic. Better to get the adrenaline promptly from the epipen and get a measured dose smile. Many people dislike needles so she may need a lot of encouragement /support/training.

Do you keep out of date epipens and practise on apples or oranges?

Hope you are OK - this can be a very stressful time for the family.

tatt Thu 18-Sep-08 09:29:31

reading your original message again I'm not sure - was she carrying an epipen or has she not been prescribed one before? If she doesn't have one and your gp doesn't want to prescribe one then you must see a specialist.

notsofarnow Thu 18-Sep-08 10:36:00

yes she does have an epi pen did have it with her, just picked up 4 from pharmacy so that one can go in each school. will try ringing school nurse.

taniashort Fri 19-Sep-08 08:14:54

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Growing up with allergies is hard and it sounds like your experience here is a great warning to us all to get up to date on procedure.
I do believe, however, that it is critical to get to A&E after using an epi-pen - just ordering an ambulance as soon as you know it's serious. Often a second epi-pen is needed as a more severe reaction can occur after adrenalin wears off (c. 10-20 mins in my son's case). And so it's important to be monitored to a while in a safe environment.
I'm really into better safe than sorry at the moment!

tatt Fri 19-Sep-08 08:35:22

In a way I think you are focusing on the wrong issue. The school's reaction was extremely poor and they need to be better trained. However your child will leave school in a few years and they have to learn not to panic when they react but to use their epipen promptly. As much as we'd all like it to be different you can't guarantee there will be someone sensible with your child when they have a reaction. Have you asked why they didn't use their epipen?

The Anaphylaxis Campaign run sessions for teenagers. You don't have to be a member to attend and it would be worth taking your child quite a long distance to go to one. They will meet other teenagers with allergies, including posibly those who have used their epipens themselves. They may have a practise session. For a teenager nothing beats talking to other teens/ young adults about their allergy problems.

We have a trainer pen and also save out of date epipens. Our child with nut allergy has to practise regularly in the hope that when a reaction comes along they will not panic and will use the epipen straight away.

mera2 Fri 10-Oct-08 14:28:38

i really feel for you what a scary situation, it may be a good idea to contact your local parent partnership officer, they are employed by the Local authority to independently help parents whose children have special needs. however when i worked as one i also worked wth parents whose kids had medical needs. the officer will help you prepare for meetings get in touch with the right people and prevent you having to deal with this on your own.get in touch with your education department and they should give you the contact number. your dd's situation is an awful worry for you and you need answers and a thorough medical care plan to be implemented in future. good luck, i am thinking of you.

christywhisty Fri 10-Oct-08 16:09:11

The Anaphylaxis Campaign *do not* recommend nut bans

There is a lot of good information on Allergy In Schools website

Ripeberry Fri 10-Oct-08 16:13:26

At our first aid for childminders they said that schools and pre-schools MUST have a box with clear instructions and sypmptoms list with an epi-pen.
The box should be kept somewhere accessible (with school secretary) and it should be labelled with the child's name and photo.
The OP needs to give the school a box with the above in it.

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