1. Health
Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

1st Grader Dies from Peanut Allergy

By January 5, 2012

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A first grader in Virginia, with a history of an allergy to peanuts, died at school after having a severe allergic reaction.

When I first heard about this case on the news this week, I thought they were talking about the student in Chicago who died from a peanut allergy last year.  That child died at a school lunch party when she was served Chinese food that was contaminated with peanuts, even though the school knew about her peanut allergy.

Unfortunately, this was another incident and another tragedy in the news.

The seven-year-old in Chesterfield, Virginia told a teacher that she had "ate something bad" and she was taken to the school health clinic, where she passed out and went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics took her to a local hospital, where she was soon pronounced dead.

The child was not given an epinephrine shot, that is expected to stop this type of severe allergic reaction, because they did not have one for the child. Although the child reportedly had an allergy action plan on file at the school, it seems like there was confusion about her EpiPen. While it is reported that her mother tried to leave one at the school, she was reportedly told that they already had her medicines.

Whatever what wrong, this tragedy is a good reminder about how serious peanut allergies can be.

If your child has a severe food allergy, does he or she have a food allergy action plan on file at school? Do you have all medications that your child might need in case of a severe reaction, which might include an EpiPen, Benadryl, and an albuterol inhaler?

What precautions are taken so that your kids aren't exposed to foods to which they are allergic?

Does your school have a regular school nurse? Unfortunately, fewer schools have a full-time nurse at their school, even as kids face rising medical problems, such as food allergies and diabetes, which might increase the risk that problems can occur.

Related:
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Peanut Allergies - A Tale of Two Cities
School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act
School Health Forms

Comments
January 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm
(1) starM says:

I would sue that school! I doubt she FOUND a peanut on the ground. I would want PROOF of what my daughter ate and question everyone immediately!!!!

SCHOOL LIES IMO

January 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm
(2) speech therapy frankfort, il says:

So sad to hear something like this that could have been prevented.

January 11, 2012 at 7:35 am
(3) MNgurl says:

As a parent of a child with a severe peanut allergy, I strongly urge parents to fight for their child. If the school didn’t accept the epi pen there must have been a reason. Was there an action plan with doctor’s orders?
I talk to everyone at school about my daughter’s allergy, they all know what to do and when to do it. I provide action plans from her doctors and send emergency medicines to school.
I still worry and wonder how her days go. I have done my best to educate her. That is what I can do for her- once she leaves me, I have to trust her and the people around her. It’s frightening at times.
I am very sorry for this little girl-I hope other parent’s will learn from this and to take allergies seriously.

January 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm
(4) Angie says:

As a parent of an 8 yr old girl with a casien and whey allergy, I can unfortunately understand how this occurred. My daughter’s allergy, though fortunately not life threatening, is sometimes taken very lightly by the school. They might not inform a substitute teacher about her allergy, and it only takes one well-meaning parent sending in treat swearing that there wasn’t any “milk” in the rice crispies…but never thinking about the butter, to send her system into overload. The same thing easily happens with peanut allergies…even if the school is vigilant about no peanut products used in the lunchroom, and safe hand washing procedures are in place, it is scary to think how easy it is to have an accident-a piece of candy a friend shares…etc. We send our babies to school and have to ultimately rely on them to know what is safe for them to eat and what is not.
I am truly sorry for the grief of this little girl’s family and friends.

January 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm
(5) Sarah says:

So sad but just another reason to Homeschool.

January 26, 2012 at 8:13 am
(6) Philip says:

Truely this incident is very unfortunate! Sometimes its very hard to control children of schoolgoing age due to the quriosity they develope especially on snacks and candies.
Though the school administration with the fore knowledge on this could have avoided this by sharing information with the other teachers especially whn the children were to go ouy.

October 24, 2012 at 1:57 am
(7) Aaron says:

Thank you for this…It makes me think how one has to carry items for protection with ones self….for such allergies.Its not as if we should depend on others for our life but be informed and protect oursleves.Im so sorry for the girl.

November 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm
(8) Kita says:

I have a daughter that just turned 4 with Asthma, peanut, treenut, seseame seed,and lima bean allergies and I fear this happening everyday. I order my daughter a medical ID and it was $75 it seems like a lot but its a small price to pay for a piece of mind. I pray this never happens when my daughter starts grade school and I will fight for her to have her epipen with her at all times. I am currently looking for nut free school for her to attend, not all states offer these special schools. My prays will be with this family.

May 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm
(9) nancy gilmore says:

I raised a child with peanut allergies. This was horrible. But she is 6’2″ tall and still strugle with allergies. Peanuts are not all she was allergic to it’s all the foods in that family.corn, nuts carbonated water will trigger a reaction.

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