Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

Anaphylaxis: Being Prepared

The new year is a time to start fresh and focus on your goals for 2011. All those things you said you would do last year and never got the chance to do can get back on your New Year’s resolutions list. Maybe you haven’t been so good about keeping your epinephrine with you all the time. Or, maybe you’ve been relying on your parents to make sure you are prepared to treat an allergic reaction. Make it your New Year’s resolution to change!

We’ve all had experiences that we look back on and think about how we could have handled it differently. Here, TAG member Nick, age 15, who is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and other foods, recounts one scary experience with anaphylaxis, how he handled it, and what he learned from it.

“I once was at a basketball game and I started to feel my throat tighten a little, but I thought it was my asthma. I continued playing. After the game, I realized I was itchy all over, and my throat was closing. I grabbed my epinephrine pack, but all we found in it was my auto-injector and no antihistamine. We rushed home, and I was itching like crazy. We finally got home, and I knew I could barely breathe. My dad decided to give me the epinephrine, but I refused. He pinned me down and stuck it in my leg; I soon felt immediate relief, but I had to go to the hospital. If I had to do it all over again, I would have repacked my epinephrine pack with antihistamine after I used it prior. I would have left the game. I also would have not fought the auto-injector, and I would have given it to myself right away. The epinephrine auto-injector saved my life, and now I know to not be afraid because the needle didn’t even hurt.”

With the start of a new year, make a resolution to take care of YOU! As you’ve just read, mistakes can happen to anyone. If you make a mistake, learn from it, figure out how you could have handled it differently, and share what you’ve learned with others.

We wish you a safe and happy New Year!

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