Health Matters

Health Matters

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Food Allergies


A growing number of people in the United States suffer from food allergies.

Last year, 150 people died from an allergic reaction.

90% of those deaths could have been prevented.

This according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Newschannel at Nine's Heather Good has more in Health Matters.

"It was very scary, especially for my wife who happened to be alone with my son when he had the severe reaction."

One out of every 13 children in America has a food allergy.

Juan Jimenez has two children, both suffer from food allergies which can be deadly.

"My son has a tree nut allergy and my daughter has a peanut allergy. We've been dealing with this since they were both about one to twp years old."

But finding out about the allergies wasn't easy.

"By accident, my daughter when she was 1-year-old at her birthday party she was eating her cake and broke out in hives and at that time we discovered she was allergic to eggs and she has since grown out of that but we since discovered that she has now a peanut allergy."

"My son, when he was 2-years-old, had a reaction to a cashew and almost went into anaphylactic shock at that time."

A serious allergic reaction is treated with epinephrine. It's a simple procedure using what's called an epi-pen and now a new program sponsored by Carle Hospital is trying to bring this life-saving training to classrooms in East Central Illinois.

"The only treatment that will stop an allergic reaction when it's happening is epinephrine, which is given by injection."

State law requires bi-annual training in schools so staff can act in an emergency, but still, some people hesitate at the thought of jabbing a needle into a child's thigh, or are concerned that the medication will be bad for the person if it isn't really an allergic reaction.

"You're not going to hurt them, you know, your body makes epinephrine, you just don't make enough to fight off your own allergic reaction when it's happening. You're not going to hurt someone with this medication and it's always better to give once too many that once not enough."

Jessup says there's no downside to using epinephrine, but it must be used quickly after exposure to any allergens.

"Death from food allergy is real. About 150 people die in the United States per year and the research has show that 90% of those deaths are preventable."

For Juan's children, it's a daily struggle becase the dangers posed by food allergies are everywhere.

"All of this is very anxiety provoking to my kids because they have to be very careful what they eat and even what they come in contact with Peanut allergies, especially even being exposed to a very minuet amount of peanut can put my daughter into a very serious reaction."

And with so many people now being affected by some kind of food allergy, parents and medical professinals alike want people to be prepared.

"We just need to arm ourselves because it is a real thing, then if it happens then we would know what to do."

"God forbid if there's a bad reaction in a school and a child's in trouble, that there will be an EpiPen and somebody who knows how to used it."

Food Allergies

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