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Lessons From a Teen Food Allergy Tragedy

Allergic Living has advice on how to respond to a severe allergic reaction, particularly when to administer epinephrine and seek emergency medical treatment.

At first she didn’t show any symptoms and her mother gave her a dose of antihistamine; but in 20 minutes the systemic reaction began. Her father, a physician, gave her three doses of epinephrine, but it wasn’t enough to stop the rapid-fire chain of events. She began vomiting, her throat swelled to the point where she could no longer breathe and she went into cardiac arrest. She died in his arms.

Natalie’s story has spiked fears among Allergic Living’s readers, in particular parents of children and teens with food allergies. It has also raised questions about just what to do in case of an accidental allergen ingestion, so we turned to two experts for answers.

The key takeaway: you can’t always be sure a mild reaction will stay mild, because it takes time for the body to absorb the food. I was fortunate enough to survive learning that lesson, exactly one week before Natalie Giorgi’s death. All I lost was an afternoon and the $200 co-pay for the emergency room. It could have been so much worse.

In related news, we’re going to be doing the FARE Walk for Food Allergy again this year to raise funds for food allergy research and education. In addition to promoting awareness and research, they’ve been working on increasing availability of epinephrine in schools and providing resources and training for parents, schools, healthcare providers, restaurants, food manufacturers, etc. If you’d like to contribute, here’s our fundraising page.

Originally posted in two overlapping posts on Tumblr (which included the quote) and Google+ (which included the fundraising appeal).

No More Origin Stories

It’s bothered me for a long time that movie studios seem to think the only story worth telling about a superhero is the origin. You get a trilogy if you’re lucky, then back to another origin take. It would be like only ever running the pilot of every TV show even though they’re designed to set things up for an extended run. Or, I don’t know, remaking the prologue of Les Misérables over and over again without ever going further with Jean Valjean.