I was lucky to have been a part of a blogger summit hosted by Mylan, makers of the Epi-Pen® autoinjector of epinephrine (a natural hormone) this week and to have met and listened to the informative research from Dr. Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH www.ruchigupta.com and Ms. Sloane Miller, www.allergicgirl.com speak about a survey done on, of all topics, anaphylaxis on Valentines Day. Here are the surprising findings from the Mylan press release.
The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Mylan Specialty, revealed that teens that date were significantly more likely to have experienced anaphylaxis during Valentine’s Day than those who do not date (47% versus 13%) and:
Less than half of parents (47%) talk to their child about risks posed to children with life-threatening allergies from physical contact related to Valentine’s Day, such as being kissed by someone who has recently eaten food they may be allergic to
Only 47% of parents tell their teen that when going on dates, they should tell their date about their life-threatening food allergy
35% of parents did not indicate that they remind their teen to bring his/her epinephrine auto-injector on dates
Sloane Miller, in a room full of bloggers, brought up the issue about kissing, which she addresses in her book ALLERGIC GIRL. In the past I’ve told our child, who has multiple food allergies, about kissing, but mostly, how to avoid kissing, (turn your cheek for a nice cheek kiss but now that said child has reached a certain age, it’s time to have “the talk”. Although the “s” word has been talked about and delt with, the “k” word, well, it’s time to go into detail about it again.
Since this telephone survey reports many instances of anaphylaxis occur in and around Valentines Day, let’s make sure that we have the facts. This allergic mommy has always believed that it was because of allergic kids inadvertently eating sweets laiden with their allergens. But, dare I say it, kissing can also be a contributor.
Valentines Day tools and facts:
1. On candy: Always read labels on candy – when in doubt leave it out. This includes if a candy is given with no ingredients. Agreed upon by Doctors and allergic Moms everywhere.
2. On kissing: Probably a good idea to make sure that the person one is kissing hasn’t ingested an allergen(s) for the past 24 hours, and has good teeth brushing habits according to Dr. Ruchi Gupta.
3. On anaphylaxis: anaphylaxis may include hives or redness of the skin, tightness in the throat, nausea, dizziness, breathing problems, a decrease in blood pressure and/or fainting. The only thing that can adequately stop anaphylaxis is epinephrine, which most carry in the form of an Epi-Pen® Autoinjector. If you think you’re having anaphylaxis, use the Epi-Pen®, call 911 and go to your nearest hospital. Do not delay. Do not talk yourself out of it. Go. Agreed upon by Dr. Rushi Gupta and Sloane Miller.
If all of this talk of anaphylaxis has you scared. Don’t be. It’s not having a prepared plan that should be scary. If you don’t have an anaphylaxis treatment plan, or are confused about your food allergies, talk to your Doctor or Board Certified Allergist. But most of all, you should feel confident to live your life in spite of your allergies.
Here is a video that Sloane Miller and I did featuring Chef Michael of Nizza, one of her favorite restaurants in the theater district in Manhattan. Keep watching until the end when you’ll see Sloane explain her “epi-pen®” kit, although she calls it something else, watch:
And, here’s Sloane Miller’s book trailer for ALLERGIC GIRL (disclosure: I directed and produced both the trailer and the Nizza videos.)
Other people and bloggers in the photograph at the top of this page: Caroline Moassessi, Cybele Pascal, Elizabeth DiBurro, Irene Chu, Sarah Chuck, Jenny Sprague, Joanne LaSpina, Kelly Rudnicki, Kimberly Pellicore, Libby Ilson, Lindsey Steffensen, Lisa Rutter, Missy Berggren, Ruth LovettSmith, Tracy Bush and Lauren Kashtan from Mylan Specialty.