Winter Break Worry: Anaphylactic Reactions UP?!

Yesterday, we enjoyed a wonderful link to Anne Russell’s article, “Food Allergies and Prescribed Injectable Epinephrine:  Know. Practice. Carry.  Use”.   Well, I have more interesting information to share on the holiday topic…findings from a recent online Winter Break and Anaphylaxis survey showed that 55% of those surveyed experienced an Mylan during the winter break at holiday parties and events!  To add insult to injury, less than 60% of families were properly managing or prepared for an allergic reaction!

EPIPEN_PLAYGROUNDPhoto courtesy of

Anne Russell truly challenged us to be ready for the Holidays, by addressing our fears and providing invaluable information and direction regarding epinephrine auto-injectors.  In theory, we know what we need to do, but she tackled the honest truth…we hesitate.   Mylan, the makers of Epi Pen®, took it a step farther and commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey on the topic of Anaphlyaxis during the holidays. Specifically to help us better understand if food parents were executing the suggested techniques to reduce risk of a life threatening food allergic reaction.  The report was quite interesting to me and FARE-formerly called The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network contributed to the story (see below for the full report) with suggestions for staying safe during holiday events and parties.

Epi Pen 2 packsphoto courtesy of

What struck me significantly is that I had personally witnessed many of the items the report addressed, such as parents not having access to life saving epinephrine or not ensuring hosts were aware of their child’s allergens.  Today, I will be assisting my child’s classroom with a holiday party.  I made grape caterpillars  (a sneak peek from my upcoming snack ebook) and used Enjoy Life Miniature Chocolate Chips so that if any children had food allergies I have covered as many allergens as possible.

March of the caterpillar grapes
..crawling on crushed cookies

What makes me incredibly nervous during these parties is that the parents of the other food allergic children will not be present to vet out the safety of food items being given to their children.  One child has told the teacher she has a peanut allergy, goes into great depth about how she avoids peanuts, yet her parents will not provide the school with direction or an Epi Pen®.  I have attended parties where other parents will share their child has a food allergy, but they don’t carry their Epi Pens® since their child has a “mild” allergy.  After I’ve made sure my hair hasn’t fallen out, I share, in my most gentle voice, that if the physician prescribed epinephrine then it must be important enough that they should ask him or her about if they should be carrying it all the time.  At this point, they ask me what how my family manages food allergies and thus, the conversation begins!

partiesphoto courtesy of

Read the full report below, including Epi tips on staying safe…one tip suggested tag team parenting during parties.  My husband and I employ this technique as we take turns being “in charge” as we put it.  This report reminds us of how important it is to stay diligent during festive times and it is a great pairing with Anne Russell’s article.  To be honest, I would share both stories with families and friends to help keep them on board.

epi essentials epi pen purse

Photo courtesy of Epi

The bottom line:  always carry your epinephrine, take suggested steps to creating a safe and fun environment while always being ready and able to handle an anaphylactic reaction!

Incidence of Anaphylaxis During Winter Events Highlights Importance of Adding a Preparedness Checklist to Holiday Planning (via PR Newswire)

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Dec. 18, 2012  /PRNewswire/ — Findings from an online survey released today by Mylan Specialty L.P., the fully-integrated specialty pharmaceutical business of Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL), reveal that, of those surveyed, more than half (55%) of children with life-threatening allergies…


[twitter style=”horizontal” float=”left”]

[fbshare type=”button”]

[pinterest count=”horizontal”]


  1. LindseyT says

    It always amazes me how little parents know about Epi Pens and Anaphylaxis. My daughter is the only one in her Kindy classroom that has severe food allergies and requires an Epi Pen. I have made both of her teachers aware of her allergies, there is a paper on the front door to the class with her name and allergies listed on it for a teacher reminder and to notify other parents, Epi Pens are kept in the nurses office and the nurse as well as other staff are aware of her allergies. She also wears a Medical ID with all of her contact and emergency info. I go on ALL field trips with her as well as attend all class events with her because her Epi Pens HAVE to go along with her and per school rules, she is not allowed to carry them on her own.
    Dec 13th her class had their Holiday party. It was a Pizza party and parents brought in all kinds of other holiday goodies. I went out of my way to purchase my daughter her very own pizza and made her own special goodies to take in so that she would be able to enjoy her class party just as the rest of the kids would. Everything went great until some of the other moms started making plates of the other goodies and passing them out to the kids after they had finished their pizza.
    NO ONE asked me what she could have and NO ONE gave me the opportunity to make my daughter her own plate of goodies before they plopped a giant plate of cupcakes and cookies in front of her. THANK GOODNESS she is very aware of her allergies and she raised her hand to tell the teacher. I am so thankful for everything that I have went through to make her teachers aware of her allergies because the teacher IMMEDIATELY removed the plate that was in front of her, wiped her desk down and told the other parents not to give her anything and to allow me to do it. It seriously could have ended very badly.
    That day, we also learned of another student in the class that has an apple allergy, but her mom NEVER notified the teachers of it. It is severe enough that the child probably SHOULD carry an Epi Pen but her mother does not think that it is needed because she “only” vomits after eating apples. *smh*.

  2. says

    Lindsey, thankfully, your daughter, as been well educated by you! Even better that the teacher took the plate away and spoke to the parents and treating her response as policy–which it is.

    I think one of our biggest challenges is within our own food allergy community and the parents who need more education. Your parent of the apple allergic child truly confuses the other parents.

    Our 504 plan includes one parent attending field trips and my husband will take time off of work if this is needed to keep our children safe. I know not all family’s can do this and we are grateful that we can make this work.

    Your daughter is lucky to have a great, food allergy educated Mama guiding her through life!

    Have a great weekend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *