(WSVN) — Six-year old Kristen Newall loves running around with her older brother Jonathan. But when she was just a few months old, her mom got a call from the nanny that changed their lives forever.
Karen Young: “Kristen seems like she’s having difficulty breathing, I said ‘What? She has difficulty breathing?'”
They rushed her to the ER.
Karen Young: “The doctor said it was a severe anaphylactic reaction, her tongue, her eyes, her lips were totally swollen.”
Turns out Kristen has a lot of food allergies.
Karen Young: “She was allergic to eggs, both the yoke and the whites, she was allergic to oats she was allergic to cow’s milk.”
When she turned three another major scare, when she accidentally took a sip of condensed milk.
Karen Young: “She could totally go into respiratory arrest.”
Dr. Gary Kleiner at Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hospital says severe allergies in children are on the rise.
Dr. Gary Kleiner: “Unfortunately, most of the time with these anaphylactic or severe allergic, occurs it’s the first instance.”
That’s why he says it’s critical to have one of these on hand at all times, an epi-pen. A pen-like device that dispenses a dose of epinephrine to stop a severe reaction in its tracks!
Dr. Gary Kleiner: “You push down into the muscle and then we say count to 10.”
Dr. Kleiner says after the shot, Call 911.
Dr. Gary Kleiner: “It gives time before the advanced responder arrives to give other medications to the child.”
Kristen knows how to use her epi-pen.
Kristen: “1 mississippi, 2 mississippi…”
Her mom keeps one in her purse and of course, in kristen’s class at school.
Karen Young: “Within seconds, somebody could die if you don’t have that first quick response.”
That’s why she and other parents are relieved to hear about a new state law that goes into effect this year.
Dr. Gary Kleiner: “Which would allow every school both public and private to procure an epinephrine.”
Karen says the law is way overdue but says it’s an important step in the right direction.
Karen Young: “For those children who are undiagnosed, this is just crucial, this is lifesaving.”
The epi-pen will be kept in a central location. Such as the school’s front office or nurse’s office.
For More Information:
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital: