new member of the family

We are an epi pen family now.

Epi pens – the self administering, pre dosed, ‘shots’ of epinephrine (the company calls it “Auto-Injectors”) most frequently for the treatment of acute allergic reactions to avoid or treat the onset of anaphylactic shock.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epinephrine_autoinjector).  Epi pens are not a ‘treatment’ for the reaction, they are a band-aid measure to allow you to access care.   Who, you might ask, in our little family has a life threatening allergy and might be in need of immediate access to a medication to prevent anaphylactic shock?

At the end of July Daddy and the boys were fishing and Little got his first ever bee sting.  His thumb swelled immediately.  Daddy administered Benadryl and watched him.  Within 30 minutes his face was starting to swell.  We took him in.  We live with a balance, we are rural and have to weigh the “going too soon” “unnecessarily” vs being caught too far out from the hospital in a real emergency.  So we, as always, decided to error on the side of caution and took him to seek care.  First we went to urgent care, with the RN told us to take him to Blanks ER.  We inquired about the hospital ER next to the urgent care; but the RN felt we needed to go to the Pediatric ER.

We arrived, the triage nurse looked at him and he was quickly taken back, I do not know if care is always that fast or it was his reaction motivating them, I think it was the latter.  Little quickly had an epi shot, and they started an IV.   His face continued to swell for a time and he became quite ill.

We ended up with him being admitted because the reaction was still persisting despite multiple does of Benadryl and the steroids.  He spent the night and came home on 3 more days’ worth of steroids.  The Pediatrician attending him on the floor made it quiet clear that we should expect if he is stung again for the next reaction to be faster and more serious.  We were instructed if he is stung again to administer the Epi pen and take him to ER without waiting to see what the reaction is going to be; just give him the shot and go.

He is fine, and was never at risk of not breathing, but he did have a serve reaction.  The doctor at the hospital was confidently his next reaction would be faster and stronger.  So now, everywhere Little goes, we have to carry an Epi-pen.  Also all the adults in his life have been “trained” on the pen and correct usage; the company provides a practice device with the prescription pens; and that has been nice, to actually handle a mock injection.  We got him a cute bracelet to wear any time we are out and about, especially if when he is not with Daddy or me.  He is practicing saying “I am allergic to bee stings” and we have a designated pack and place for the Epi pen.  Actually we have 4 pens; one for the home medical kit, one for Daddy’s backpack, one to go with him every place he goes and a 4th as a spare or to give to the school if he dual enrolls again.

Right now we are deal with a lot of generalize fear in him about bugs; and I have to admit I never notices how many bees and other flying stinging bugs our flowers and garden attract.  Nevertheless, we will all find our footing (and never again put the sand box by the flower bed) with this new normal.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “new member of the family

  1. You and me, Sister. Epi-pen has been a family member here for 4 years now for the very same reason with Henry. Henry gets huge hives, his lips start itching and he has asthma attacks with it, just like my dad does. We found this out the hard way at the 2008 SD State Fair. We were exhibiting our goats in the fair and the stall we chose for our gear and “napping cots” ended up having a yellow jacket nest in it (they are actually a wasp, look like rather large bees and are extremely agressive, plus they are drawn to sugary foods and to meat scraps.) Henry was about 3 years old and managed to spill root beer (regular, not diet) down the front of his shirt. He got stung 5 times, mostly on his belly, arms and neck. (Wouldn’t you know it was the 1 day I didn’t have benedryl with me too!) The Show Superindendant had to drive me across the fairgrounds to the ER station (which admin. serval goodly doses of benedryl and a cortizone shot, plus children’s motrin for pain and inflamation) under the Grandstand in his golf cart while a fellow exhibitor babysat Charlie. One of the goat kids, Lily-Rose, was also stung the same day (the day before the show) and had the same allergic reaction as my human kid. (Several weeks earlier, a 1/2 sibling to that goat had been stung several times by yellow jackets, he went into anaphlactic shock and died on me.) Immediately after fair (since fair is always on Labor Day weekend), we took Henry in to the Ped. Dr.to get Epi-pens and also to the vet to get a epinpherin shot kit to keep in the barn for the goat as well (it was weird that we had two barnyard animals w/ the same issue, but the vet said that it could run in particular bloodlines in animals, just as it does in people.)

    A couple months later we ended up using Epi-Pen on Henry, while we were in Colorado arranging an auction of hubby’s grandpa’s farm machinery… but no for beestings. Charlie poked a stick into a fire ant nest and pissed them off… Henry toddled by obliviously and got attacked and was bitten by at least 50 of them at once.

    Ants, Bees, hornets and all types of wasps have pretty much the very same venom. The differences being that a honeybee ( and I think hornets too) can only sting once, then they die… wasps can sting multiple times from the same bug… and ants deliver the venom via a bite rather than a sting (and can also bite more than once.) Tiny sugar ants rarely bite, but I would try to keep Little Brother away from any medium to large ant species as well as all bees and wasps. Also, go to your local “farm & feed” type store ASAP and buy at least 1 large can of (Country Vet) Instant Knockdown CV-80D Farm & Dairy Spray (for flying insect control). This an “industrial Strength” version of Raid ( I find that Raid doesn’t do a darn thing to kill bees and wasps, but is okay on mosquitos, spiders and fleas)… Instant Knockdown is pretty much what it states it is… it will incapacitate a wasp or bee in an average of 30 seconds and kill it in about 2 mintues on average. It’s handy to have around with an allergic child, if for example hubby’s mowing and stirs up an underground nest or muddaubers build a nest under the eaves of your garage, or while our are out gardening with the kiddos. It’s also handy on flies of all types, beetles, crickets, lice, roaches, moths, ants, etc.

  2. Also check with the allergist about having him take a TBSP of locally produced ( and unpasturized) honey as a theraputic treatment. My mom’s best friend (who was a bit of a hippie) used to swear by that as a treatment that reportedly lessened the severity of allergic reaction to both local pollen allergens and to stings. I don’t know if it will help LittleBrother or not with his sting reaction (although might be worth a try to prevent it getiting worse, if it also makes the hayfever stuff better too), but it does seem to help my boys’ hayfever quite a bit. I’ve not tried it on Anna yet, as she’s still too young for raw honey. I don’t recommend honey as a replacement to Epi-pen, but wondered if it might help prevent the reaction from escalating on a sting allergy, a constant consideration for parnets who have kids with life threatening allergies.

    I had a pretty serious allergy reaction myself last night, on the way home from Rapid City (on a visit to see Charlie). Not sure if it was from some sort of air-borne allergen (I do notice that my sinuses go into over-drive everytime we are out there and I know that I have a fairly strong allergic reaction to sagebrush and alfalfa)…. or if it was something that Subway put in their pureed avocado topping (MSG or a seasoning or an additive that prevents browning… or the avocados themselves???) that Anna had on her little sandwich??? (Charlie has a severe reaction to bananas, and banana trees are closely related plants to the avocado tree… but this doesn’t happen everytime I eat an avocado… so that’s weird). My lips & face began itching, my nose was running and I started having asthma attacks about 20 minutes after supper (took 6 puffs on my inhalor to get that under control). We got home around 11:30 pm at which point i took some benedryl. My lips still feel weird today.

  3. Auntie Roo

    Grandma Earleen is alergic to what great grandma Ruth said was raw honey and had a bad reaction when she was young. I told you I had several bad reactions of large areas of swelling when I was under the age of 12. I have not been stung since, and make sure I am never where I can be stung.

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