A mum has taken to Facebook to show other parents what anaphylactic shock is really like.
Julie Ferrier Berghaus took her daughter to the doctor for a cashew nut allergy test.
‘She went into anaphylaxis during the trial,’ Julie wrote. ‘It looked nothing like I expected it to look. It was nothing like they show on TV.’
Like many of us, Julie imagined that a child having a serious allergic reaction would quickly show severe symptoms and signs of distress.
But she discovered that the early warning signs can be a lot more subtle.
About five minutes after she had eaten about one-tenth of a cashew nut, Julie’s daughter began to show signs of anaphylactic shock.
‘Her first symptom was simply itchy ears,’ Julie explained. ‘She was perfectly happy, and playing still though. Then she started complaining of a belly ache. She then started to itch all over. They decided to administer her first epi shot at this point, because she was exhibiting two symptoms.’
My daughter recently had a controlled tree nut challenge at her allergist. She went into anaphylaxis during the trial. It looked nothing like I expected it to look. It was nothing like they show on…
However, after 10 more minutes, Julie’s daughter began to break out in severe hives.
‘They gave her a shot of prednisolone at this point,’ said Julie. ‘She was still playing, and not showing signs of distress. Five minutes later, she started coughing a little bit. When her vitals were taken, her BP was low and her pulse was high. Amazingly, she was still just playing.’
Moments later, she blacked out. After being given another shot of epi and an IV treatment, Julie says she was ‘lethargic and out of it for around 10 minutes, before she started coming around again.’
Julie wanted to share her experience ‘to educate people on what anaphylaxis could look like, so they don’t wait to give epi’.
‘It was nothing like we expected to see,’ she reveals. ‘It snuck up on us so unexpectedly and quietly. I expected to see choking, gasping, hear wheezing, and see her grabbing at her chest and neck area.
‘I expected the entire ordeal to be very fast and obvious and dramatic. It was actually very silent, and she didn’t show any severe trouble until very late in the game. If she hadn’t already been given meds before she blacked out, I don’t want to think of how severe it could’ve been.’
Approximately two million people in the UK have been diagnosed with a food allergy.