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Allergic Reactions May Require Extra Epinephrine

Serious allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening and may require immediate emergency treatment with epinephrine. Children with food allergies are often given an EpiPen to carry with them at all times, so that a sudden attack can be treated.
Now research shows that effective treatment frequently requires two shots. A review of cases treated in two Boston hospitals show that 12 percent of the youngsters with severe food-induced anaphylactic reactions required more than a single dose. The foods most likely to trigger such a serious response included peanuts, tree nuts, milk, shellfish, fish, and eggs. The children’s reactions often started with a rash and itching and proceeded quickly to swelling, nausea and vomiting and trouble swallowing and breathing. The investigators recommend that children with severe food allergies keep two EpiPens with them wherever they go.
[Pediatrics, April 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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