Emergency visit for peanut allergy due to misread labels – Dr.Vivienne Guy, ND

Heads up to everyone. I just spent last night in the emergency room at the childrens hospital here in Ottawa. My son was given a chocolate bar as a halloween treat from a person who knew about his peanut allergy. She read the label and saw that stated. “May contain traces of tree nuts”. My son knew he wasn’t allergic to tree nuts, so it was determined that he was safe to have that treat.

halloween peanut

A few minutes later at home, he mentioned to me that his tongue felt weird. I didn’t think to look at the chocolate bar wrapper in the garbage as an adult had read it already and she knew that he was allergic to peanuts, so I didn’t have to double check…right??? WRONG.

45 minutes later he was doubled over in pain at the dinner table, again I didn’t immediately react as I thought it was just hunger pains as dinner had been a little bit late. But the pain persisted and so we called the adult and left a message, “so…I know you didn’t give him peanut, but we’re wondering what you did give him as he is pain right now” a few minutes later, the call came back and “oh my god, I am so sorry, it has peanuts in it”. And off to the ER we went.

So…..peanuts weren’t in the warning in bold after the ingredients, as this is the precautionary section for the times where in a factory the product may have come in contact with a particular food. The mistake was that the person thought that all allergens would be listed in bold, but no……the peanut was an actual ingredient in the product so was listed in the regular print in the ingredient list..

Please read all ingredient labels thoroughly. A life could be at stake.

We were lucky, we had emergency care right around the corner, and my son received many medications including an injection of epinephrine, steroids, and more. We needed to shut down the allergic reaction in many organ systems. By the time we got to the ER his skin was blotchy, his mouth was itchy, his stomach hurt, his breathing was laboured. We were lucky that his response wasn’t deadly.

One little error, one avoidable little error. And dismissing symptoms because we weren’t expecting them and our guard was down.

Again, please read all ingredient labels thoroughly. Please react to any sign from your child that they are having a reaction…itchy tongue, stomach pain. A life could be at stake.

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