Jan 18, 2019, 11:19:14 AM CST Mar 26, 2019, 5:02:23 PM CDT

Quick and lifesaving care for a toddler with a severe food allergy

When Hunter had an anaphylactic reaction to eggs, the team at the Children's Health provided expert care and reassurance

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When Erin received an urgent call from her 1-year-old son's daycare, she knew immediately that he was having an anaphylactic reaction. Allergic to eggs, Hunter accidentally ate part of another student's French toast.

Erin rushed to her son and found him lethargic. His stomach, back, legs and arms were bright red. His hands and feet were cold and turning blue.

It was a terrifying situation, but when the ambulance arrived, Erin did not hesitate when asked where she wanted her son to go. She directed paramedics to the Emergency Room (ER) at Children's Medical Center Dallas, the flagship hospital of Children's Health℠.

"I knew there would be pediatric specialists who had seen something like this before and would know exactly what to do," Erin says. "I wouldn't have that same confidence at any other facility."

Expert emergency care replaces fear with relief

When they arrived at the ER, the medical team immediately gave Erin a sense of assurance by calling her "Mom."

"All I could do was trust that they were going to handle it and that he was in the best hands possible," she says.

A team of emergency physicians and nurses treated Hunter with steroids and antihistamines and monitored him as the reaction subsided and the danger passed.

Hunter being held by father AdamErin's husband, Adam, was coming out of meetings at work when he was surprised by urgent text messages telling him his son was in the ER. He rushed to Children's Health. His worry was quickly replaced by a sense of relief when he saw how the team was handling the situation.

"ERs are never calm places, but here the medical staff was calm," Adam says. "They were very clear about what was happening to Hunter and what they were doing to treat it."

"From start to finish, the staff was very communicative about what they were doing and why they were doing it," Erin adds. "Every time we had a question, they were happy to answer it."

Finding comprehensive support for Hunter's food allergies

Hunter was able to return home the same day from the ER. As Erin and Adam worked to find ways to keep him safe at school and at home, they searched for support.

"Hunter has multiple food allergies, including eggs, dairy and tree nuts," Erin explains. "We already had an allergy action plan and EpiPen, but as Hunter got older and wanted to try more foods, I was looking for more options to feed him."

Hunter walking with help from mother ErinErin and Adam were referred to the Food Allergy Center at Children's Health. The Food Allergy Center focuses on comprehensive care, from consults with a registered dietitian to support from a psychologist for explaining food allergies to children.

The family met Christopher Parrish, M.D., allergist and Co-Director of the Dallas Eosinophilic Esophagitis Program (DEEP) at Children's Health and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern. Dr. Parrish updated Hunter's testing and recommended several next steps, including a food challenge. They also met with April Clark, a registered dietitian in the Food Allergy Center, to discuss ways to expand Hunter's diet safely.

"That first consult was incredible," says Erin. "It was support we had not encountered anywhere previously."

Hunter's family will continue to work with the Food Allergy Center to manage his food allergies, and while they hope to never need it again, they have confidence in the ER at Children's Health if an emergency ever occurred.

"When something happens to your child, you want the very best for them," Erin says. "We found that at Children's Health."

Learn more

The only Level I Trauma Center in North Texas, the ER at Children's Medical Center Dallas provides a multi-disciplinary team specially trained in pediatrics to manage any severe or life-threating injury that your child may face. Learn more about the new ER expansion and renovation.

The Food Allergy Center at Children's Health & UT Southwestern provides comprehensive support and treatment for children with food allergies. Learn more about our program and services.

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emergency medicine, emergency room, food allergy, patient story

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