1. Health
Daniel More, MD

Girl Dies at School From Peanut Allergy

By January 12, 2012

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A 7-year-old Virginia girl died last week as a result of a severe allergic reaction to peanuts. Apparently, the girl had been given a peanut (or peanut-containing food) from another child while on the playground. The girl developed shortness of breath and hives and sought help, although apparently no treatment was given at the school. When emergency medical services arrived at the school, the girl was already in cardiac arrest. She was taken to a local hospital where she was declared dead.

This sad story will surely bring up the question of whether or not peanuts should be banned from school. There are other questions that arise -- such as the availability of medicines at school for children with medical problems -- such as injectable epinephrine. And, whether or not that medicine was prescribed by a physician for a specific child, or if that medicine is available for "general use". This could lead to multiple problems, especially since most schools don't have a nurse or other healthcare professional on staff, who would have the ability to recognize and treat a medical emergency. The most important take-home lesson from this tragedy is to ensure that if your child has a life-threatening medical condition, such as food allergies, to have an action plan in place for school officials to follow should an emergency occur.

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