Tragedy Averted When Girl Refuses Antihistamine, Demands Epinephrine from School Nurse

Here is a worthwhile read from

By Dave Bloom – 2018/01/02

After first denying a student with severe peanut allergy epinephrine, a Chicago high school administration has apologized and promised a review of its procedures.

On August 30, 15 year-old Lia Sommer took a bite from a turkey pesto sandwich in the school cafeteria and immediately sensed something was wrong. Accompanied by a friend, she rushed to the school nurse, who instructed her to take Benadryl, a common antihistamine used for minor symptoms of allergic reactions.

“Lia refused, knowing from previous experience that her symptoms would be masked by the antihistamine, though the anaphylactic reaction would not be halted, and would continue to silently and dangerously escalate undetected,” Lia’s mother, Lonnie Joy told the Chicago Tribune. “Instead of following Lia’s Allergy and Anaphylaxis Plan on file in the health office, which clearly states, ‘Give EpiPen First!’ the nurse opted to have her call me to confirm before administering epinephrine, with my daughter’s life held in the balance.”

After speaking with her daughter on the phone, Ms Sommer asked the school nurse if she had followed Lia’s emergency action plan by administering epinephrine and calling 911. The nurse responded “no” to both questions.

“I was shocked that a trained medical professional was either unaware of the most up-to-date protocol for anaphylaxis or unwilling to follow it,” Ms Sommer said. “I told her administer the EpiPen and call 911 immediately. She said it would be done, and confirmed I would meet the ambulance at Northwest Community Hospital.”

When Ms Sommer arrived at the hospital, she found Lia in the ER without a representative from her school administration to accompany her.

“It is ludicrous that a minor would be sent alone to a hospital during school hours with no personnel to represent her,” said Lonnie Joy. “I am horrified and saddened by the complete lack of common sense and compassion that predicated this decision.”

“The district sincerely apologizes for our mistakes. Student safety is always of the utmost importance, and we are working with the family to remedy the situation,” said Jennifer Delgado, a spokesperson for Township High School District 214 said.
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The district has agreed to pay Lia’s medical bills. At this writing, the school nurse is still employed at the high school.

A reminder for all parents of children coping with food allergy: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made it absolutely clear in their clinical report entitled “Epinephrine for First-aid Management of Anaphylaxis”: Give epinephrine immediately when anaphylaxis is suspected.

Please be sure to develop an emergency action plan with your child’s doctor and discuss the instructions with your child’s school nurse and administration. The earlier epinephrine is administered when anaphylaxis is suspected, the better the outcome.

We at are firm believers that children deemed mature enough to carry epinephrine should be allowed to do so at school and self administer in an emergency.


Delicious Cookie Dough Bites


I bought these as a treat for my son, but the problem is, he can’t stop eating them!  Now I have to hide them at the back of the fridge otherwise he could gobble down a whole packet in one day.

These chocolate chip bites are quite expensive, but the pleasure of being able to eat cookie dough (which is often off limits to my son because of his allergy to dairy and egg) makes their price worth while.  They also come in snickerdoodle and sunbetter flavors.

Veggie Burgers


As a change from meat, we came upon these ‘supreme crispy quinoa vegetable burgers’ in The Pollan Family Table cookbook.  My very hungry son ate 3 of these in one sitting!  They are packed with plant protein from the quinoa and the beans, as well as nutritious carrots and scallions.  Plus they come with all vegetable toppings of a regular burger.  Even ketchup works well with them.

My son is allergic to eggs, so instead of using egg to bind the ingredients, we use Egg Replacer from Ener-G Foods.  This makes the veggie burgers a little looser than a regular burger, but with careful handling they keep their shape well enough.  Enjoy!


CVS Now Selling Generic Competitor To EpiPen At A 6th Of The Price

Article taken from

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) — CVS is now selling a rival, generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen at about a sixth of its price, just months after the maker of the life-saving allergy treatment was eviscerated before Congress because of its soaring cost to consumers.

The drugstore chain says it will charge $109.99 for a two-pack of the authorized generic version of Adrenaclick, a lesser-known treatment compared to EpiPen, which can cost more than $600.

EpiPen alternative (WBZ-TV)
EpiPen alternative (WBZ-TV)
CVS Health Corp., the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, says it cut the price of the generic version of Adrenaclick nearly in half. The lower price is now available at all CVS stores. The chain runs about 9,600 retail pharmacies in the United States, including several locations inside Target stores.

Related: Many Families In The Dark About Cheaper EpiPen Alternatives

The emergency treatments are stocked by schools and parents of children with severe allergies. They are used to stop anaphylaxis, the potentially fatal allergic reactions to insect bites and stings and foods like nuts and eggs.

The syringes are filled with the hormone epinephrine, and they expire after a year. That often forces patients to fill new prescriptions even if they never used the old one.

Mylan NV began taking heat late last summer for its EpiPen pricing, which climbed more than 500 percent since 2007. A Congressional panel grilled CEO Heather Bresch in September about the soaring cost, which she has blamed in part on insurers, pharmacy benefits managers and other middlemen that stand between the drugmaker and the customer.

Mylan has since expanded the financial aid it offers customers and launched its own authorized generic in December, priced at $300 per two-pack.

But patients with no health insurance or plans that make them pay a high deductible before covering care can be exposed to the full price of the drug if they aren’t aware of that financial aid or if they don’t seek it.

CVS says the new price it is charging for the Adrenaclick generic applies to both insured patients and those who pay cash without coverage. It’s what customers will pay at the pharmacy counter.

Interesting info regarding milk chocolate and peanut skin additives

Why milk chocolate may soon be as healthy as dark chocolate
By Torah Kachur, CBC News Posted: Nov 03, 2016 1:47 PM ET

Halloween has come and gone, and chances are good that most of us are still neck-deep in milk chocolate. But could the occasional candy bar indulgence actually be part of a healthy diet?

Much has been written about the potential health benefits of dark chocolate, while its sweeter, creamier cousin offers little in the way of nutrition.

But American researchers say they’ve been able to add some of the health-boosting properties of dark chocolate to milk chocolate — without affecting its taste.

Can milk chocolate really be healthy?

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, in the form of chemicals called polyphenols, that have been shown to lower blood pressure and prevent cancer progression. The problem is that those healthy compounds also give dark chocolate a bitter taste. Milk chocolate, with all of its added sugar and fat, contains little in the way of nutritional benefit.

And while some of us might have a taste for bitter, dark chocolate, consumers typically find milk chocolate more appealing. That’s where this new research comes in.

Making milk chocolate healthier

Researchers from North Carolina State University, whose work was recently published in The Journal of Food Science, took generic (and delicious) milk chocolate and added beneficial antioxidants to it.

But they didn’t add the polyphenols from cocoa because by increasing the cocoa content they would also increase the bitterness. Instead, they took peanut skins, the purplish-red skin on top of a shelled peanut, and processed it with an artificial sweetener until it blended nicely with milk chocolate.

According to a blind taste test of 80 people, the fortified milk chocolate and the regular milk chocolate were indiscernible.

Dark Chocolate
The polyphenols in dark chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure and prevent cancer progression. Milk chocolate has few of the same health benefits – until now. (Flickr / Gregory Bodnar)

“We were able to take milk chocolate and increase the bioactivity up to the level of dark chocolate without any kind of bitter taste or change in the mouth feel that consumers found objectionable,” said lead researcher and food scientist Lisa Dean.

By increasing the bioactivity, Dean says these are doses that you can actually achieve — you don’t have to eat 100 chocolate bars to see the benefits.

What do antioxidants do?

Antioxidants are chemicals that are able to absorb and mop up the reactive oxygen made as a natural product of our metabolism. We need oxygen, of course, but when we use oxygen in cellular reactions some of the byproducts can be toxic to our cells.

Put simply, antioxidants protect us from the damage that the simple act of breathing can inflict on our cells.

Plants naturally make antioxidants for a couple of reasons.

First, the bitter flavour of polyphenol antioxidants deters insects from eating them. In fact, a raw cocoa bean is practically inedible because of how bitter it is.

Cocoa Beans Raw
Raw cocoa beans are rich in antioxidants, which help deter insects from eating them. (Flickr / Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

The second reason is that the oils and fats in seeds — like peanuts — are sensitive to oxidation and can cause the seeds to go rancid. By protecting the seeds with antioxidants, the plant can increase the chance that the seed will grow into a plant.

What about peanut allergies?

The researchers have not yet looked at whether their peanut-skin additive can trigger an allergic reaction.

And while the overwhelming majority of us don’t have a peanut allergy, there is still the potential for a severe non-contact reaction to be triggered. This is a product that won’t ever be labelled peanut-free.

But one of the amazing things about this work is that peanut skins are normally a huge waste product in the roasting and processing process. Even though there’s lots of good stuff in peanut skins, they are not used in peanut butter because the oils in them have a shorter shelf-life than the rest of the peanut.

With this work, scientists have actually figured out how to turn a waste product into a value-added product that has some considerable health benefits.