Allergic reactions sending more kids to ER, doc says
You may be surprised to learn one of the most common reasons kids are sent to the emergency room.
Besides the everyday cuts, sprains and high fevers, medical professionals are seeing an increased frequency of severe allergic reactions, according to the division chief of the Pediatric Emergency Care Department at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold.
“Almost once a shift or once every two shifts, I’m having a severe allergic reaction patient,” said Dr. Sanjay Mehta. “It does seem to be increasing in the last couple years.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight foods account for 90 percent of serious allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.
Kids’ bodies can also react harshly to insect bites and new drugs. Mehta noted the antibiotic penicillin is the most common culprit among medication.
And while the pure volume of cases is bothersome enough, Mehta said what’s most troubling is the fact that parents and caregivers aren’t picking up on symptoms quick enough, or acting quick enough when symptoms present themselves.
A recent blog post from Mehta noted delays in getting medical attention can lead to severe complications. Allergic reactions can be fatal.
The bright side is they can be easily treated as well.
“The treatments are amazing,” Mehta said. “They work so well, but the key is diagnosing the problem.”
Symptoms can progress as time goes on, making the first 4 to 6 hours crucial in getting a handle on the issue. Symptoms range from hives to vomiting, from difficulty swallowing to mental confusion.