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Remembering a Tragic Loss: The Importance of Vigilance and EpiPens for Peanut Allergies

During a sleepless night, I was suddenly and abruptly reminded of a former classmate who passed away unexpectedly due to peanut allergies. This prompted me to share her story, hoping to raise awareness about the importance of being cautious and vigilant when it comes to peanut allergies. It's crucial that we are mindful of what we serve to others, especially if we are unsure of their allergies, as it could be a matter of life and death.

It had been a long night and when I finally thought, I was going to fall asleep, my mind wandered to a person whom I knew during high school. This person had tragically passed away due to an unexpected allergic reaction to peanuts during a church camp. To make matters worse, it wasn’t the presence of peanuts themselves but rather a Rice Krispy treat that was given to her which was somehow contaminated with peanuts that caused her to go into an anaphylactic shock. From what I was told, it all happened so quickly that no one at the camp could save her or look for her EpiPen, and by the time the paramedics arrived, it was too late.

Although I did not know her very well, I knew she was a talented singer, dancer, and actress. At our high school, among other things, she was in choir and theater, and part of the Young Americans, where I got to know her more and perform on stage with her. I remember that she was very kind and talented and she was a few grades above me so I looked up to her. Despite the fact that it had been many years since I had thought of her, I was suddenly overwhelmed with memories of what happened to her. Unfortunately, I could not recall her name, but was certain that it contained an 'L' and a 'B.' My mind kept returning to names such as Laura, Lauren, and Laurie, with Benson being the only last name I could recall starting with a 'B.' After much contemplation, I resorted to a Google search, ultimately finding her name to be Laura Keiko Benson. Somehow, it had been ingrained in my memory, but the reason for its sudden resurgence in my thoughts remains unknown. But I decided to share this story to keep her memory alive and remind others of the importance of EpiPens and vigilance in preventing peanut allergy tragedies.

Peanut allergies can be life-threatening, and prevention is the best approach to manage them. Here are some tips on preventing and helping with peanut allergies & make sure to seek advice from an allergist:

  • Avoiding peanuts: Avoiding peanuts and peanut-containing products is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction. Read labels carefully and ask about the ingredients in foods before eating them.

  • Early introduction of peanuts: Recent research has shown that early introduction of peanuts to infants can help prevent peanut allergies. Speak to your pediatrician about when and how to introduce peanuts to your child.

  • Education: Educate yourself and those around you about peanut allergies, their symptoms, and how to respond in case of an allergic reaction.

  • Carry epinephrine (Epipen): People with a known peanut allergy should always carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them in case of an allergic reaction.

  • Seek medical attention: Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone around you experiences an allergic reaction. This may include breathing difficulties, swelling of the face or tongue, hives, or other symptoms.

  • Manage cross-contamination: Avoid cross-contamination of peanut-containing foods with other foods, utensils, or surfaces. Clean cooking equipment and surfaces thoroughly before and after preparing peanut-containing foods.

  • Avoiding high-risk situations: People with peanut allergies should avoid high-risk situations, such as eating out in restaurants that use peanut oil, or attending events where peanuts or peanut-containing foods are likely to be present.

By taking these steps, you can help prevent peanut allergies and manage them more effectively. If you or a loved one has a peanut allergy, it's important to work with your doctor and take the necessary precautions to prevent and manage allergic reactions.

About Epipens

EpiPens, also known as epinephrine autoinjectors, are available by prescription from a doctor or other healthcare provider. They are typically used to treat severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. However, it should be noted that even after using an EpiPen the patient should seek medical attention because the effects of the epinephrine can wear off.

How to Use an EpiPen- Learn the proper way, you might help save a life!

To obtain an Epipen, you can visit your doctor or allergist to get a prescription. Once you have a prescription, you can purchase Epipens at most pharmacies or online retailers.

Here are some links to online retailers where you can purchase Epipens:

It's important to note that the availability and cost of Epipens may vary depending on your location and insurance coverage, so it's always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to determine the best options for you.

*In Memory of Laura Keiko Benson*


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