This month’s blog post comes from Allerpack who are specialists in providing specially designed bags for carrying medication, specifically adrenaline, allergy medication, inhalers and spacers. Found out more about them here.
The average age of diagnosis of food allergies is around one year, although many start as early as 3 or 4 months when weaning begins.
The incidence of food allergies, mainly among school-age children, has risen over the last decade. Roughly 7% of breastfed children in the United Kingdom have a food allergy. But if we consider that more than 50% of babies will be bottle-fed after the first month of life, we can estimate that the allergy incidence will be even greater.
This percentage will decrease to around 3-6% as children grow older. The main reason behind this is the natural evolution of early allergies, primarily to milk, soya, wheat or egg.
Along with this comes the pivotal intervention of allergy teams and their effort to investigate and gently reintroduce those allergens into a child’s diet.
Their intervention improves the early recognition of an allergic reaction and enables parents, teachers and any carers to administer medication early. This will often prevent the escalation of symptoms, which can lead to anaphylaxis when not done in time.
Despite the improvements made so far in recognising and treating allergic disease, anaphylaxis cases have risen significantly in the UK.
Research published recently has shown an increase of 615% in anaphylaxis cases from 1992 to 2012.
Interestingly the death rate associated has decreased. It is suspected the reason behind it is the increase in training provided to all those who deal with children. This also means that adrenaline has been administered intra-muscularly faster than before.
But for this to continue to improve and the death rate to keep decreasing, appropriate educational facility management needs to be improved. Parents and educational staff need to understand better how allergy medication needs to be stored.
How often do we see supermarket plastic bags or boxes containing allergy medication, both with parents or in schools? How many schools can say all their staff know where a child’s allergy medication is and, more importantly, how to access it? Unfortunately, the answer to this is “too often”. This is due to a lack of consistency in managing allergic disease and the need for more conversation between education staff, health staff and parents or caregivers.
So, what are the main principles of storing allergy medication, including adrenaline?
1: It needs to avoid direct sunlight.
2: It needs to be kept between 20 oC and 25 oC, although it can be kept between 15 oC and 30 oC.
3: It needs to be easily accessible.
Among those three crucial points, a particular emphasis must be placed on accessibility.
Too often, we see news of children dying as their adrenaline auto-injectors were not found or administered in time.
The best way to manage this situation and avoid unfortunate outcomes is to have a clearly identified insulated medical bag. These bags must also be placed where staff can collect them at any time.
Allerpack insulated medical bags practically address these issues, although conversation and cooperation with educational facilities are also essential parts of this process.
Having three sizes of medical bags for children, teenagers or adults, or for people more physically active, improves the options of carrying and storing allergy medication while keeping it safe and accessible.
These bags also have two transparent sleeves to place an allergy action plan and a card with the child’s medication, making it easy to find a particular child’s bag and the best way to manage their allergic reaction.
So, don’t forget to discuss these issues with staff at your child’s nursery or school, and be sure their medication is always reachable if urgently needed.