skin test allergyWe had a REALLY big event in our family last week – my eight year old Avery who has severe food allergies passed a baked milk challenge! Woot!

Avery has had food allergies since she was a baby, diagnosed at 12 months. Each year she has IgE blood testing to see if her allergy sensitivity increases or decreases. It’s one way to monitor if she will be able to outgrow any of her allergies. Her allergists have suggested that she may, someday, outgrow her milk and egg allergies – although the allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish will likely be lifelong.

The milk numbers have continued to drop each year and this year her allergist said he was comfortable with us performing a baked milk challenge.

It’s not uncommon for children with a milk allergy to be able to eat milk baked into food at a high heat. “Recent evidence suggests that 70–80% of children with IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy will tolerate baked milk products.5 Furthermore, children with milk allergy who tolerate baked milk products may outgrow their milk allergies faster than those who cannot tolerate baked milk,1” according to a published study, Predicting Food Challenge Outcomes for Baked Milk: Role of Specific IgE and Skin Prick Testing.

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Dog and child on a scale in the ER

Ruby and Avery at the emergency vet hospital. The bandage on her leg is covering her IV catheter while we transferred her from one vet to another.

Did you know grapes are toxic for dogs? I had seen it on a list of people foods that are bad for dogs, but never imagined we’d have a grape emergency when we first brought our little pup Ruby home.

We usually only eat at the table, but a bowl of grapes was accidentally left unattended in the living room. I came around the corner to find Ruby with her little face in the bowl, but I couldn’t tell if she had eaten any since she didn’t have any in her mouth at the time. Still, my heart sunk, knowing it was possible that she had eaten some.

Luckily, I knew grapes could cause a serious problem, even death, for dogs. And luckily, I had a magnet on our fridge with the number to the emergency vet clinic in the Twin Cities, Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service. I called right away and they confirmed grapes were very dangerous and we should try to get Ruby to vomit as soon as possible. It turns out that even a few grapes can cause some dogs to go into kidney failure. We tried an at-home option of using hydrogen peroxide, but unfortunately it didn’t work. So Jason took Ruby to the emergency pet hospital.

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epipensMany people are afraid to use EpiPens in an emergency because they have needles. But the fact is that EpiPens are super easy to use. They are called auto-injectors because they already have the medicine in them and you basically just need to point and push to give the medicine. No measuring medicine or dealing with syringes.

My daughter has severe food allergies and carries two EpiPens with her on a belt whenever she leaves the house. I make sure to train anyone who will be watching her on how to use the EpiPens in case of a food allergy reaction.

Last night we were using expired EpiPens to practice as a family and reacquaint ourselves with what it’s like to give an EpiPen injection. I also wanted to make sure everyone understood the new FDA instructions to hold the EpiPen for only three seconds. My daughter wanted to demonstrate for all of you how easy it is.

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Love this so much. People are people and we need to embrace everyone and show compassion – no matter their size, gender, color, religion, etc.


updated patient instructions for EpiPen

Updated EpiPen instructions – click on the image to enlarge.

There is really big news for anyone who carries EpiPens, or spends time with someone who carries an EpiPen or EpiPen Jr.

Mylan reached out to me as a blogger via email to help get the word out. For those of you who like to double and triple-check your sources, you can also find this information on the FDA website and FARE just published an update as well: Updates to Instructions for Epinephrine Auto Injectors.


The EpiPen device has NOT changed, but the instructions on how to use EpiPens have changed. I’ve highlighted changes in the image here (quick and easy way to see what’s new). Below are more details provided by Mylan (the pharma company which markets and distributes the EpiPen):

1. Hold patient’s leg and limit movement during administration

Lacerations, bent needles and embedded needles have been reported when epinephrine has been injected into the thigh of young children who are uncooperative and kick or move during an injection. In order to minimize the risk of injection-related injury when administering the epinephrine injection to young children, caregivers are advised to hold the child’s leg firmly in place and limit movement prior to and during injection.

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