Monday, June 30, 2008

Food Allergy/Anaphalyxis Action Plans

One of the most important things I have learned in my fun and exciting journey as the parent of a child with severe food allergies, is to have an emergency action plan. I have one in the house in one of those cheap plastic frames with an epipen and benedryl attached to it. I have one at Conor's school also with his epi-pen and benedryl. It is great for caregivers, and grandparents, but even good for me. During our recent unfortunate discovery of severe cat allergies (yes, I am still trying to process that), it was very helpful for me to look at the sheet and make sure I was doing the right thing. (thankfully no epi was needed). For some reason if it is written down in cool colors with pictures and arrows, it seems more stable then what I already know so well in my panicked little brain.

When I was initially trying to figure out what to do when we were first diagnosed, I realize we needed some sort of plan. No, my doctors at the time were ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NO HELP AT ALL!!!!! (long story for another time - yes, I am still bitter). So, as I normally do when trying to feel like I have some sort of control over an uncontrollable situation, I began searching the Internet for Emergency Action Plans. Below is what I found on my travels over the Internet super highway. I hope they can be helpful, and anyone knows of any other ones, or has made ones themselves that they would be willing to share that would be great. I know there are different situations such as a combined one for asthma and allergies, and many other situations.
This is a very good action plan for Anaphalyxis from the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, and the one I happen to use myself. It makes great use of the contrasting colors, and has a really neat eye catching design. I really like the cool colors, and the very straightforward way it takes you from different types of symptoms, and what should be done in each case. At the bottom it has a nice little cartoon with pictures showing how to administer an epi-pen. There is also space on the side to put a photo of your little sweetheart, and areas for all relevant phone numbers. There is even a space for additional comments, and all of this is amazingly organized on a single page. I think I really like this one because it seems to be the simplest and easiest one to follow. Not that I think people are slow, or uncaring, or easily confused, or uninformed, or careless, or just plain ignorant, or have really short attention spans (sorry, mini vent there), but the less reading, the more colors, arrows, pictures and large print the better in my opinion.

More great options for action plans from those great Australians. Similiar to the above, but some just general, some for insect stings, etc.

This is the old trustworthy plan put out by FAAN. It is two pages long, and has no cool colors, but does have the cute epi-pen use cartoons.
Anaphalyxis action plan put out by the Government of the District of Columbia
Anaphyalyxis action plan from the American academy of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology. Makes great use of the color yellow.
Anaphyalxis Action Plan from the Twinject Auto-Injector site.

1 comment:

Jennifer B said...

Thanks for this helpful info! It is important. Life with food allergies certainly means being prepared and constant vigilance.