Ella Kane is a regular 6-year-old who loves doing regular 6-year-old things, but like an increasing number of kids these days, little Ella has allergies.
"Guinea pigs, goats, horses, cats, dogs, nuts," she says.
But unlike most allergies, Ella's peanut allergy can be life-threatening, producing a condition called anaphylaxis.
"She will just stop breathing. Her throat will close up, she won't be able to get air," said Ella's mother Heather.
Doctor Eileen Talusan-Garcia is an allergist. She says allergic diseases are becoming more common, but they don't know why.
"The prevalence of allergic disease has seemed to have gone up over the past few years, but the reason for that is not entirely clear," Dr. Garcia said.
Dr. Garcia says only 10 in about 100,000 people may have this anaphylactic reaction.
"Avoidance is key, so identification of the triggers will be important. And then, once we have identified the triggers, then a certain plan of action should be carried out."
Dr. Garcia says common triggers include peanuts, shellfish, medications or insect stings.
Symptoms to look out for: hives, rash, redness or itching. They may even progress to throat construction, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and in more severe cases, drops in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and even shock.
Dr. Garcia says if that happens, an EpiPen must be administered immediately. An EpiPen holds Epinephrine - a medicine used specifically for anaphylaxis.
Heather has never had to use the EpiPen on Ella, but Angie Snapp has had to use it on her daughter, who is also allergic to peanuts.
"It's just something we have to deal with. So we always carry the EpiPens. We make sure they're at school. Any time she goes anywhere, we just always have to be prepared," Snapp said.
Snapp is a teacher in the Lubbock Cooper Independent School District and her daughter, now a freshman, has been going to Lubbock Cooper schools since kindergarten.
Snapp says she has always felt safe sending her daughter to these schools because they have a detailed anaphylaxis action plan.
Kristy Rose, RN & BSN, is the coordinator of health services for Lubbock Cooper ISD. She says they really step up and manage food allergies among their students.
"We want all parents to come and talk to the nurse and rely on that nurse because our nurses are great here at Lubbock Cooper," Rose said.
The Lubbock Cooper allergy management plan is available on their website at http://www.lcisd.net/pages/LCISD.
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