Children's allergies

Tuesday, November 29th 2005, 10:21 am
By: News On 6

A shocking death in Canada brings attention to food allergies. A teenager died from an allergic reaction that started with a kiss. Her boyfriend had eaten a peanut butter sandwich and then kissed the 15 year old girl, she went into shock.

Deaths from food allergies are unusual, but as News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan explains, extreme reactions to common foods happen all the time.

10 year old Matt Jewell eats lunch at school in Jenks every day in a hallway. He's not in trouble. He's so allergic to what's in the cafeteria - he can't even go in there - so he eats alone. "Tuna salad, soy, applesauce, cheerios that I made, spiced and some fruit snacks."

Matt, a 4th grader doesn't seem to mind it, because he's well aware of what happens when he tastes peanuts - or even touches a dairy product. "I get hives, my heart slows down." Matt's mother, Shawna Jewell, says they noticed the allergy when was a baby - and now it's a daily routine. "For us, we read every food ingredient and we know everything that he eats."

Matt's case is extreme, but food allergies are not uncommon. For children, the most common food allergies are peanuts, eggs and milk - all of which are hard to avoid. Even though only about 1% of children have peanut allergies it's so serious that school cafeterias have stopped serving peanuts and its forced peanuts out of the classroom too.

Matt Jewell: "Everybody in my class is pretty good about it; they wash their hands a lot, and if I watch out, see something I stay away from it if it has cheese or something." And as a backup - Matt carries a syringe of medication at all times, which his teacher has been trained to use if he comes into contact with something as simple but as dangerous - as milk.

For more information on food allergies, including common symptoms and treatments, go to