Catherine Galla is about to start the sixith grade and that means a new middle school. That also means a new staff that doesn't know about her severe allergy to nuts.
"In first grade someone made these little snowmen and their hat was some peanut candy and I ate it," Catherine told our 19 Action News Reporter Dan DeRoos. "I didn't know what it was."
"It's a scary feeling, sending your child off to school knowing that they have a peanut allergy and they're not with you," her mother Colleen Galla told us.
But the Galla family is ready, now that Catherine is old enough she carries her own epinephrine injection pen.
"Knowing that I have it, it makes me feel comfortable. Knowing that I know how to use it in case I would ever have to," says Catherine.
The sixth grader's doctor, Sandy Hong with the Cleveland Clinic, suggests all parents use this as a reminder for the new school year. Talk to teachers, principals and nurses to make sure they know about your kid's allergy, and make sure they have a plan for an allergic reaction.
"Every school is different," Dr. Hong says. "I think that as the children get older and they are able to keep it on them at all times, I actually think that is important, especially in the severely allergic children. Because it's all about time. It just takes a couple of minutes between life and death."
The Epi Pen has been around for a while. But what if the teacher or staff doesn't know how to inject it? The new Auvi-Q system is a device about the size of a Tic-Tac box that has a voice that literally walks you through the process.
"To inject place black end against outer thigh," box computerized voice shouts. The Auvi-Q device is available through your doctor's office.
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