By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Lilian: Most kids have nightmares about clowns
or monsters or school! Can’t [pant] Let them [pant] get me! But I have nightmares about…..peanuts! No! Stay away from me! Don’t touch me! No! Bad Peanuts! Bad! No! No! No! That’s the fifth peanut nightmare this week. Ever since I accidentally ate something with
peanuts in it at my friend’s house and had to go to the hospital, it’s all I can think
about! I’ve been so careful my whole life to avoid
peanuts because of my food allergy, but now I feel like they’re everywhere! I’m so scared of having another reaction,
I’ve been eating lunch alone at school. I’ve been avoiding hanging out with my friends,
or even leaving the house for weeks now. Tomorrow is Felicity’s birthday. I really want to go. She’s my best friend! But what if there are peanuts and it happens
again? Mom and Dad say not to worry, to just be smart
and be careful, but how can I be smart and careful about something I barely… Narrator: Deep in outer space at the headquarters
of the Medikidz! Lilian: …Understand? Whoa, the Medikidz! What’s going on? Chi: As Leonardo Da Vinci said, the noblest
pleasure is the joy of understanding. We wish to give you that joy! Gastro: Yeah! And as another great man once said, Hi, Lilian,
we’re going to help you understand everything about food allergies, so don’t worry! P.S, I, Gastro, am that great man! Chi: Let us begin with the basics! Having a food allergy means that your body
reacts negatively to a certain food, or foods. Lilian: Yeah, there’s a kid in my school who
can’t have lobster or his face turns red and swells…well…a lobster! Abacus: Food allergies are very common. Around one child in every 13 has a food allergy. Gastro: We know it can be difficult to manage
having a food allergy, but knowing why it happens can make it easier! Chi: And to understand why, we shall travel
to the bloodstream of Mediland! Lilian: Mediland! Of course! I’ve been meaning to go there! Pssst! Abacus, what’s Mediland? Abacus: The celestial body designated Mediland
is a planet that looks and works just like the human body! Narrator: In the bloodstream! Gastro: Lilian, welcome to the bloodstream! Lilian: Whoa! It’s waaaayyyy busier than I thought it would
be! Chi: Now, to understand food allergies, you
need to understand… B-Cell: You, there! Stop! Chi: The Immune System! The immune system is made up of different
cells, proteins, and organs that all work together. Gastro: It’s the body’s guardian against germs
that can cause infections and make you super sick. B-Cell: I said, stop! Germ: That’s negative thinking! I’m going to stay positive and believe I will
get away! Lilian: Yeah! Those guys are awesome! Gastro: They are B-cells, which are a type
of white blood cell that hunts down germs! B-Cell: I’m positive that you’re going down! Lilian: They got him! Wait, what’s that symbol on the germ’s stomach? And what’s the B-cell doing? Gastro: Ooh, that symbol is called an antigen! All germs have them on their surface. Chi: B-cells know when they see that symbol
that they’re dealing with a germ! The B-cell is creating an antibody that attaches
to the germ’s antigen, sending a signal call for backup! Lilian: Pffft, why would they need backup? They’ve got everything… Germ: Hah! You thought you two could stop me? You’d need an army! A whole…Hey….Wait….Why is that glowing? My personality is glowing but never my stomach! And what’s up with these glowing rings? Gastro: That glow is the antibody and the
glowing rings are the signal! There are different types of signals, but
one is called a histamine! Lilian: Umm, is it just me, or did this tunnel
get way bigger!? Chi: It’s not just you! Histamine makes blood vessels wider, allowing
more white blood cells to come through…and take care of any germs once and for all! Lilian: Nice! Get him, boys! Germ: I brought this on myself! Lilian: Okay, that was 100% awesome! But what does any of this have to do with
food allergies? Gastro: Everything! See, sometimes the immune system gets confused
and attacks things that aren’t harmful, this is called an allergy. Chi: And when that something is a food, it’s
called a food allergy. Gastro: Speaking of, let’s talk about how
food travels through the body! Okay, so after we’ve chewed and swallowed
our food, it travels down the esophagus, or food pipe, and into the stomach where it’s
mashed up into small pieces. The useful parts of food travel into the bloodstream
to be used by the cells. And the rest goes through the intestines to
be made into poop! This is all fine, unless you have a food allergy
and that food gets into the blood! Lilian: No! Don’t touch it! B-Cell: Oh, Hello! What do we have here? Oh, aren’t you just so tiny and cute, and
completely harmless! Ahh, it’s evil incarnate! The ultimate germ! Backup! I need backup! Send everybody! Lilian: What’s happening? Chi: If you have a food allergy, the B-cells
get confused and think that the antigens on food are the same as the germ antigens. Gastro: An antigen that you’re allergic to
is called an allergen. The B-cells fire antibodies at the food and
call for backup. And then histamine and other signals make
the blood vessels wider and more white blood cells rush in. Chi: This is called an allergic reaction. You have an allergic reaction every time you
eat anything with peanuts! Lilian: Well, an allergic reaction seems a
lot like a war in my body! Gastro: So, those signals we talked about,
like histamine, they cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Lilian: Symptoms? Like what? Abacus: Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction
include: tingly lips and tongue, feeling sick, stomach pain, runny nose and watering eyes,
and an itchy rash on your skin called hives. Chi: In a severe allergic reaction, called
anaphylaxis, the symptoms can make you feel very sick! Histamine lets the fluids leak out of your
blood vessels, which can make you feel dizzy and might even make you pass out. It also causes the muscles in your airway
to tighten, making it difficult to breathe. Lilian: Speaking of things getting tight,
I think it’s time we get out of here! Gastro: I’m with you! Initiate teleporter! Abacus: Initiating teleporter now! Lilian: [Phew] That was not fun! I can’t believe that’s what happens in my
body! Gastro: It’s pretty intense, alright! That’s why if you think you have a food allergy,
it’s important to visit your doctor. Chi: Your doctor will ask lots of questions
about you and the symptoms you’ve been having. And if your doctor thinks you might have a
food allergy, they’ll do some tests to make sure. Lilian: It’s been a long time, but I think
I remember the doctor testing my blood! Gastro: That’s right! A blood test can check if your immune system
cells are making antibodies against different foods. Chi: Another test, called a skin prick, is
when a tiny amount of different foods is placed on the surface of your skin, either on your
back or arm. If the food makes your skin red and itchy,
it means you are probably allergic to it. Gastro: The third type of test, and the best
way to see if you have an allergy, is called an oral food challenge! Doctors have you eat small amounts of a food
to see if it causes any symptoms. Chi: An oral food challenge can only be done
in a hospital or a special doctor’s office so that you can get treatment right away if
you do have a severe allergic reaction. Lilian: Ok, so I get what food allergies are. Now, what can I do about them? Chi: Unfortunately, there is currently no
cure for food allergies, but there are lots of things you can do to help manage them. Gastro: The best way to avoid allergic reactions
is to avoid eating the food that you’re allergic to – in your cause, peanuts! Lilian: Oh, I already avoid peanuts like the
plague… for me, they basically are the plague! But it’s hard! It seems like peanuts are in everything! Gastro: You’re right! Peanuts are used in lots of foods you might
not even think about, like cookies, crackers, cakes, stir-fries and even salads. Chi: And here are some good tips to follow
to avoid them! 1. Know what is safe for you to eat. You and your family can learn some new recipes
and how to prepare your favorite meals without using the food that you’re allergic to. 2. If you’re eating food from a packet, always
check the label for allergens. 3. If you’re eating out, ask if there are any
allergens in your meal. 4. If someone else is making your food, they
need to make sure they wash their hands after touching other foods, and also wash any surfaces
the food might touch. Lilian: Those are great tips and I’m always
super careful! Buuuttt what happens if I eat some peanuts
by accident? Last time I went from my friend’s slumber
party to the hospital. Gastro: Accidents are bound to happen and
an allergic reaction can be super scary! Chi: That is why it’s important to know exactly
what to do so you can recover from it quickly. That is why you need an emergency plan! The plan is something your doctor will help
you come up with so you know exactly what to do! You should carry a copy on you at all times,
and give a copy to your teachers and other adults that are taking care of you so they’re
ready to help if you need it! Gastro: Now, if you do have an allergic reaction,
there are medicines you can take! Antihistamines are medicines that treat mild
allergic reactions. Antihistamines come in tablets and liquids;
they work by stopping histamine. B-Cell: I thought I heard the alarm, but now
I don’t hear anything? B-Cell 2: Me neither. Oh, well, let’s go back to patrolling the
bloodstream and having witty banter! Chi: Severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis,
need a stronger medicine, called epinephrine. Epinephrine works by quickly stopping the
fluid from leaking out of your blood vessels. It also relaxes the muscles in your airways
so you can breathe easily. Anaphylaxis is an emergency and you should
take your epinephrine right away! Epinephrine comes in an autoinjector which
you use to inject the medicine into your thigh. Your doctor will show you, and the adults
who look after you, exactly how to use it. If you’re having a severe allergic reaction,
you should lie down and stay lying down until you feel better. If you feel like you might be sick, lie on
your back. Gastro: Yeah, and if you still have symptoms
after using epinephrine, you should follow your plan
You might need to take another dos of epinephrine or go to the emergency room for more treatment! Abacus: Note: You should keep it. Remember to keep your epinephrine autoinjector
with you at all times so that it’s ready when you need it. Lilian: Okay, guys! Big question time: why did I get food allergies
in the first place? Gastro: Oooh good question! Err…but I don’t have a good answer! See, no one really knows why some people have
food allergies and some don’t. Chi: Having asthma or eczema also increases
your chance of having a food allergy. But please know it’s not because of anything
you or anyone else did or didn’t do. Gastro: What’s cool is that doctors and scientists
are working hard to find new ways to treat food allergies all the time! Lilian: That is cool, but it doesn’t change
the fact that having a food allergy is really tough! I have to do things and worry about things
that my friends don’t. It just makes me feel so…alone! Gastro: We get it, we really do, but you are
totally not alone! Not only are food allergies super common,
but you’ve got your friends, family, doctor, and nurses that all have your back! Chi: And if you’ve ever feeling overwhelmed,
worried, or upset, you can talk to them about it. You can even ask your doctor about local support
groups where you can meet other kids just like you. Gastro: Having a food allergy can be really
tough sometimes. Remember, you are not alone! Your friends, family, doctor and nurses are
all there to support you. If you’re feeling worried or upset, talking
to someone you trust can really help. It might be a friend, parent, brother or sister,
teacher or health professional. Remember, you’re in charge. Not your food allergy! Don’t let it keep you from doing the things
you love! Chi: Gastro is right. Most people with food allergies can do everything
that anyone else can do, like going to school, playing sports, and going to parties. You just need to be a bit more careful when
it comes to choosing the foods that you eat. Lilian: Thanks, Medikidz! I feel a lot better now! I’m going to be smart. I’m going to be careful. But I’m done being scared! Gastro: I like the sound of that! Chi: Good luck, Lilian! Abacus: Farewell, human designated as Lilian! Lilian: I’m back! You know what? I’m in charge of my life, not my food allergies! Now, let’s pick out a cute outfit for this
party! Narrator: The next day… Mom: Liian! So glad you could come! Lilian: Thanks for having me! Also, I want to give you this! I have a peanut allergy and if anything happens,
this is what you should do! Mom: Great! Thank you, Lilian! And just so you know, nothing here has peanuts! So just go have fun! Gastro: Chi? Chi: Yes, Gastro? Gastro: Would it be wrong if we teleported
down there for some cake? Chi: If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right! Race you to the teleporter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *