Coping with Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Infants and Toddlers

Children are increasingly being treated for anaphylaxis, which is a reaction that can be frightening and serious, especially in infants and toddlers, who may not be able to communicate what’s wrong. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that happens quickly and can cause death. It can occur as a result of exposure to allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, dairy products, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, insect bites, latex and medications.

At just two months of age, Denver-area mom Emily Sorenson’s son Nick was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy after she noticed he had eczema and stomach trouble. At six months, his pediatric allergist diagnosed him with life-threatening allergies not only to peanuts, but also to wheat, eggs, dairy, and tree nuts.

“It was terrifying to hear that my little baby could suddenly have a dangerous allergic reaction to so many foods, and I suddenly felt like I was alone in an alternate universe,” said Emily. “I remember gravitating to social media to establish a support structure. Not only have I made caring friends, I don’t feel so alone.”

Emily was also able to cope because for the first time, parents of young children facing life-threatening allergies now have access to an epinephrine auto injector specifically designed for infants and toddlers weighing 16.5 to 33 pounds.

AUVI-q® (epinephrine injection, USP) 0.1 mg auto injector is the first and only compact epinephrine auto injector for infants and toddlers with a voice-instruction system that guides caregivers through the step-by-step injection process. This product was designed to help individuals without medical training to rescue infants and toddlers in anaphylactic emergencies.

Last year, at age three, Nick suffered from an anaphylactic emergency when he was alone with Emily. While she was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, she used AUVI-q and followed the product’s steady voice instructions.

“It calmed me down to have the voice instructions to step me through the use of the auto injector, which, in an emergency situation is crucial,” added Emily. “I’m so thankful this product is available now, because in the past, there wasn’t an epinephrine auto injector for infants and toddlers.”

AUVI-q 0.1 mg features a shorter needle length and lower dose of epinephrine than other FDA-approved Epinephrine auto injectors. The AUVI-Q family of products is available in 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg doses. Each AUVI-q 0.1 mg prescription includes two auto-injectors and one trainer for patients and caregivers to practice administration before an allergic emergency happens. The AUVI-q 0.1 mg also includes a two-second countdown, like the 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg doses.

Nick is nearly four years old now and has just completed his first year of pre-school. Emily is pleased to report that his teachers are all trained on the use of AUVI-q and he has had no issues since his last anaphylactic attack. He enjoys eating whole foods with his parents such as fruits, vegetables, chicken and beef. Emily remains passionate about sharing her story with other parents because she understands the relief parents feel knowing they can now effectively manage their infant and toddler’s allergies.

Recent studies have revealed that delaying the introduction of some foods to children may actually increase their risk of developing food allergies. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated its allergy prevention guidelines, recommending parents introduce peanut-containing foods to certain infants as early as four-to-six months of age.

For more information, visit: and the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States.