Monday, April 13, 2015

Blood Transfusing Food Allergies?

Recently, there was an article shared on SnackSafely.com regarding a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal which stated food allergies can be passed on to another person from a blood transfusion. As a food allergy mother, this thought had never occurred to me but it's still just as terrifying. Every food allergy parent spends endless hours wondering.. always wondering. Wondering how their child got food allergies, what we could have possibly does to cause it, will we ever find a cure, why there is a rise in food allergies- truly, endless thoughts and questions bouncing around inside of our heads. So when I saw this, I was again challenged with an entirely new line of "what if's". Most importantly, what if this was the cause for the sharp increase in food allergies?


After research, reading (and rereading) both articles and a small panic attack, I decided to reach out to the American Red Cross to see just how much we may all need to worry. I want to say thank you to Kara Lusk Dudley who responded so quickly and did not hesitate to set up my discussion with Dr. Courtney Hopkins, D.O., the Medical Director of the American Red Cross. Both of them were beyond helpful and courteous with my questions.

When I spoke with Dr. Hopkins, she stated that she had indeed read the article that I was concerned about. Her response was that this phenomenon was very, very rare and that although there had been a few other recorded occurrences of the same type of thing happening, it still was not something that we should be concerned about. Just as the original articles stated, even when the food allergy was passed onto the blood recipient, the allergy seemed to disappear after a few months without future additional allergic events.
photo courtesy of SnackSafely

Breathing a sigh of (some) relief, I asked Dr. Hopkins if there was any type of protocol the American Red Cross has in place to try to avoid this from happening. Currently, there is nothing in place nor is there any future possibility of having a specific "food allergy protocol" screening to her knowledge. Dr. Hopkins does recommend that anyone who is scheduled to donate and does not feel well should reschedule until they are feeling better. She also suggested that should someone receive blood and have any type of health issues afterwards, they should contact the hospital and/or place that the blood transfusion occurred as a precautionary measure.

photo courtesy
American Red Cross
In addition, Dr. Hopkins stated that anyone who would like to donate blood should always check their Eligibility List to ensure that they are able to do so. The American Red Cross is always grateful for donations and I felt confident after our conversation today that the fears that I had after reading the article would not impact my choice to donate in the future nor would I feel uncomfortable if my allergic son had to have a blood transfusion.

As always, being a food allergy parent requires constant research, follow-up and new knowledge. Ultimately, being a parent in itself is tricky- being a food allergy parent just adds another dimension to that parenting. Always use your judgement for what you feel is most comfortable for your family. Never trust what anyone else tells you unless you want to. And most of all, never allow fear to stop your family from doing what is needed to keep you as safe as possible.







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