Toddler Almost Dies From Nearly Unheard-of Allergy

She has extreme anaphylactic reaction after eating mandarin orange
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2014 8:39 AM CST
Toddler Almost Dies From Nearly Unheard-of Allergy
A photo shows mandarin oranges.   (AP Photo/Mulholland Citrus)

A two-and-a-half-year-old Pennsylvania girl did something unremarkable while at a Walmart—and it almost killed her. The girl ate a mandarin orange while in the store; after experiencing itching and swelling, her parents gave her a dose of Benadryl, but her condition worsened, with coughing and spasming lungs. She was having a potentially deadly anaphylactic reaction, which a co-author of a new paper about the case explains occurs when multiple organs are affected by an allergen. A shot of epinephrine is generally administered in these cases; it eases swelling and helps to open airways. Newsweek reports that the toddler required two shots, and then needed to be hooked up to a ventilator for a short time.

Doctors were initially stumped. Her parents insisted that the 31-month-old ate only the orange before having the reaction, but oranges rarely cause an allergic reaction to begin with, and when they do, that reaction is usually mild. A press release also notes that the toddler had previously drunk orange juice without issue. Doctors eventually verified an orange was to blame after conducting a skin-prick test, and established she also had a peach allergy. It's the first known case of a severe anaphylactic reaction to the fruit, according to an allergist who points to a protein found in oranges that has a chemical makeup similar to pollen as the likely culprit. The girl was also diagnosed with asthma, which likely worsened the issue; 90% of kids with asthma also experience allergies. (A recent study found that what we do to peanuts may cause allergies.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.