Todd Green, MD, FAAAAI, president of the Pennsylvania Allergy & Asthma Association, suggests that possibly a food allergy could be blamed. “Maybe there was some almond milk in Grandma’s eggnog and she had an allergic reaction,” Dr. Green, who practices in Pittsburgh, says. “If she realized she was without her Epi-Pen, maybe she darted out of the house and was attempting to get home to where her medication was?”
Dr. Green says his group and others, including the Pennsylvania Medical Society, recently helped pass legislation in Pennsylvania that will make Epi-Pens more available in school settings for students and staff who may have allergic reactions.
According to Dr. Green, common food allergies include eggs and tree nuts. “If it turns out that Grandma was allergic to something she came into contact that evening, she could have had a reaction that would cause her to have difficulty breathing or for her blood pressure to drop,” he says. “Maybe during her walk home she fainted in a landing path of Santa’s reindeer team?”
“Of course, knowing Santa, I’m sure he would have stopped and helped her,” Dr. Green concludes. “So I have doubts that Grandma had an allergic reaction.”
But, Dr. Green and the Pennsylvania Academy of Allergy & Asthma Association believe there is a lesson to be learned if it would be a food allergy situation. When throwing a holiday party this season, they recommend letting guests know in advance what’s on the menu just in case anyone would have food allergies. That way, your guest will know to avoid certain dishes.