Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Food Allergy Fatality on Cruise Ship

21 Year Old Cruise Passenger Dies Hours into Trip

A 21 year old man, someone's son, brother and grandchild, passed away just hours into a cruise. Something that he no doubtably had been looking forward to, something his family was excited to be on. According to a response, someone that appears to know the person, the man had a peanut allergy and had eaten chocolate chip cookies before he became ill.

This is why Luke's food allergies terrify me. Danger lurks everywhere when you have a severe food allergy. Something that you would consider to be safe, such as a peanut-free cookie, has the potential of being fatal. Eating anything that wasn't prepared by yourself is scary - no matter how much it is promised to be safe, you can't be 100% sure. People that don't deal with it on a daily basis don't understand. Someone may use the same bowl to make sugar cookies after making peanut butter ones. They might even rinse the bowl out. But unless that bowl is properly cleaned, it still contains the dangerous protein.

This is why I don't take chances. People might think I'm crazy. People might think I go overboard and am overly protective. That's ok, I can handle that. What I can't handle is the thought of Luke suffering because I wasn't protective enough.

The young man on the cruise passed away from a heart attack due to the food allergy reaction. Severe reactions are real. Severe reactions won't just leave someone with itchy hives or a tummy ache. Severe reactions can cause anyone, at any age, to go into cardiac arrest.

When Luke had his anaphylactic reaction to peanuts his throat didn't close. His tongue didn't swell. He didn't wheeze or cough. Instead his blood pressure dropped dangerously low. Low enough that he began turning blue and was white as a sheet. Low enough that he couldn't stay awake - he passed out twice. Low enough that his oxygen levels when we got to the ER were in the 60's. What happens when blood pressure is affected during an anaphylactic reaction? It can eventually lead to cardiac arrest. My 15 month old baby could have suffered the same result as this young man. My heart goes out to his family. I pray for them. And I pray that I will continue to have the guidance to keep Luke safe.


  1. Hugs. That little guy is lucky to have you for his mama. And here's a question (just in case) - say someone does make peanut butter cookies and then wants to make another (safe) kind - does regular dish soap and water remove all the protein?

  2. Nice post! My heart goes out that family. I agree, I'd rather be considered "overprotective." The one thing to teach our kids is to never eat baked goods unless we have made them. So many people react from baked goods they were told were "safe." The exception would be a dedicated nut-free bakery but that's it! In the case of baking for food allergic people, I would advise a household that uses peanut butter and tree nuts on a regular basis to avoid baking for us. Cross-contact is so easy and it's better to be safe.

  3. Thank you both!

    I found this on FAAN's website in regards to removing the protein. Soap and water works well, hand sanitizers do not.


    We don't have any kind of nut proteins in our home, mostly because I would be afraid that cleaning wouldn't be as thorough as it needs to be. And as Jenny mentioned, I feel better just not giving Luke anything that was prepared outside of my kitchen.