Denise Saldate, 11, suffered a rapid anaphylactic reaction to milk protein from an unexpected source: a new prescribed toothpaste.
“She was my ray of sunshine, she was the light of my life,” said Monique Altamirano about her daughter in an interview with Allergic Living. Denise was 11, the youngest of the four sisters.
On April 4th, Monique took Denise to the dentist. As the girl had some stains on her teeth, the dentist suggested the toothpaste for treatment, saying it should help strengthen the enamel on her teeth. Monique said the family has been working with an allergist since
Denise was first diagnosed with a milk allergy when she was only 1 year old. She had always read the food labels of her daughter’s allergens carefully (she had outgrown some) and taught everyone at home how to do the same. Neither the mother nor the daughter had the slightest suspicion of the ingredient milk contained in the toothpaste, not least because she had always read labels of this type of product and had never found anything to cause an allergy.
Denise had had some allergic reactions over the years, but nothing compared to this episode. The night of the event, she started brushing her teeth with her new paste. She was accompanied by her 15-year-old sister who said that Denise, right after she started brushing, started crying and ran to her mother’s room. “She said, ‘I think I’m having an allergic reaction to the toothpaste,’ her lips were already blue,” said her mother. The mother said she put her daughter in her bed and ran to ask them to call 911. In an act of desperation, hearing her daughter say she couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t wait for the paramedics and left desperate in the street to meet them. But her daughter could not resist and died in the hospital.
Monique and her daughter, Denise (Facebook Playback/Dissemination)
Denise’s experience is the worst fear of any family that has someone with a food allergy. Amidst the 24/7 surveillance required to manage the food allergy, there was an oversight, an exposure from an unexpected source. And this led to a fatal reaction from a child.
As it turned out, there was a small notice on the label of this brand’s paste stating that it contained the ingredient Recaldent and the milk protein on the packaging.
Sources: Allergic Living
Some recommendations from the website of the allergist and immunologist Érica Azevedo
- Read and reread the label! Every time you go to buy a product, even one you already know, you should read the label again. This is because brands can change their formula and include new ingredients at any time without notice.
- It is also good to reread the labels when storing the product and before serving to the allergic person, because as the letrinhas are small, sometimes something can escape.
- As ingredients are sometimes not put in small quantities, it is always good to compare the labels of similar products, if one biscuit carries milk, another is likely to carry it too and the label is less clear.
- Beware of collective terms such as seasoning, aroma and colouring, as these may contain milk. For example, “caramel coloring”, this term may indicate the presence of milk in the product.
- Distrust the term “lactose-free”, lactose-free milk has milk protein and cannot be consumed by allergic patients. Also, lactose is the sugar of milk, and may contain traces of protein.
- Also avoid ingredients that may cross react with cow’s milk, such as sheep’s or goat’s milk.
- Always be suspicious of certain foods, even if you have not described milk in the ingredients, such as: biscuits, chocolate, puddings, sausages, ice cream, cakes, pies, breads, puree
- Remember that it is not only foods that may have traces of milk in their composition, so it is also important to read the ingredients in medicine leaflets.
- Always in case of doubt we can call SAC (customer service), the phone comes in the packaging of the food. We should ask if the food carries milk, it is better than asking what the ingredients of the product are.
Source: Allergic Living