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Rare: Child Eats Orange, Lands in Intensive Care

Update Date: Nov 06, 2014 11:05 AM EST

In the first of its kind incident, a two-and-half-year old in Pennsylvania landed in intensive care following severe allergic reaction to an orange within minutes of ingesting it.

"She ate an orange, and within a few minutes had developed severe anaphylaxis. Her lips and tongue swelled, she broke out in hives and couldn't breathe well. Her parents immediately got her to an emergency room, and she was flown by helicopter to a pediatric intensive care unit," said allergist Sigrid DaVeiga, MD in a press release.

DaVeiga presented the case at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (ACAAI) annual scientific meeting, terming it rare. Doctors treating the child examined her to find she suffered from undiagnosed asthma, which makes children allergic to many things. Though the child had orange juice in the past, consumption of raw orange landed her in the hospital for 48 hours. Later it was found that she was also allergic peach.

Researchers wrote that it was more common for those with hay fever to react occasionally to raw fruits and vegetables. In such cases, a mild reaction manifests as oral allergy with itchy mouth or scratchy throat symptoms that resolve soon.

While it is not known what component in orange and peach the toddler is allergic to, doctors recommended that she avoid the fruits.

"Several recommendations were made following the allergic reaction. She was advised to avoid orange and peach, and also told to start asthma therapy, both of which will keep future allergic reactions under control," said allergist and ACAAI member Sayantani Sindher, MD, study author.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that nearly 24.3 percent adults and 18.7 percent children with self-reported asthma over used quick relief medication (QRM) in the last three months. Overuse of QRM is associated with inadequate asthma control.  

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