A EpiPen auto-injector contains epinephrine, which increases blood flow and relaxes...

A EpiPen auto-injector contains epinephrine, which increases blood flow and relaxes muscles that block airways. Credit: AP/Jon Elswick

It's the worst nightmare for anyone with a life-threatening food allergy.

On Jan. 11, Órla Baxendale, 25, a Manchester, England, native living in New York, ate a vanilla Florentine cookie at a social gathering in Connecticut and went into anaphylactic shock.

An EpiPen, an auto-injector containing medication to decrease an allergic reaction, was administered to Baxendale, who had a severe nut allergy. But the professional dancer succumbed to the allergic reaction later that day.

How the mislabeled cookies made in onto the shelves of a pair of Connecticut Stew Leonard's grocery stores remains the subject of a multi-jurisdictional investigation. 

Stew Leonard's contends their chief safety inspector was never told the cookie recipe had changed from soy nuts to peanuts.

But Cookies United, the Islip-based manufacturer of the baked treats, insists the company informed Stew Leonard's of the recipe change in emails and in labels created by the bakery. The grocery chain, with two locations on Long Island, ignored the advisory and created its own outdated labels, the manufacturer said.

Here's what Long Islanders need to know to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

Q. What happens during a severe allergic reaction?

During an intense allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, blood pressure drops suddenly and airways narrow, blocking a person’s breathing.

It can be deadly if not treated right away with epinephrine, which increases blood flow and relaxes muscles that block airways, medical experts said. The procedure involves removing the blue safety tip, placing the injector against the thigh and pushing it so the medication is administered over three seconds. Be sure to follow specific directions on the EpiPen label.

“Epinephrine is the drug of choice, but you have to give it very promptly,” Dr. Susan Schuval, chief of pediatric allergy/immunology at Stony Brook Children's Hospital. “And you have to be able to recognize your symptoms and give the EpiPen properly.”

Q. What are some other typical food allergies and symptoms?

The FDA has identified nine major food allergens that companies must identify on their labels: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans and sesame.

Depending on the trigger, the severity of the allergy and how quickly it's treated, reactions can differ. 

Symptoms, which typically appear within minutes, can include an itching sensation in the mouth or skin, wheezing or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat, lightheadedness or fainting, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Data shows the prevalence of food allergies has tripled since 2007, with one emergency room visit occurring every three minutes nationwide.

“We always tell people with severe food allergies that you have to exercise extreme caution when they're eating out of the house,” Schuval said.

Q. Is the mislabeling of food a common problem?

Not typically, experts said, although mistakes do occur because of cross-contamination, according to Sung Poblete, chief executive of Food Allergy Research and Education, a Virginia-based advocacy group.

“When something is mislabeled, and somebody finds out, it gets recalled,” she said. “There's a good system in place, but a lot of this happens because of human error, which is why we advocate for stronger food allergy training in restaurants. And it has to go further to include training at grocery stores and food manufacturers.”

Q. How many people suffer with food allergies?

Roughly 33 million Americans, including Poblete, live with life-threatening food allergies, including 1 in 13 children, the group said. In New York State, that equates to more than 215,000 students.

“There are so many foods that can become a food allergen for children and adults,” Poblete said. “What we recommend is making certain that there's safe measures built in and that there are Epi auto injectors available in case an emergency should happen.”

Q. What types of facilities are required to keep EpiPens on hand?

State laws either require or allow EpiPens in day care centers, classrooms, school buses and state parks. They can be administered by emergency responders, teachers and others in public and private spaces. Restaurants are not required to stock EpiPens.

It's the worst nightmare for anyone with a life-threatening food allergy.

On Jan. 11, Órla Baxendale, 25, a Manchester, England, native living in New York, ate a vanilla Florentine cookie at a social gathering in Connecticut and went into anaphylactic shock.

An EpiPen, an auto-injector containing medication to decrease an allergic reaction, was administered to Baxendale, who had a severe nut allergy. But the professional dancer succumbed to the allergic reaction later that day.

How the mislabeled cookies made in onto the shelves of a pair of Connecticut Stew Leonard's grocery stores remains the subject of a multi-jurisdictional investigation. 

Stew Leonard's contends their chief safety inspector was never told the cookie recipe had changed from soy nuts to peanuts.

But Cookies United, the Islip-based manufacturer of the baked treats, insists the company informed Stew Leonard's of the recipe change in emails and in labels created by the bakery. The grocery chain, with two locations on Long Island, ignored the advisory and created its own outdated labels, the manufacturer said.

Here's what Long Islanders need to know to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

Q. What happens during a severe allergic reaction?

During an intense allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, blood pressure drops suddenly and airways narrow, blocking a person’s breathing.

It can be deadly if not treated right away with epinephrine, which increases blood flow and relaxes muscles that block airways, medical experts said. The procedure involves removing the blue safety tip, placing the injector against the thigh and pushing it so the medication is administered over three seconds. Be sure to follow specific directions on the EpiPen label.

“Epinephrine is the drug of choice, but you have to give it very promptly,” Dr. Susan Schuval, chief of pediatric allergy/immunology at Stony Brook Children's Hospital. “And you have to be able to recognize your symptoms and give the EpiPen properly.”

Q. What are some other typical food allergies and symptoms?

The FDA has identified nine major food allergens that companies must identify on their labels: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans and sesame.

Depending on the trigger, the severity of the allergy and how quickly it's treated, reactions can differ. 

Symptoms, which typically appear within minutes, can include an itching sensation in the mouth or skin, wheezing or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat, lightheadedness or fainting, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Data shows the prevalence of food allergies has tripled since 2007, with one emergency room visit occurring every three minutes nationwide.

“We always tell people with severe food allergies that you have to exercise extreme caution when they're eating out of the house,” Schuval said.

Q. Is the mislabeling of food a common problem?

Not typically, experts said, although mistakes do occur because of cross-contamination, according to Sung Poblete, chief executive of Food Allergy Research and Education, a Virginia-based advocacy group.

“When something is mislabeled, and somebody finds out, it gets recalled,” she said. “There's a good system in place, but a lot of this happens because of human error, which is why we advocate for stronger food allergy training in restaurants. And it has to go further to include training at grocery stores and food manufacturers.”

Q. How many people suffer with food allergies?

Roughly 33 million Americans, including Poblete, live with life-threatening food allergies, including 1 in 13 children, the group said. In New York State, that equates to more than 215,000 students.

“There are so many foods that can become a food allergen for children and adults,” Poblete said. “What we recommend is making certain that there's safe measures built in and that there are Epi auto injectors available in case an emergency should happen.”

Q. What types of facilities are required to keep EpiPens on hand?

State laws either require or allow EpiPens in day care centers, classrooms, school buses and state parks. They can be administered by emergency responders, teachers and others in public and private spaces. Restaurants are not required to stock EpiPens.

Animal cruelty case update … Riverhead farmland preservation … LIRR IOU invoices Credit: Newsday

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Animal cruelty case update … Riverhead farmland preservation … LIRR IOU invoices Credit: Newsday

Gilgo-related search in Manorville ... UBS Arena MTV Awards ... Jericho fatal crash ... Girls softball league

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