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My first aid training saved my daughter

Just recently, Laura Edwards, a First Aid Co-ordinator in York Region, got a call from her daughter’s daycare that two-year-old Katelyn was having an allergic reaction to a bug bite.  Laura credits her first aid training for, quite possibly, saving her daughter’s life.

We wanted to share this story with you because bug bites are so common in the summer and it reminds us how empowering it is to know first aid.

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As soon as Laura got the call from her daughter's daycare, she decided to  immediately go and pick up Katelyn. In the five minutes it took her to drive there, a rash on her daughter’s arm quickly worsened.  Within minutes, Katelyn’s face and eyes swelled, she was drowsy and her breathing was much too fast: she was in anaphylactic shock.  Laura and Katelyn were en route to their doctor’s office, but she realized she was running out of time. Instead, she drove to a nearby urgent care clinic.

“As Katelyn’s breaths hit 44/ minute and her lips turned blue, the nurse at the clinic called 911 and we started oxygen therapy,” Laura said. “When Katelyn keeled over on the table almost unconscious, we used an EpiPen. Even though we are in downtown York Region, it took 25 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

"Luckily, the EpiPen had kicked in and there was a marked difference in Katelyn’s conditions. At the hospital, they gave Katelyn antihistamines, more Epinephrine, and monitored her for 8 hours. I am relieved to say that at 9 p.m. we were told we could take her home safe and sound... prescription for an EpiPen in hand.”

So how did first aid help Laura and Katelyn?

It started with the daycare worker who diligently called Laura as soon as she realized something was wrong. Then, if Laura hadn’t recognized the signs of anaphylaxis, she likely would have tried to get Katelyn to the hospital instead of the clinic; the extra seven minute drive could have cost Katelyn her life.

On route, Laura would have had to stop the car and call 911. She would have been helpless on the side of the road waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

“In the twenty-five minutes it would have taken, Katelyn would have stopped breathing, and I would have been doing CPR,” she said.

Want more info on first aid for children? Check out these courses.

Think you know first aid? Test your skills here and take this quiz.

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