Liberty family understands seriousness of food allergies

Local News

LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Food allergies can be very dangerous and difficult to predict. A family in Liberty has to deal with these struggles every day.

Erin Rowland checks ingredients on everything, looking for peanuts.

When she was very young, her mom, Jennifer Rowland, saw her have a severe allergic reaction.

“We went to the emergency room,” Jennifer said. “Covered in hives. Her ears were huge and swollen. I was worried her ears were going to split. Our pediatrician made us an appointment with the allergist the next day.”

The diagnoses? Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts of all kinds. For 13-year-old Erin, that means being very careful about food.

“When we go out to eat, I have to ask the waiter to make sure it’s not near anything that has peanuts and if I’m just buying food, I have to read the ingredients,” she said.

The last time she had a reaction, a preschool teacher mistakenly brought in Halloween candy with peanut butter.

“I don’t remember much but I remember being in a Princess Belle costume, because this was on Halloween, and having to go to the hospital,” Erin said.

Jennifer said many people think allergies are not a big deal.

“When you see a child either covered in hives or having trouble breathing, you realize real quick it’s a real thing.”

Many food allergies, like Erin’s, are discovered after a reaction happens.

“It’s really hard to predict if somebody’s going to have a food allergy or develop one,” said Dr. Ravi Karnani, an allergist at Akron Children’s. “The key is if one is found, to be vigilant, to try and avoid that food item to the best of their ability to prevent those kinds of reactions.”

For Erin, that means avoiding certain brands and cooking at home to be safe.

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