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We come from a seafood eating family; coming from the south we typically give children seafood around the age of 12 to 18 months. I knew that my son’s half sister is slightly allergic to seafood and fish and his paternal grandmother can’t eat it, but can clean fish or pick crab meat.

The night I tried to give Khalil fried Tilapia is one I will never forget.

It was May 17, 2009. We had just fried the fish around 8pm and I decided that night we should try it. My son was 1 year 7 months at the time. I had Benadryl on hand and decided I’d start with touching the piece to his lip to see if he would swell. I touched a small piece to the lip side of his bottom lip and he turned his head away.

About 90 seconds later small red spots appeared on his chin so I took him upstairs to get the Benadryl. Once upstairs (about 1 min) he began to scratch and scream. When I looked down he had red blotches up to his eye on the left side of his face and he was scratching uncontrollably. His lip began to swell so I dumped a teaspoon of Benadryl down his mouth. Then he began to close his eyes. (3 minutes after contact)

I shook him and he would open them but then close his eyes again so I came down to tell his father he had a reaction. Once I got downstairs his eyes were closed again so I shook him and he did not open them. (4 minutes after contact)

I saw he was breathing but his left eye was now swollen and shut. I opened his eye and….. I saw the white of his eye was like jelly and it was covering the brown part of his eye.  This made my heart jump OUT of my chest so I immediately called 911.

This all took place over a total of less than 8 minutes from me touching the fish to his lips. He was rushed in the ambulance to the hospital. When we got there the pediatric emergency room doctor took one look at him and immediately shot him in the back of the arm with an EpiPen and then fussed at the paramedics for not doing it on the ride over.

At the hospital he was wheezing and coughing as well. He received an IV and 2 other medications that night and had to stay in the hospital for a 10 hour observation. Khalil was given a prescription for the EpiPen Jr and we are still in the process of testing. So far we have found out he is allergic to fish, milk, peanuts, and eggs!!