Warning after girl, 6, dies from allergic reaction to dairy product

A six-year-old girl from Perth has died after an allergic reaction to a dairy product.

Emergency services were called to the girl’s home on Wednesday however paramedics were unable to save the child.

It is unknown what or when she consumed the fatal food.

Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia chief Maria Said told Perth Now she believes it to be the first child death from anaphylaxis caused by food allergies in WA.

She says deaths are rare but “almost always” preventable. Ms Said said the young girl had been on an allergy specialist’s waiting list.

A six-year-old Perth girl has died after consuming an unknown dairy product. Source: Getty, file.
A six-year-old Perth girl has died after consuming an unknown dairy product. Source: Getty, file.

“My understanding is that the child had been prescribed an EpiPen, so people knew the child was allergic,” she said.

Just two days later, another toddler was given milk by accident at a childcare centre.

This time, doctors were able to save the child’s young life after they were given three shots of adrenaline before being rushed to emergency.

With two per cent of preschool children having a milk allergy, National Allergy Strategy’s Dr Richard Loh has warned parents of the dangers of dairy.

“A lot of people are concerned about peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shell fish … they may not be aware that in the last five deaths of children in Australia three were due to milk,” he said.

“Severe reactions are now not uncommon.”

Experts say there are warning signs all parents should look out for when it comes to anaphylaxis.

Reactions include difficult or noisy breathing, swelling of the tongue and throat, dizziness, wheeziness and difficulty talking.

“Lie down or sit if you’re having trouble breathing. But the only treatment is the EpiPen,” Dr Loh advised.

The advice from allergy experts is to always carry an EpiPen and don’t be scared to use it.

“There is a recent study showing that the fatalities, although extremely rare from food allergy in Australia, have been increasing by 10 per cent a year every year for the past seven years,” Dr Loh said.