Utah Boy Dies from Anaphylaxis

in Food Allergy, Peanut & Tree Nut
Published: April 26, 2013

A peanut-allergic 11-year-old boy from St. George, Utah, died of an anaphylactic reaction in April, 2013.

According to local news reports, Tanner Henstra, who also had asthma, was at a friend’s house when he took a pretzel from a bowl and popped it in his mouth. He did not realize these pretzels were filled with peanut butter. His mother, Stacie Henstra, told The Salt Lake Tribune that her son spat out the pretzel as soon as he tasted peanut. But the allergic reaction had begun, and his tongue and throat began to swell.

Stacie Henstra said Tanner usually carried an epinephrine auto-injector with him, but he did not have the emergency device with him at his friend’s house. She also said that the boy, who had been diagnosed allergic as an infant, had never needed to use one before.

Tanner did have some other allergy or asthma medicine with him, which he took immediately before calling his mother, who is a nurse, to come pick him up.

“He sounded worried but otherwise OK,” Stacie Henstra told the Tribune. But during the drive home, Tanner began to have trouble breathing. When they got home, about four minutes away, a neighbor came outside and performed CPR on Tanner while his mom ran inside to get his EpiPen auto-injector.

Tanner Airlifted to Hospital

She gave him the injection, but it had little effect. Tanner was transported to a local hospital in St. George (which is north of Las Vegas), then to a larger hospital in Salt Lake City. After two days in hospital, the boy was removed from life support.

Young Tanner’s death adds to a tragic and concerning list of children and teens who experienced fatal anaphylactic reactions during the spring of 2013. (See our report: Tragic Spring: 3 Food Allergy-Related Deaths)

Allergic Living reminds readers of the need for constant vigilance with food allergies. Most important of all, we remind you that anaphylaxis can progress swiftly and that the drug epinephrine is most effective when used immediately. Please take a moment to review our emergency procedures slideshow – Six That Save Lives.

See also: The Salt Lake Tribune’s full report.

posted: April 26, 2013