Monica Altamiro's 11-year-old daughter, Denis Saldate, died of a severe allergic reaction to toothpaste, she said.
Recently, Dennis, who had a severe allergy to dairy products, received a toothpaste recipe that unconsciously contained milk-derived protein. The California girl's parents are careful to check the labels of milk and other potential allergens, but do not think of checking the toothpaste causing a lethal allergic reaction that does not respond to a chemical or inhalers.
CNN reached the family to confirm the report, but did not hear it at the time of the publication of this story.
Since its death this month, Dennis's story has been shared a thousand times in social media, and GoFundMe's website, created by her uncle, has surpassed the original $ 10,000 spending target for funeral expenses.
While parents of children with food allergies are hearing about Denise's history, Dr. David Stuccas, a pediatric allergist and assistant at the National Children's Hospital, stresses that the sequence of events described by Dennis's mother is extremely rare.
"This is the first time I've heard anything like that," said Stukus, a 13-year-old pediatric allergist.
An 11-year-old girl dies after a severe allergic reaction to TOOTHPASTE containing milk protein: Denise Saldate, 11, of West Covina, California, dies on April 6th after she suffered a severe allergic reaction from milk protein … https: //t.co / Od9Hdf8PKV pic.twitter.com/gqLCFEb63j
– RushReads (@RushReads) April 18, 2019
"There are many nutritional proteins in many different medications and non-food products," he said. "But overall, the type of food and the amount of food is not enough to cause any reaction to the majority of people with food allergies."
The specific toothpaste included in the Denise case is also not used frequently and was prescribed by her dentist, according to her mother.
It is unlikely that the generic products already in the household will pose a problem if children use them and tolerate them, Stukus said.
Dennis's case is a rarity, he said. Such rare deaths can serve as cautious reminders that food allergies can be severe and require clear communication between carers, careful food labeling inspections, and presence of epinephrine at any time.
Still, Stukus added a perspective: People with food allergies have a better chance of being hit by lightning than by death from an allergic reaction to food, he said.
"We do not want to downplay this because we want people to be careful, but we do not want them to be afraid to leave their house."
Nearly all deaths from an allergic reaction to food occur because the child or young person has a primary illness such as asthma, which makes the reaction more severe, and there is almost always a lack or delay in the use of epinephrine, he said.
"We lack the details of this case to find out what really happened, but we know that this tragic case should not be immediately implemented for every person with food allergy," said Stuckus.