Grieving American mother, Monique Altamirano has shared a sombre allergy warning across the globe after her daughter died from a reaction to toothpaste.
11-year-old Denise Saldate who has a dairy allergy died this month after toothpaste she used contained a milk protein and sent her into anaphylactic shock.
The little girl, who was the youngest of four sisters, was given toothpaste by her dentist which was intended to help strengthen the enamel in her teeth. Whilst this is an everyday occurrence for most, for Denise it tragically resulted in her death.
Altamirano does not blame the dentist who was unaware of her daughter’s allergies.
As mother of a long-time and severe allergy sufferer diagnosed at birth, Altamirano had been diligently studied the labels of products for years, checking for the presence of dairy. Toothpaste, however, was not on her radar and the oversight proved deadly.
I didn’t think to look…
“I did not think to look at the product ingredients,” the mother told Allergic Living, and neither did her daughter.
It was earlier this month that Denise used the product for the first time and reacted. “She said, ‘I think I’m having an allergic reaction to the toothpaste,’ and her lips were already blue,” Altamirano recalled.
Altamirano immediately called an ambulance, administered an EpiPen and commenced CPR. Unfortunately the little girl died in hospital.
Don’t get comfortable warns devastated mum
The grieving family is now issuing a caution to all parents to ensure they check every label, every time.
The specific toothpaste brand did have a label on it warning it contained milk protein and Recaldent, an ingredient derived from cows’ milk.
Altamirano has bravely used her loss to harness the power of social media and local news outlets to warn other parents not to ever “get comfortable” and that they need to “read everything”.
“This is your child’s life, and God forbid you to have to go through what I’m going through,” she added.
The video below (and image above) was shared by the family on a Go Fund Me page raising money to assist with costs. They have currently exceeded their goal of $10,000. Denise is described as a loving and cheerful little girl;
From the Go Fund Me page: Denise Alyna Saldate was such a loving daughter, sister, cousin, niece, and friend with such an amazing personality. She could light up a room and make you smile even when you’re down. Through all of her struggles with allergies she always remained so happy. She took everything like a champ! Her presence brought an undeniable grace that was impossible to ignore. Her perspective on life was to always look on the bright side. She wanted to make a difference in the world, and we knew one day she would change the world.
Facts about Allergy from the Sydney Children’s Hospital
Cow’s milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in childhood affecting about 1-2% of preschool children. Allergy rates decrease in numbers as children start school however it can be lethal for a very small percentage.
The Sydney Childrens Hospital encourages parents with children who experience an allergy to learn how to read ingredients labels carefully and to use vigilance even if they have eaten or used the product before. An example label is provided by Sydney Childrens Hospital (shown below). It is helpful to know that allergenic ingredients must be written in bold.
If you have questions or concerns about dairy allergy this fact sheet is a great starting point. Of course for allergy concerns always seek advice from your help care professional.