Saturday, May 22, 2004

Another teaching opportunity today

Patrick called me...I was almost done with the dishes. Then I went to him.
He was with Ben at the living room. They showed me what they killed. An insect that stung Patrick twice on his right thigh. He showed me his small wheals. I explained to him about how such insects can inject to the skin some foreign material/substances that can elicit reactions in our body: blood rushes to the site of the insect bite/sting; releases chemicals that cause reddening, itchiness and swelling. Then on I went to explain hypersensitiivity reaction using the movie "My Girl" as an illustration, telling them about anaphylactic reaction in some people who are hypersensitive.
Patrick showed fear on his face. Maybe he thought he would die too. I told him to stay calm and listen to me.
Anaphylaxis is the kind of hyperreaction to such allergenic compounds that the swelling of cells might cause the airway to get smaller and smaller until the person can't breathe in air. I told them without air we will die. I told them not all people are hyperreactive. I illustrated to him my sister Joy's hyperreaction to an allergen that cause gigantic wheals all over her body and extremeties. I told him his wheal was very small in comparison. I told him our body is equipped with tools to protect us from foreign matter like dirt, not only with our antibodies but with other mechanisms as well, like the formation of pear in an oyster when a snad particle gets inside: layers of coating are deposited to get rid of the irritation.
Then I went on to tell him what to do to minimize the discomforts of such sting: the pain caused by the swelling, the redness and itchiness caused by the chemicals released by blood that rushed to the site. I told him to prevent the blood rush (to limit release of the chemicals) by cooling the site using ice instead of scratching (which would actually heat up the area increasing the blood circulation and would damage more capillaries, causing more premature release of chemicals). He did as I told him.
Now those impromptu lectures no nanny (not even my sister or mother!) can give to my children...

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