It’s every mother’s worst nightmare – and it happened to actress Julie Bowen.
The 42-year-old Modern Family mama recently opened up to the Los Angeles Times about one of her scariest experiences as a parent – when her 5-year-old son Oliver suffered a life-threatening allergic reaction as a toddler.
According to his mother, Oliver – then just shy of 2 years old – was eating peanut butter when he was stung by a bee.
Suddenly, “his entire face swelled up, his eye swelled shut and his lips became giant,” the actress recalls. “We’re not sure what the trigger was, but he went into anaphylactic shock [and] I immediately panicked.”
Julie and her husband, real estate investor and software developer Scott Phillips rushed their first born to the emergency room where he was treated with epinephrine. Although he made a full recovery, the incident still haunts Julie, who has since become an activist in educating the public about kids’ allergies.
“It was so scary,” she recalls. “I don’t want other families to go through that…I want other parents to know what to look for.”
“Parents need to get familiar with the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, to be vigilant and aware and know the triggers,” she explains, adding that Oliver and his twin brothers, John and Gustav, 3, have also been taught what to do in the event of a severe allergic reaction. “Kids are surprisingly able to understand the issue and be part of the solution.[Oliver is] young, but he’s very aware of it and doesn’t think it makes him weird or strange, because it doesn’t.”
“There’s this wave of kids who have food allergies,” she stresses. “Its a big deal; it’s a reality.”