Asthma Steroid Causes Anaphylaxis in Young Boy

Harry’s Story:

Young boy with medication allergies

After a terrifying ordeal, Denise from Southampton is now a passionate advocate of allergy alert wristbands.

The mother of one had a nightmare experience when her three-year-old son Harry suffered the shocking effects of a steroid administered in hospital.

Little Harry suffers from seasonal asthma and is in hospital about twice a year with the condition. On a routine visit two months ago Harry was put on a nebuliser – a machine that creates a mist of medicine that’s breathed in through a mask.


“The nebuliser wasn’t helping as it normally does, and the doctor decided to give Harry a dose of prednisolone, which is a type of steroid,” says Denise.

It had shocking effects. Unbeknown to Denise and the doctors, Harry was allergic to it.

But it won’t happen again. Harry now wears a children’s ID wristbands engraved with his name and “prednisolone allergy”. The medical alert symbol ensures that paramedics and first-aiders will see the band in any future emergency.

“As long as he’s got his ID band on, if emergency services are called out for whatever reason I know he’ll be safe.”

Young boy wears allergy alert wristband

Medical Aids Have Given us Peace of Mind

Allergy clinic specialists straight away suggested some kind of medical ID.

“My dad immediately went online and started looking for allergy alert wristbands. Harry is a big dinosaur fan, so when we came across The ID Band Company’s dinosaur band it had to be that,” says Denise.

“I also bought him a blue child’s silicone band. I knew he’d have to wear the ID all the time at pre-school or on trips out, so it’s nice to have some variety.”

Pictured above: Harry wears his watch style dinosaur ID bracelet

 A Bad Reaction

Shortly after Harry was given prednisolone Denise immediately noticed a bad reaction.

“His skin had gone all blotchy and looked a little swollen. I told the doctor it must be the steroid because he hadn’t had anything else. She told me it was an impossibility that the medication could have done that and it must be the detergent used on the bed sheets or something.”

As Harry’s asthma hadn’t eased, he was kept in hospital overnight. The next day doctors gave him another dose of prednisolone, with shocking effects.

I’ve Never Been So Scared

“Harry had full-blown anaphylaxis. His throat closed up, and the only way he could communicate was by screaming and putting his fingers is his mouth.”

Nurses raised the alarm and considered intubating Harry if the reaction didn’t calm down.

“I’d never seen anyone have anything like that before. It was so scary,” says Denise.

“It was like on TV when you see a nurse lay the hospital bed down flat and eight doctors run up the corridor. You can never imagine that will happen to you. Harry was really poorly, he just lay there and didn’t fight anything. He was such a brave boy.”

A dose of adrenaline and nebulisers cured Harry’s reaction and he was kept in hospital another night for monitoring.

“It was the scariest thing we’ve ever been through. The paediatric consultant saw us afterwards and said it has to be the prednisolone that he’s allergic to.

Boy wears allergy ID bracelet You Can Never Be Prepared

“You can never be prepared for anaphylaxis no matter how old your child is,” says Denise. “Nobody wants to see their children in that situation.”

Denise feels angry that medical professionals didn’t listen to her when Harry had his first reaction, but is grateful his anaphylaxis happened in a safe place.

“I’m frustrated they didn’t listen to me when they gave him the first dose of prednisolone. We were lucky that it happened in hospital, otherwise the outcome could have been a lot worse.

“Because it’s such an unusual allergy, the top consultant at their local hospital has taken a special interest in Harry. I’ve given permission for him to undergo testing and be their case study. If it’s going to help another person I’m all for it.”

Harry doesn’t need to carry an EpiPen because prednisolone is something only a medical professional could give him. The wristband reduces the risk of this happening, meaning Denise doesn’t have to worry as much.

“With his ID band on, I’ve got peace of mind that he’s safe.”