A mom is warning others after her daughter died from an allergic reaction to toothpaste

After her 11-year-old daughter died from an allergic reaction to an unexpected source, a mom is urging families to be extra diligent when it comes to their children’s allergies.

Monique Altamirano, a mother from California, talked to Allergic Living after her daughter Denise Saldate died from using a prescription toothpaste. Denise was diagnosed with a milk allergy when she was 1 years old. Since the diagnosis, the entire family has been careful to read all of the product ingredients in everything Denise consumed to make sure it was safe.

On April 4, Monique took her daughter to a dentist appointment where the dental office recommended a MI Paste One toothpaste to help strengthen Denise’s tooth enamel. The mother had never seen milk listed as a toothpaste ingredient before, so she didn’t check.

“I did not think to look at the product ingredients,” she said. “She was just excited to have her special toothpaste.”

The brand of toothpaste contained the ingredient Recaldent and milk protein. Denise quickly had an allergic reaction after using it to brush her teeth.

“She said, ‘I think I’m having an allergic reaction to the toothpaste,’ and her lips were already blue,” Monique said. “I picked her up and put her on my bed. I ran to the living room, told my daughter—‘Call 911!’—and I grabbed the EpiPen.”

The mother started CPR before the paramedics arrived and took over. They transferred her to the ambulance, but Denise died before reaching the hospital.

Monique now wants parents of children with allergies to check everything and never make assumptions about what is safe for them.

“Read everything. Don’t get comfortable, just because you’ve been managing for several years,” she said. “You can’t get comfortable or be embarrassed or afraid to ask and ensure that ingredients are OK. Be that advocate for your child.”

While this product was labeled, the law doesn’t require allergen disclosure on personal care products, so parents should be extra careful when using a new product. (The FDA only mandates allergen disclosure on food, even though it also regulates cosmetics and personal care items.)

Monique hopes news of this tragedy will spread information about food allergiesand how dangerous they can be.

“Her family implores those who are aware to share their knowledge and to inform those who are unfamiliar with anaphylaxis of the seriousness of this condition,” she said at Denise’s funeral. “They hope that in sharing her story, families, caregivers, school staff and people in general will take this condition more seriously and that all items will be checked for ingredients, even those that may seem irrelevant.”

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