NFL superstar Adrian Peterson knows a thing or two about being prepared. Even after dealing with three consecutive off-season surgeries, the Vikings' running back always returned to the field ready to play.
But at training camp in 2012, an unexpected hit caught the MVP player off guard.
“I remember rising up out of bed and looking at the mirror and my eyes were swollen, my face was swelling, my throat was starting to close,” Peterson told FoxNews.com.
Peterson was suffering from anaphylaxis, a severe and sometimes life-threatening allergic reaction. Fortunately, Vikings trainer, Eric Sugarman, recognized his symptoms and gave Peterson an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) to help control his reaction. Peterson was then rushed to the nearest hospital for emergency medical care.
A few weeks later, Peterson met with an allergist and discovered he had developed a severe allergy to shrimp, scallops and lobster. His reaction had occurred after eating a few bowls of seafood gumbo.
“My favorite food is seafood, so I knew there was some type of reaction, I didn’t know exactly that it was anaphylaxis, I didn’t know what was going on,” Peterson said.
Currently, doctors and researchers do not know why some people suddenly develop new food allergies as adults.
“Food allergies and anaphylaxis, should it occur, doesn’t discriminate. It could happen at any age and it’s unpredictable,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, an allergist and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, told FoxNews.com.
After his experience, Peterson decided to partner with the pharmaceutical company Mylan Specialty to teach people how to respond during a severe allergy attack. Together they launched a new campaign called Ready2Go.
Peterson said the campaign encourages anyone with a severe allergy to have an anaphylaxis action plan.
“It boils down to two things: being prepared by avoiding your allergic triggers, knowing the symptoms, always having access to two EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors.” Peterson said. “And secondly, being ready to respond by using your EpiPen if anaphylaxis occurs.”
The Ready2Go project was inspired in part by a new survey, which found that 50 percent of parents to children with severe allergies are concerned that they would not know what to do if their child experienced anaphylaxis.
“There has been an 18 percent increase of food allergies in the last five to 10 years particularly in children,” Bassett said. “It’s very important to know that food allergies are on the rise and if you have a child or adolescent with symptoms of food allergies, see an allergist, get tested and find out what their triggers are.”
Some of the symptoms of food allergies include;
-Itchiness, hives or swelling of the face and throat
-A feeling of warmth, perspiring
-Throat closure, trouble breathing
-Dizziness and a drop in blood pressure
As part of the initiative, Peterson launched a Ready2Go Draft, a nationwide contest calling for kids with severe allergies to submit a 30-second video sharing their tips on how to stay prepared for anaphylaxis.
“We’ll be looking for kids who are dedicated and are really serious about what they’re saying [about anaphylaxis] and have good tips that can help someone else, because one child’s tip might just help out another,” Peterson said.
Three winners will be selected to join Peterson in Minnesota to film an educational video with the six-time Pro Bowler.
For more information on anaphylaxis and Peterson’s Ready2Go Draft visit Ready2Go.com