Julie Bowen talks anaphylaxis: a reality in modern families

Modern Family's Julie Bowen is speaking up about Anaphylaxis.
Modern Family’s Julie Bowen is speaking up about Anaphylaxis. Credit: Nancie Steinberg

Julie Bowen has always been a risk taker. During her high school days at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, students dared one another to sneak down to the beach in the snow. Years later, she chose to keep running after tearing her labrum in her hip socket at mile 20 of a marathon training run. But the “Modern Family” star is not taking any risks when it comes to her son Oliver’s allergies. She is teaming up with the “Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis” campaign, helping school communities to better understand and prepare for potential consequences of life-threatening allergies.

Anaphylaxis is a rapid and severe allergic reaction to a particular trigger, such as a food or a bee sting. For Oliver, it was both. “He did have an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts and a bee sting all at once,” Bowen says. “I realized how easily I could have made a mistake, not knowing what his allergies were or what his triggers were,” she says. “The ‘what if?’ keeps me up at night. That’s why I’m involved with Anaphylaxis 101.”

In spite of her precautions with Oliver’s diet, Bowen notes there have been close calls. “We were out as a family at a beautiful hotel with a buffet,” she says. Although a basket of muffins was labeled “nut-free,” Bowen’s internal mom-voice told her to take a bite first. “That nut-free muffin was loaded with walnuts,” she says. “It could have been a very bad day for all of us. We would have had to use the epinephrine injector. We would have had to go to the ER, because by the way, when you do the epinephrine injector, you still go to the hospital. And that’s another reason you need to have two! Because guess what? The hospital might be really far away.”

All of this foresight and preparation helps Bowen and her family to relax. “I have three really active boys. One of them happens to have food allergies. Because we have a plan, because we know the signs and symptoms, because we are aware, we live a totally normal life,” she says.

Part of the plan is teaching kids to read labels. Kids can also follow “The Adventures of Ana and Phyl Axis” and learn how to avoid allergens at anaphylaxis101.com. The narrator of the cleverly adorable free ebook is Bowen herself.

Three tips for dealing with Anaphylaxis

Know what to expect. Some allergies can be life-threatening if they aren’t dealt with quickly and properly. Get a list of common allergic triggers and learn how to treat them at anaphylaxis101.com.

Educate your kids. Teaching them to read food labels and knowing what ingredients to avoid promotes self-care.

Tell school administrators. If your child has special food needs, make sure their teacher and other school workers know. Twenty-four percent of anaphylactic reactions happened to children whose school workers did not know they had allergies.



Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox


2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch


2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.


2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.