top of page

Acerca de


"I Lost a Battle with a Peanut, but Won the War."

-Quoted by Kristin Reel, February 20, 2023

What started off as a great day quickly flipped into a scary nightmare due to a tiny object the size of a mustard seed.


Kristin and Brandon woke up and had breakfast together before heading out to work on a rental property then to the gym. A few hours and a great work out later, they decided to watch a live band at a brewery in Leesburg, VA. They had an absolutely great time! Kristin, as a brewer herself, educated Brandon (wine snob who strangely founded Hike For Beer), on different hops and brewing styles while tasting a flight at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery.


The band was great, and they had a blast. They returned home for a relaxing evening watching Game of Thrones. With Brandon doing his snacking on the couch beside Kristin, she caved and desired her own small snack.

"Find me a double chocolate candy in the valentines heart box." Kristin requested. Brandon started breaking the candies in half to find the chocolate/chocolate treat and ensure there were no nuts inside. Kristin has a deadly allergy to peanuts, as well as all tree nuts and shellfish; but peanuts are the absolute worst. 

"Bring it here", Kristin said, "I know which one it is." Brandon walked the metal tin over and Kristin inspected a few chocolates before identifying the double chocolate candy.


Strangely this tin has no "chocolate map", no ingredients, and no warnings. There is no writing at all besides a date, and the brand name of the chocolate company, Whitman's.

After selecting the chocolate, Kristin bit off a small piece, chewed once, and spit it out after tasting a nut. She didn't swallow it. She got up, swished water around in her mouth, rinsed and spit several times. Within 2 minutes, her entire neck and chest was bright red.

As you can see in the actual photo above, it was one sliver of a nut. This is the remaining piece of chocolate she had taken a bite from. Standing still in the kitchen and leaning against the granite countertop, Kristin felt that she would be OK. She also immediately took Benadryl after rinsing her mouth. But then her breathing began to change, becoming strenuous. She strained to take shallow breaths. Panic crept in. Brandon ran to his truck to get her epinephrine injector while dialing 911 simultaneously. 

With 911 on speaker phone, the EpiPen was prepped but Kristin didn't want it yet, still thinking she would be OK--that it would pass. Getting injected with the EpiPen is not fun as it can make your heart race, give you the shakes, and make your heart hurt for several days afterward. The 911 operator received the details of what had happened as she sent an ambulance incase things deteriorated. Then Kristin became weaker and started to itch all over. Brandon helped lower her to the ground and they decided to administer the EpiPen. Kristin's breathing became increasingly shallow and Brandon was alarmed by the concern and worry growing in her eyes. Between keeping Kristin calm and making sure the ambulance was en route with correct directions, Kristins status continued to decline and become very worrisome. Sitting on the kitchen floor and leaning against the wall, she didn't want to move. Brandon became more stressed and anxious, wondering where the ambulance was after hearing the sirens 4 minutes prior but still having no sight of them. Finally, the ambulance found the driveway.

Paramedics in front of Kristin and Brandon's home on February 20, 2023

As the EMT's entered the home with their gear, they began talking to her, asking questions and setting things up. They took her blood pressure and placed an oxygen monitor on her finger. She started to show signs of calm as the equipment revealed her levels were slightly low but not dangerously low. Kristin explained to the EMT's that she did not wish to go the the hospital, that the EpiPen had probably kicked in and that she was feeling better. She was still going back in forth from calm to fits of quick gasping-like breathing successions. A paramedic decided we should at least help her up and guide her to lay back on the couch. Brandon and the paramedic helped Kristin slowly to her feet, there was a pause, then Kristin went completely unconscious. They guided her back to the floor and laid her down as the other EMT's sprang to action prepping their own dose of epinephrine. Brandon and the paramedic called out to Kristin, patting her body, trying to wake her up. She was still breathing but faintly. Right as the second dose of epinephrine was ready, Kristin's glossy eyes opened with alarmed concern as her head shook side to side. The EMT administered the second dose to her other leg. They immediately put a PICC line into her arm and gave her 25 more milligrams of Benadryl. At this point it was agreed all around that Kristin was going to the hospital--they went to retrieve the gurney. Brandon followed behind the ambulance as Kristin received a third dose of Benadryl and two other medications through a nebulizer to reduce inflammation. Finally, things stabilized. 

In the Emergency Room, Kristin received steroids and a histamine blocker to stop her body from overreacting to the shard of peanut that entered her mouth. After three hours past from her first EpiPen shot, they were signing out of the hospital.


Nut allergies are serious business and not to be taken lightly! One EMT called out in the Ambulance, "Wow! This has been the most excitement I've seen since I've been on the job!"

Peanut allergies are extremely scary, and they can absolutely have a fatal end, as occurred in this tragic case where 15 year old Alexi Stafford died after consuming a Chips Ahoy cookie. She also had received 2 epinephrine shots.

The piece of peanut that went into Kristin's mouth was extremely small, and wasn't even ingested. 

With this being the third such occurrence in three years, Kristin and Brandon declared they will no longer allow unknown foods in the home. Kristin often makes her daughters peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for school, washes her hands immediately after, and is always fine. If peanut butter touches her skin, it can get red and blotchy, but has never become a problem. However with as scary and dangerous as this simple, common food is, "the peanut", it just isn't worth it! You may have never met someone with such a reaction to an allergen or witnessed it first hand, but it is real and it is scary! Be aware of the products in your foods and especially if your children have friends over, ask and be sure nobody has any food allergies. Crazy how one person can enjoy an entire container of peanuts and to another, a tenth of one peanut can be a toxic, deadly poison. Don't doubt it, it's real!

The completely unlabeled tin of Whitman's chocolate that Kristin grabbed candy from.

Kristin is glad to have successfully overcome this allergy attack (an allergy that she despises), and is happy to be alive, getting to work the very next day, and to be flying out to South Carolina this evening to see her eldest daughter play her second college lacrosse game of the season!!

When Kristin was asked how she'd explain her experience she smiled, "Well, I lost my battle to the peanut but won the war!"

Kristin is a down-to-earth, dedicated mother of three girls, a hard working employee of the Howard County Government, and a successful Real Estate Agent who would love to assist you in your next sale or purchase anywhere in Maryland or Pennsylvania!! Contact her by any means below and let her know you're glad she's alive!

Rippeon & Co | Charis Realty Group

C 301-466-3420

O 301-831-5099

Kristin Reel

Let’s Work Together

Get in touch so we can start working together.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
Thanks for submitting!
bottom of page