MODERN FAMILY star Julie Bowen is urging parents to get their children tested for life-threatening allergies after her young son went into anaphylactic shock following a bee sting.

Oliver, the actress' five year old with husband Scott Phillips, was stung by an insect as a toddler and his face swelled up, prompting the couple to rush the child to the emergency room for medical care.

Bowen later learned Oliver was hypersensitive to nuts as well, and she is glad she took the time to get him tested because failure to recognise the symptoms of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, can be deadly.

The 42 year old has now signed up front a new campaign, Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis, which encourages mums and dads to get their kids screened to prevent serious health problems.

During an interview on U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America on Wednesday (26Sep12), she said, "We discovered that my oldest son has a terrible allergy to nuts and bee stings... He went into anaphylaxis, which is a really scary reaction.

"We were lucky because he went into full-blown, elephant man, bad plastic surgery face. We knew right away that there was something wrong, but a lot of times anaphylaxis is a bit more like, 'Oh my ears hurt,' 'I'm scratchy,' and people will ignore it...

"We are just trying to get the education out there so it doesn't seem like this big, scary, weird thing. Kids with allergies aren't the ones that are off in the corner in a plastic bubble. My kid runs around in the backyard, barefoot. He does everything a normal kid does... but this is life and death stuff, and if you're a parent you want to know, you want to get educated."