I am a parent of a peanut and tree nut, sesame, and asthma

I am a parent of a peanut and tree nut, sesame, and asthma 8 year old girl. We have always known she was allergic - since I had her blood tested at 6 mo. She has had a few reactions through the years - but not really bad reactions. We recently returned from a month long trip to Indonesia- which was a bit traumatic for her. Lots of airborne nut smells in all foods-she really only had two reactions on the trip -but it was difficult for her. Since we have been back - she has had three bad reactions in three weeks. First she ate sesame oil in egg drop soup and her face swelled and she got dizzy. I went to her allergy specialist the next day and he said I should have epi-penned her, not given her benadryl. The next week we ate at Taco Bell (which states on its website that it is a nut free facility and she has eaten at a million times) and she knew right after she ate her taco that she was having a reaction. Her lips swelled, her face continued to swell. We epi-penned her and took her to the ER. They kept us for 4 or 5 hours and then sent us home and put her on steroids for a week. She has only been off her steroids for two days and last night I made meatloaf at home (which I do three times a month). She ate the meatloaf and after one bite- she said - this tastes wrong mom. I said I didn't have BBQ sauce and that is why it was different. She ate two big pieces and camp up to me and said - my lips feel swelly or tingly. I looked at all the ingredients and SURE ENOUGH - I bought a different brand of bread crumbs that had SESAME SEEDS!! I epi-penned her and we spent the evening at the hospital again. I am feeling like the most INCOMPETENT AND TERRIBLE mother out there. Two of her three reactions were because of me not checking! I feel like I spend all my time checking labels - boxes and asking people about ingredients - but yet in three weeks she has been at the ER twice because of me!! I am feeling this incredible burden of stress and anxiety and have lost sleep. DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL this same stress and anxiety? I am wondering if I need someone to talk to - Please share your feelings as a parent! I need some support and guidance!

By missicarp on Tue, 07-22-14, 19:02

Thanks for all your thoughtful and kind replies. We are doing better - but just hearing all your encouraging words and thoughts has already helped. We don't have a group nearby - so I will be seeking out help from this forum! Your ideas and thoughts are GREATLY appreciated! Our life is too hectic to only eat at home. We are constantly traveling for sports and life. We have to learn skills to be successful out and about -

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By Skinjob on Tue, 07-22-14, 16:25

As a mother of a four year old with anaphylactic allergies to peanut, tree nut, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, blackberries, blueberries and peaches, we pretty much crossed travelling to Indonesia off our list. It's just too difficult to feed our daughter safely there with all the nuts, the communication difficulties and god knows what on those food carts.

Try not to be so hard on yourself. It's difficult to have to be hyper vigilant all the time. And we all make mistakes. Thankfully you administered quickly. Our daughter has been in the ER four times now, all from foods we have fed her ourselves. Of course we didn't know each time that she was going to have a reaction because she keeps developing new allergies. Her fruit allergies started when she turned 4. Before that she was able to eat all fruits with no problem. She's never been fed anything we already knew she was allergic to because I am a maniac about checking food labels. Her last reaction (fruit) caused her throat to close. That was the scariest thing that's ever happened to us. I gave the Epi at the first sign of trouble and she was okay, thankfully.

To answer your question, yes, I do feel the same level of stress and anxiety you do, especially since now we have no idea what she may have a reaction to next. It's hard but you have to accept it for what it is and do your best to advocate and keep her safe. It is possible that she has developed a new allergy that you don't know about yet, or Taco Bell had hidden sesame?

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By Aidan has PA on Tue, 07-15-14, 18:01

Your problem is easy to fix. Stop eating out and only purchase fruits, veggies and meat and make all meals at home.

Preprocessed foods are damn near impossible to buy without the label saying that it may contain or manufactured with nuts of some sort. Why bother trying?

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By Skinjob on Tue, 07-22-14, 16:45

Because her daughter needs to have a life. You can't just lock yourself up in your house and live in fear. We take our daughter to restaurants and are a total pain in the ass to the waiter and chef, I'm sure, but I will not stop trying to let my kid live as normal a life as possible because of her allergies.

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By smithdcrk on Mon, 07-14-14, 13:51

It is terrifying to know that somethng so basic can be so dangerous for our children. We all have had our moments when we feel we are not up to this challenge. But we are.

Focus on the facts that you have found these allergies your daughter has, sought professional help for her and do read labels.

In the case of the bread crumbs, labels change and allergens can catch us in unexpected places. Lactose in Potato Chips? Peanuts and Tree Nuts in the cake sprinkles? Shortly after my daughter learned to read, she was snacking on and reading the ingredient list on dried cranberries we had bought for years. New Readers read EVERYTHNG. I heard her say "May contain Tree Nuts and Peanuts ..." My heart leaped from 80 to 120! We followed the protocol the doc gave us. She was fine. Did I look in on her that night a little more often just to be sure? You bet. Like those breadcrumbs, I scratched that brand off my approved list!

Taco Bell is NOT your fault. If she had a reaction to something that was supposed to be safe, contact the manager. The food prep person may have had accidently introduced the allergen from a meal brought from home. Changing gloves and hand washing isn't just to prevent the transfer of germs.

Do we lose sleep? Get anxious? Develop OCD? Oh boy, there are days like that! But we cannot let it paralyze us. The skills you are learning to read labels, call manufacturers and carrying an EPI pen everywhere are the skills your daughter will need for life.

Participating in a forum like this is also a survival skill. Connect with others. Check with your doctor to see if there are Food Allergy support groups locally. You can be in a group where your burgeoning OCD/Hyper Mama is supported not scorned. Because they understand your lifestyle, they better than anyone else can help you find that line between paralysis and living.

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