Mommy trying to learn about my 2 yr old son's peanut/tree nut/egg white allergy..Need advice and help.

My son turned 2 in July. He has had eczema from day 1. His eczema became very painful after exhausting all of our efforts. I finally took him to an allergist and learned that he is allergic to peanuts (he broke out in hives when they did test), some tree nuts, egg whites and most all trees/grass/mold. The allergist prescribed an epi pen (luckily we have not had to use)and suggested that we eliminate all nut allergens from his diet.

I am slowly learning and trying to educate myself on his allergy and how to keep him safe from reoccurring reactions.

The 2 times that he has been exposed to peanuts (peanut butter and an actual peanut)he immediately breaks out around his mouth and eyes and hands. His eyes swell and he becomes extremely itchy. His eczema will then jump into full force after a reaction.

I am having a difficult time trying to figure out how severe his allergy is. We are in the process of eliminating all allergens from his diet (very tricky..thankful for labeling) and we have noticed a HUGE difference in his skin. It looks great!

So my questions are:
How do I know how severe his allergy is?
Do I assume that each reaction could get worse?
How do I convince my in-laws/friends/family the severity of the matter? (They have given him peanut butter nabs, peanut butter and jelly upon our continuous requests NOT to do so)
He is allergic to egg whites also. What does this mean exactly?

If anyone could give me some advice or have a similar situation..I would be thrilled to talk. Thanks so much :)

Sara

By vanessagill on Tue, 11-05-13, 19:03

My son was born with marks all over his face from scratching in the womb from the foods I was eating. He had severe eczema and was diagnosed at 10 months with peanut, tree nut, soy, sesame, egg, fish and shellfish allergies. He is now 10 and has grown out of several allergies and is now down to peanut, shellfish and sesame.

Something I did when he was little was always make sure I had food he could eat with me. I brought food to the sitter's house, grandparent's house, had boxes of snacks in the car, etc. I made sure that if he couldn't have a cookie at grandma's I had a treat he could have with me. That made everyone feel better about saying "no" to him and he was happy because he got something he loved. Fruit was always a good option for us.

I spent hours grocery shopping and reading labels and eliminated items from the house that my son couldn't eat. I wanted to make sure everything I cooked he could eat, I didn't want him to feel left out and he saw that we were all in this together.

I also stopped eating anything that he couldn't have, especially if there was cake at a party. But that was just something I chose to do for him; his father still ate the cake. I did allow my older son to eat peanut butter occasionally, but he was restricted to one spot at the table when he did eat it, we washed him up immediately afterward. My older son was taught that his brother had allergies and he needed to look out for him. I wrote up note cards with the words of the foods he was allergic to and they both learned to read them very early on. (3-years-old)

When my son was three he had a severe reaction to egg at a family birthday party where a relative had made the cake. I asked if there was egg in the flowers on the cake and he insisted he made it and there was no egg in the mix. He lied. He didn't know all the ingredients, he just assumed because he didn't add an egg. The icing had dried egg whites in it...I knew better than to chance it and the little voice in my head said "don't let him eat it" but I didn't want him to feel left out. I now ALWAYS listen to the little voice in my head. We almost lost him that night. Not as much because of my decision to let him eat it, but moreso because I was trying desperately NOT to give him the Epi Pen. That was stupid of me. Don't be afraid of it, it is your best friend and it's not scary after you've done it. The hospital ended up giving him two Epi's and many other medicines instead. It would have been better if I had just given it to him as soon as I saw he was having a reaction. If you wait too long, there may be nothing that can help.

I gave my son his first Epi when he was 7 and we both cried through it, but then we both realized that it was awesome to have. He felt instantly better and we wondered why we were so afraid to take it. We went to the emergency room just to be safe, and he ended up having a reoccurance of the symptoms and needed emergency help and another dose of Epi. It was a tuff night, but we learned a lot.

You are the one in charge of his allergies, you are his spokesperson and protector, don't let anyone undermine your choices or the way you handle your child's allergies.

My son is 10 now and we always talk very openly about his allergies at restaurants, friend's houses, etc. He knows "it is what it is" and he doesn't want to get sick. He doesn't eat anything "manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts" and he reads the stories about people who have died from their allergies. He needs to know it's serious and so does everyone else around you.

He also knows that everyone doesn't have allergies and he can't expect special treatment all the time. Sometimes he gets mad if our extended family has shrimp at a party, but it's a reality that he has to deal with.

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By autbrat on Sun, 11-03-13, 22:26

When they tested my son they were able to tell me there what the severity was for example his peanut allergy is a 5/5, 5 being the worst possible reaction. So you may just need to speak with the allergist. I know for my son the reaction has worsened every time he was exposed to peanuts. I would tell your family members that it is a life threatening thing, which it is. Depending on how serious his allergy is his throat could close up and he could go into anaphylaxis shock. We decided to go peanut free in our house and that is not for everyone. Luckily this year our school also went peanut free which I am thankful for. But my son was really easy we taught him to recognize the word peanut and he knew to check labels and have an adult to double check. We also eliminated anything that was made anywhere that there could be a cross-contamination because some places don't use dedicated equipment for their peanuts. As for the egg whites my son was also allergic to egg whites but it was less severe than the peanuts, we basically separated the yolk from the whites and he could have the yolk part. He has actually grown out of that allergy though (thankfully) but again it depends on the severity and your son may grow out of it as well. We were told that our son may grow out of the eczema and he still has it but it isn't as severe as it once was (he is now 8). We found this stuff called Honey Bee found here www.honeybeez.com and it works awesome for his eczema!! We haven't found anything else that works as well so if you know of anything I would be open to it. Also there are peanut butter substitutes out there, we use WOWbutter found here www.soybutter.com it is made of soy so it is similar to peanut butter but completely peanut free. Hope this helps and good luck.

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By LSUTigger on Sun, 11-03-13, 18:15

You should have the UKnow Peanut test done. It breaks down the 6 different proteins in a peanut. 4 out of 6 cause anaphalaxis if a child's response is over a certain threshold (-ask your allergist) but the UKnow company will send you an analysis to each protein. It is an easy report to read. Just gives you a much clearer picture of just "how" allergic your child is not that you would ever take any lesser precautions but it really breaks it down and helps for the non-believers especially when they see the bar graph in RED. My daughter was a 6 on the original blood test and when she took this test her results came back almost off the bar graph on all 4 anaphylactic proteins. It really made some of our friends and family members wake up. Talk to your doctor. It's not usually covered by insurance but you can still submit it to count. Our friends child was a 6 originally at 4 years. Took this test at 7 years and found not allergic. They did a food challenge in the office and he was fine. Hope this helps!

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By willsmummy on Sat, 11-02-13, 19:09

Be blunt to family who gives him stuff with peanuts/products by saying- do you want him dead or be liable for killing him? Because that us what will happen when you (they) give him that stuff. Good luck
Also constantly check and double check labels, because items that were safe sometimes changes ingredients and manufacturing. ...

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By PeanutAllergy.com on Fri, 11-01-13, 23:37

Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, PeanutAllergy.com is answering one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

An allergen-specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood test can help determine the severity of your son's allergy. This test is also known as the radioallergosorbent test (RAST®). These tests are typically used when a patient suffers from excema, like in your son’s case. The test is quick and pretty much painless – blood is drawn from the heel or a vein, and results are avaiable in a few days.

As for educating your family members about the severity of your son’s peanut allergy, simply reminding them may not be enough for them to take it seriously. You may have to halt unsupervised visits until you feel comfortable that they understand the potential dangers. Our community has lots of good suggestions for talking with family members, including this post. Have you tried asking family members to watch the Discovery Channel documentary on food allergies?

When your doctor says your son is allergic to egg whites, it means that the egg whites contain a protein causing him to have a reaction. It also means that your son is not allergic to the egg yolk. However, you should still take eggs out of his diet as it is impossible to completely separate the yolk from the white.

We asked our Facebook fans to offer advice, and you can read their responses by clicking here.

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