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Another Newbie

Hi Everyone,
I'm new here. My 15 month old son was just diagnosed with a peanut allergy yesterday. I think I'm just overwhelmed right now. Since yesterday, I've gone through the pantry and labelled and set aside everything with possible nuts. My husband and I haven't decided if we want to go entirely peanut free in the house yet, so we've just isolated everything for now. We're going to order a bracelet for him today. My son has broken out in a rash the last several times he had peanut butter, which is what triggered the trip to the allergist. I guess this whole thing is just kind of surreal and I'm looking for any advice you have, especially for those of you with kids who were diagnosed young or have other kids without allergies. So far my older son (4) has been very supportive. He's been eating jelly sandwiches since my little guy's diagnosis. I'd appreciate any support or guidance you guys could provide.


By ramona mcdaris on Thu, 06-12-14, 12:48

Hello! And yes, it is overwhelming, saddening, maddening, and frightening to learn that your child has PA. We have known for only 10 months with ours and I gave him an Epipen on his 3rd birthday, and called 911, who said, "Sorry, we have no EMTs available now." I could not believe my ears, but this is a big city, so, apparently that sometimes happens. Still, I think it is awful and I had to run him by stroller to the ER after giving the Epipen. Well, hopefully that will not happen to you. For us it was one M&M that he found. So, I am frightened by your and your husband's attitude (not criticizing, just frightened) about not removing all traces of peanuts (forever) from your home, immediately. This means washing hands and brushing teeth BEFORE touching your son if you have recently eaten peanuts or food containing peanuts, elsewhere. (Yes, anaphylactic shock has occurred from couples' innocent kiss - just after one of the two had eaten peanuts). And your little guy is obviously too young to read your "labels." But mostly, you must adopt a more serious attitude about PA, NOT of panic, but of total distrust of ANY FOOD to the point of calling the manufacturing companies' Customer Relations person and asking if the food, although showing no peanuts on the label, was possibly in contact in any way with peanuts. This could be from shared equipment with other foods, or from using the same conveyor belt in transporting them. Some reps will try to assure you that "your health and safety are our primary concern, and we WASH THE EQUIPMENT THOROUGHLY BETWEEN BATCHES." Assure them each time you hear this that this is, unfortunately, not good enough. One almost microscopic particle of peanut protein left in a crevice of a machine or mixing bowl can kill your child in 30 minutes. Simple as that. So buy ONLY foods made in a SEPARATE facility from those made with peanuts. I bake my own bread and I called first to be sure the flour was not milled with PEANUT FLOUR in the same facility (before we got involved with PA, I did not know there even was peanut flour!). Hodgsen's is a good company brand for nut-free facility flour. But, ALWAYS CHECK FOR YOURSELF! Do not trust another individual who says, "We have always done fine with X-Brand." Obviously not every grain of flour, for example, will be cross-contaminated, but the one in a hundred that does could be just the one your son eats in his cupcake and shock WOULD likely ensue For a better understanding of this awful allergy, and especially as you are just beginning to learn about it, you and your husband might want to Google recent cases of death by peanut ingestion, even a tiny taste, especially in children. Doing anything you can to avoid anaphylaxis is not "living in a protective bubble." Rather, these deaths from peanut ingestion ARE the real world. Start by reading a couple or three of the articles found by Googling "Natalie Giorgi, 13-year-old Twin Dies" This was last summer, and there were several others deaths from same cause then, but this one will show you what you need to know. Her father was a doctor and she died in his arms after NOT EATING, but only biting into and spitting out a rice-krispie cookie laced with peanut butter. I am not trying to unduly frighten you; rather just trying to get you and your husband onboard the reality of peanut allergy's seriousness. YOU TWO must be your child's most fierce, relentless champions, because you will run head-on into folks, most often family members, who will NOT take this seriously, or else, are simply not aware enough of this fast-growing allergy to care right now. I am an RN and we did not even study allergies (except hay-fever types) in my nursing school. It is the past dozen years that have seen an alarming rise in the number of children diagnosed with peanut allergy. Good luck, and with the newly-adopted attitude that you will, to the best of YOUR ability, keep you child safe (this includes educating his baby-sitters, relatives, anyone at all who is in his presence), he will do fine. But you must be forever vigilant and read, read, read about this allergy, so you are at least armed with KNOWLEDGE of its potential harm, as well as knowing what you CAN do to make your child safe. Remember, unlike your sweet Aunt Mary might say, a TINY BIT of peanut is NOT O.K.! I know you will do fine, and as we did, occasionally show your little boy a peanut, both with and without skin, as well as peanut butter, to demonstrate what he is not to eat, and openly let it be known to him as well as his playmates and their caretakers that he CANNOT SHARE ONE BITE OF FOOD OR DRINK WITH ANY OF THEM--not even one M&M! Do this fairly often and he will not, at this age, be shocked by it, but will gradually realize that peanuts in any form can make him and some, but not all, other kids very sick. That is all he needs to be told for awhile. And we have signs posted on our front and back doors, as well as on our bathroom doors, "No Peanuts or Peanut Products Allowed in Our House--Severaly Allergy!" Your boy will grow up knowing this and will adapt to it and live a normal, happy life. Best of luck to you all

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By mom1995 on Mon, 06-09-14, 23:36

'ddvt' You have been on here one day..... To emply our home was not a safe place for our daughter is beyond your relm of knowledge. I slight no one for choosing to have a nut free home. It is a personal choice that no one should judge. But thank you for contirbution and for making my point that there are still adults out there that make the worng choices in life. In your case judging others.

By ddvt on Tue, 06-10-14, 02:29

With all due respect, I was totally not judging you for anything like that; I was actually responding to your seeming to have judged those of us who do have nut-free homes because you first used the words you used - "living in a bubble", etc.. I am sorry that I offended you.

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By dkdkdk on Mon, 06-09-14, 05:49

My daughter had her first reaction to peanuts at 18mos. It started with a rash on the mouth, then another, then swollen eye and the last with a swollen mouth, tongue. So you can see it gets worse with each exposure. I didn't "feed' her any peanut containing foods but she found a nut on the floor (because thats what babies do). I allowed her older sister to eat peanut butter sandwiches and she touched the knife which caused the swollen eye. I was told not to worry about any nuts other than peanuts. She ate a pistachio which caused the swollen tongue/mouth and a VERY scary trip to the ER after using the Epi Pen & Bendadryl. Not to scare you, but please take this seriously. I did not and I have learned my lesson. She has learned if you don't know whats in it, don't eat it. She deals with it very well. She is 8 now and of course very well aware. She will remove herself (if she is able to) if there is a chance nuts are around. You will do fine with him if you stay on top of it. Read labels, read labels, read labels! The 7 most common allergens (peanut being 1 of them) are required by food manufacturers to use their common name, not their scientific name. If it says "Could contain," "processed on shared equipment," "processed in the same facility," "may contain a trace"..avoid these foods. Sometimes it can be found in foods that you would never expect, such as Walmart brand Onion Soup Mix (could contain almonds), but the brand name Lipton does not state this. Have your Epi Pen/Benadryl with you 100% of the time and stored at the recommended temp. If you take the precautions seriously and have backup foods for him (for birthday parties, school functions, etc, such as frozen cupcakes) he will be ok with it. He might not like it but he will get used to it. Get as much education as you can and make sure you know how to use your Epi Pen. I have 2 older daughters and they do look out for her and are ok with not having peanuts around. The WowButter (Soy Butter) is an excellent alternative. You get used to it after awhile. I wish you the best and pray your son will be safe and still be able to enjoy the many things that will come his way!

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By mom1995 on Mon, 06-09-14, 04:27

After reading so many of the posts I guess I will be the rogue. Our daughter nearly died at 18 months when I fed her a peanutbutter cookie. Which I was informed by a doctor and allergist you should not feed peanut product before the age of two. I guess I missed that page in the instruction manual when we brought her home. She was skin tested just before starting public education and then blood tested after puberty (just before middle school). When they test blood they expose the the samlpe to the protein and then count the reaction. The scale they count on is 1-100. 100 being the most extreme allergic. When they tested her blood they reported back to the allergist that they quit counting at 134 but that she continued to react. Neither the lab nor the allergist had ever seen such a level of reaction. They gave her a 5 on the 1-5 scale for peanuts. We had EVERY nut they had the ability to test for done at the same time. Every nut was a 3-4. So for her she has to be mindful of so many things. I go into such detail as I want to tell you she has never had another reaction as we have learned to live in a world filled with nuts without living in a bubble. We never made our home nut free. The world is not nut free.
She just graduated high school this weekend and she surrived 13 years of public education. There were many times when the adults did not make the right choice but she knew how to keep herself safe. Ultimately you and your family will do what gives you comfort and enables you to be safe.
There were times duriing elementary that I did require nut free classrooms because when they are little they just can not resist touching everything. But we never asked for a nut free campus .
Again I say the world is not nut free. As she is about to go off into the world and off to college I KNOW she is equiped with the skills to keep herslef safe. To ALWAYS be aware of her surroundings . To be sure that someone with her knows about her allergy where her epi-pen is and how to use it. She has had issues at school and even went threw a phase where she did not want to go to school anymore from fear. We would not let her live in fear. It is tough enough sometimes to feel empowered as a girl I was not going to let her allergy add to that. We taught her that she was not defined by her allergy but rather by how she kept herself safe and educated those around her.
I hope this helps you in your quest for knowledge and that your son never have another reaction because he learns how to LIVE with his allergy.

By ddvt on Mon, 06-09-14, 14:36

It is so good to know that your daughter will head off to college knowing how to keep herself safe, just as many other kids who have grown up in peanut- and nut-free homes will. Of course, the world is not nut-free. Making a home peanut-free does not teach that the world is nut-free, nor do we feel that we are living in a bubble - my daughter has traveled extensively both with her parents and with a group of high school students. She goes out with her friends and knows which fast food places to avoid, and how to order ice cream at Ben & Jerry's. But at the end of the day, when she does come home, she really can relax, knowing that there is less (not none, of course) risk here.

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By kricar on Sun, 06-08-14, 22:25

The moment we found out our daughter had a severe peanut allergy was the last time I had any peanut products in my house. Our daughter is 3 and knows to ask before she eats anything but still I wouldn't want to take a chance. Its just not worth it.

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By Barbee on Sun, 06-08-14, 22:04

My youngest daughter was diagnosed at 10 months when her older brother ate PB toast and then kissed her. Her reaction was frightening and she didn't even eat it! We have 3 kids, only one with a food allergy, but we are a nut free house. Maggie needs to have at least one place where she is 100% certain she can eat whatever she wants and doesn't have to ask, "Is this safe for me?" At 4, she is now very good about asking that question and knows not to eat ANYTHING unless mom and dad ok it. Her older brother and sister (8 and 10) are very supportive and protective.

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By ivegot4 on Sun, 06-08-14, 20:25

I would recommend going completely nut free until your child is old enough to read labels and decide for himself what is safe. We have been nut free for 12 years now and knowing that everything in our home is safe for our 3 allergic kids gives me a sense of peace. Navigating food allergies at church, school, restaurants, and friend's houses is stressful enough. I need for my home to be a safe haven where my kids can go get themselves a snack or work in the kitchen without worry. My 13 year old has even told me that he loves being able to eat at home because he can be normal.
He was also 15 months when we discovered his allergies. It is scary, but manageable.

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By jap on Sun, 06-08-14, 17:58

complete peanut ban of any sort including traces, done this for 15 years.It shows support and stops possible mix ups and contamination.
would you give your child candy with a made in the same factory warning, same applies to your home. nobody will die without peanut.

my wife and i get our peanut fix at a restaurant on our own or at a ice cream shop when we are out together.

My daughters school plan is posted.


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