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By NinaLemon on Wed, 07-14-10, 01:01

Hi my name is Jeannine, this weekend we had a big scare; I gave my 18 month old son peanut butter for the first time and he had an anaphylactic reaction. I did have the Benedryl all ready before I gave the PB to him and it was a good thing because the reaction came on very fast. Almost immediately he started to itch his eye, I kept watch on him to see if it was an itch or a reaction, after a minute or so he wouldn’t stop rubbing so I looked and saw his eye was red and starting to puff; I gave him the benedryl immediately.

My husband was away on business, I started to panic a little, unsure of what to do and who to call, wondering how serious it was, I got a hold my sister who is a nurse she just told me “call 911” I called and by the time the paramedics arrived the entire right side of his face was swollen. I was definitely panicked and having a hard time thinking clearly and asked the paramedics if I should drive him to the hospital (in my head I couldn’t figure out how they would take him since there were no car seats in an ambulance); they very kindly said “it’s OK we can take him”. On the way to the hospital he became more lethargic and swollen, the paramedic was asking me questions and keeping me focused on him I think so I wouldn’t look at my son. At one point I looked at his little face and he was very swollen, his right eye was swollen shut and even his lips were swollen and purple. They gave him epinephrine in the ambulance. We got to the hospital and pretty much everything was a blur; I was told later that his tongue had also been swollen and that he was having an anaphylactic reaction. The reaction came back 3 or 4 times but thankfully was less severe each time.

We were released from the hospital the following afternoon with an EpiPen, a few scripts and orders to see our pediatrician on Monday. That afternoon everything that happened seemed to hit me at once and I lost it (a few times), I couldn’t get the image of his swollen face out of my head and was terrified of it happening again, I was afraid to put him back in his high chair or to even let him in the kitchen in case I had missed a spot of peanut butter somewhere. I was feeling like it is inevitable that this will happen again and they say subsequent reactions are worse, I just didn't want to see him like that again.

I hate that I can't control his environment, I want to tattoo peanut allergy across his forehead and give everyone he comes in contact with the 3rd degree asking what they have eaten.

It has been two days now and I am feeling a little more calm, we have an appointment with an allergist in two weeks. I am supposed to take him to a children's show and out to lunch with my parents on Friday - I am a little nervous but I also don't want to start sheltering him to the point that he doesn't experience anything. I am going to call the restaurant beforehand to see if they use peanut oil or products and ask the protocol for peanut allergy patrons. Are there places you avoid or take extra precautions at because of the allergy?

Are these reactions a common occurrence? I never want to see my son like that but don't know if it is reasonable to think I can prevent it. I now carry an emergency kit with benedryl, EpiPen and nebulizer at all times. I hope to never need it.

Could a reaction "wake up" other allergies? He hasn't had a problem with tree nuts (I have been giving him nutella since 12 months) but now I am nervous to give it to him.

I'm sorry this has been so long, I think it was a bit of a release from this weekend, man I can't wait for my husband to get home from his business trip!

Thank you for listening,

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By cervonil on Wed, 07-14-10, 12:52

You poor thing! So glad you called 911 - very smart. It is all very scary and overwhelming! I also want to tattoo peanut allergy on his forehead ;) Your allergist should help answer a lot of your questions. I'll try to help with a few.

Since your son has already had an anaphylactic reaction he is more likely to have that type of reaction again if he ingests peanut. But reactions can vary - depends on many things. How much he ingested, what type, how his immune system is at that moment. You just never know and always have to be prepared meaning having Bendryl and epi pen with him AT AL TIMES! and be prepared to use it. When in doubt use it.

The allergist will test for tree nuts as well - but regardless they'll probably tell you to avoid all tree nuts as well due to cross contamination.

check your local library and get some books on food allergies, peanut allergies. I have read a few and am now reading How to Manage Your Child's Life-Threatening Food Allergies: Practical Tips for Everyday Life by Linda Marienhoff Coss. LOVE this book!

Also, try to find a local support group, I think I found mine through FAAN.

Good luck, it is scary, but I hear it gets easier once you learn how to manage things.

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By Mrsdocrse on Sun, 07-18-10, 12:20


I am glad everything is ok now. Scary experience. In the begining I felt just like you. I thougt... Oh god we are not going to be able to leave the house, ever! But after you get used to the idea it is managable. We have successfully gone on vacations to Canada, on Cruise Ships, we fly a couple of times a year. We eat out a couple of time a month. It can be done. My son is almost 10. I took all the "peanut products" including the may contains items out of my house. Read all the food labels of products you buy. If one of the ingredients is one of the 8 major allergens, it has to be listed. Most companies put it bold. Alot of companies also list it if it "may contain, or made in the same facility" FAAN is a great website to visit for lots of helpful info.

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By NinaLemon on Mon, 07-19-10, 13:26

Thank you for the responses. I am starting to feel better and more in control. Last Friday I had plans to take my son to a children's show and then out to lunch. I was very nervous, but called the restaurant in advance and then again let them know about his allergy when we got there.

Everything turned out just fine, I feel like it was a victory for me, I wanted to back out of the plans but knew I couldn't. I can't shelter my son to the point that he doesn't get to experience life. I am still nervous about restaurants and other public things, but I am learning to take baby steps and to not be afraid to question people about what is in the food they are preparing.

I have also found a local FAAN support group and look forward to meeting other parents dealing with FA.

Thank you again for the advice, experiences and kind words!! I am starting to feel normal again :)


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