2yr. old just daignosed and feeling overwhemed. Help!

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 1:01am
Anxious's picture
Joined: 01/24/2008 - 07:50

My 2 year old son was just diagnosed with a peanut/severe cashew allergy. I've been reading extensively and feel overwhelmed. I'm constantly worried he'll get a reaction from something I may have missed. My question is, does the fear every subside? I'm pregnant with my 2nd and worried that he'll also have the allergy.

1.I read to stay away from bread and croutons at restaurants? Why?
2. Donkin donuts and Krispy Kremes safe?
3. Any chocolates or ice cream brands safe?
4. What can happen at play grounds and what do I need to do to make sure he's safe?
5. His peanut allergy was .43 could he be allergic to peas, green beans, lentils, kidney beans? Do I need to test him or just stay away from those foods?
6. I read labels now and worry that even when their is no warning, he may get a reaction. He has sensitive skin and always has a rash on his face (from heat, or rubbing it on the pillow) and I'm always checking his back to make sure it's not a reaction.
7. He's 2 now. How and if I can explain the allergy to him now. How do I do that? When do you start explaining and how? When he plays with others do I ask them if they ate peanut products and make them wash their hands without even asking what they ate?

AS you can tell I'm super paranoid. I suffer from high anxiety and panic attacks but not on meds. But this new diagnosis is literally making me sick with worry. Any advice, tips, stories would greatly help. It doesn't help when my husband eats reeces right next to him without a care and I'm freaking out.

Thanks for listening and any feedback I receive.

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 3:12am
momto4boys's picture
Joined: 06/06/2007 - 09:00

First...Take a deep breath. After reading your post it reminded me of, well, me about 9 months ago. My ds is almost 4 now and was diag just after he turned three. we knew about the dairy stuff, but not the others. I, too have anxiety attacks that have a lot to do with the food allergies (other stress also). I am still working on my comfort zone.
As far as eating at restaurants, I was already used to asking a lot of questions with regard to dairy so this was not new to me. We usually all avoid desserts at restaurants. Between dairy and nut allergies, there really is not anything that is safe for ds#3.
The play ground issue for me requires a close eye. I just make sure that there is no food offered to ds. I bought him a tshirt that says "I have severe food allergies". He usually wears this to the park and to larger family affairs/parties where more extended family are present. A funny story...My 3-year-old offered him pizza at a party and he politely said no and when she persisted 2 more times syaing that it was really good, he told her in his most irritated voice "I can't have cheese!". I was close by but wanted to see how he would handle the situation.
I do not give him any bakery items. Too many nuts flying around for my comfort.
As for chocolate...Hersheys kisses and some bars are safe. My ds is allergic to dairy so finding chocolate is a major mission in itself (dairy and nut safe). I but a semisweet bar made by Guitard.
I can't help with ice cream. We avoid all for ds due to dairy allergy.
Ds eats peas and grean beans with no problem. Allergist did reccomnend avoiding chick peas (garbanzo beans) for awhile.
I rely on reading labels but will call sometimes for products that may be high risk for cross-contamination and do not have a warning on them (granola, snack bars, snack food in general).
Start explaining to him now. He probably won't get it for awhile, but he will surprise you at how young they can express their allergies. My son gets a flushed face also even when he is just a little warm so I know how you feel. It is very nreve racking but it is manageable with diligence.
BTW my husband was also a reeses junkie and would eat them outside and at work for a while after diag but now he avoids all nuts. We do not allow peanuts or cashews in the house (DS tested positive to these). We have allowed other nut things but still kept way out of reach of ds and only eaten after kiddies go to bed.
I hope this helps. I know how you feel. You have come to the right place for support. I have found a wealth of info on this site but take it easy and take it one day at a time. Ds#4 was only 2 months old when I found out about the PA of ds#3. I am have food issues with #4 and am seeing an allergist with him next Tuesday. (see my post in the main board) How did you find out about PA? What kind of reaction did he have? My ds's first reaction was throwing up almost immediately. Anyways--Welcome and ask away...

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:04am
PeanutFreeInMD's picture
Joined: 04/23/2007 - 09:00

Sorry to hear about your child's allergies, but welcome! This is very overwhelming, I know. When my DS was first diagnosed at 2 I found I could read about it a bit, but had to take many breaks from it or my stress level would rise. He is now 6 and I still have bad days (his is in school too so that is a whole other issue). I would try to read some books like "Food Allergies for Dummies" by Dr. Wood (he also has the peanut allergy himself!), and "The Peanut Allergy Answer Book" by Dr. Michael Young. These will help. I do think starting to teach your child asap about this is a great idea. There are also books for children like "Allie the Allergic Elephant" and "Peter can't eat peanuts." They are a great investment as we have read these many times over the past 4 years. It will take time to come to your own comfort level, you'll be surprised how everyone is different.
I'll try to answer some of your questions...
Bakery items have cross-contamination issues. These are a no-no in our house.
Dunkin donuts have cross-contamination issues and I think have posted peanut warnings on their doors. I know the one closest to us put one up in the last year. Krispy Kremes-some are safe. Call to verify for your location.
Regular size Hershey Bars, Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses only, Peppermint Patties, Junior Mints are some safe chocolates. There is also an online company called Vermont Nut Free that makes wonderful candies.
Ice Cream..this is a tough one. I ended up buying an ice cream maker. It ends all the worry. However, if in a bind, I trust Breyer's vanilla only. The only ice cream place we go to is Rita's...hope you have one close by!
Always read labels as things can change. Remember that companies are not required to warn for cross-contamination issues. They only have to label for the actual ingredients in the product. I do call companies often and keep info stored in a binder in ABC order.
I have found being a member of FAAN is very helpful. You can look them up online.
For our family we chose to be a nut free house. This ends so much of the worry! Don't get me wrong-my husband & I used to be PB fanatics. Once our child was diagnosed with a life-threatening food allergy it was banned from the house! I am allergic to potatoes. I grew up in a house where my mom cooked them at least 3 times a week. No, I won't die because of this allergy, but it caused me to be sick even when I was close-by while she peeled them. I can remember going to my room and opening the window to get air, and thinking "why does my Mom insist on eating potatoes even though they make me sick???" (And I didn't even have "that bad" of an allergy to them!) I would never want my child to question why I kept something in the house that could kill him. His home should be safe period.
Just my humble opinion, but wanted to give my story so you'd understand where I was coming from.
Hope this helps a little...

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 7:35am
niche's picture
Joined: 02/05/2007 - 09:00

Sorry I know it is hard.
We don't have any bakery items with the exception of big name sandwich breads. - after reading the label. This includes restuarants. And I always call ahead to the restuarant before letting my son eat there anyway ask about what might be safe for him.
Icecream - that is tough I too ended up buying a machine. I used to let my son have mc donals plain cones or wendys frosties - however he always coughed after so we stopped.
I wanted to say that I have seen some regular size hershey with the warning we still trust hershey we are just sure to read the label. I also use Vermont nut free for fancier chocolates - for holidays etc.
I agree with talking to them about it as early as possible especially about not sharing food with others - critical later when they get into pre-school kindergarden.
We are also a nut free house, it is really easier to cook with out having to worry all the time about cross contam.
Play grounds my son has never had a problem. I do insist he wipes his ands when he is done or before he eats anything.
Has your son had any of those items previously? My son was ok with stuff he had before diagnosis with no problems (peas). I delayed any beans my son hadn't had before diag until he was 5 - some people say that you are less likely to develop a new allergy at about that age.
Food allergies are very stressfull to deal with you have to think about it before every time your kid eats something - and that is alot! Take care of yourself too!

Posted on: Thu, 01/24/2008 - 3:12pm
HLB's picture
Joined: 01/24/2008 - 21:49

I am very sorry, and I have been going through this since my daughter was one year old. I am happy to say that with lots of diligence, my daughter has not had a reaction since she was 1, that was 6 years ago. The anxiety slowly ebbs away after you get into the swing of managing the allergy, your environment, and the environments your child is exposed. NEVER feel embarrassed or anxious about asking someone to take safety precautions around your child. You would never ask someone to send their child into moving traffic, right?!!!! A goos first step is to eliminate all peanut products and food containing traces of nuts from your home. That means not consuming the foods yourself. If you eat a peanut butter cup and then kiss your child that couls cause a severe life threatening reaction (anaphylaxis). If you have a child with a food allergy, then you start living as though you have one also. Then you know your child is safe with you. When it comes to foods, you must read every label. Do not give your child anything that "may contain traces of peanuts" or has peanuts as an ingredient. It is best to stay away from all bakery made items because of cross contamination. If something isn't prepackaged with an allergy warning that specifically states "Contains:" (used for pointing out allergy causing foods such as nuts, peanuts, milk, soy and wheat) then it is best to avoid it unless you ahve confirmed its safety with the manufacturer.
There are lots of great websites out there like this one to help guide you. I promise, once you do your research and make a plan you will feel more in control of this allergy and better prepared to ensure your child's safety.

Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2008 - 8:19am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

It is all very overwhelming. You will get past this stage of shock, though, truly. The fear you're feeling will lessen as you feel more empowered through developing your comfort zone. The 'zone' is basically how you choose to operate on a daily basis....by answering the questions like you've already posted. You begin forming your comfort zone from day 1 and it may change now and then based on your life experiences. You will get stronger and you will handle things with a new outlook, don't you worry about that. Just take a deep breath and take things one day at a time.
First question...has your child had a reaction already?
[b]I read to stay away from bread and croutons at restaurants? Why?[/b]
I stay away from everything that I have not confirmed is safe for my child to eat. We don't put anything into our child's mouth unless we are sure it is free from the offending allergen. Generally, baked goods are made in facilities that will often also make items containing nuts. Only a handful of companies will disclose on the packaging whether or not their product has a chance of being cross contaminated by being made on the same manufacturing lines as peanut or cashew laden items. Alot of people do not want their child eating bread that was made on a line where they just got done making nutty bread. You know what I mean? Those items are then called 'may contains' because there is a chance they [i]may contain [/i]peanuts, or cashews, or what have you. It can be hard to verify that croutons at a restaurant were manufactured safely unless you do alot of research with the manager. And that is IF you are avoiding 'may contain' items. As with anything there are exceptions....not everybody avoids may contains.
[b]3. Any chocolates or ice cream brands safe?[/b]
That's a tough one. There are some Hershey's chocolates that are safe, and many that are not. Kisses for example, some are safe, many are not. You MUST read the label for each product every time. Hershey's labels really well for cross contamination (from manufacturing processes). You will eventually learn the companies that do label well. Search here on this site for companies and you will find ones that most people trust. See, all companies are required to tell you what [i]is[/i] in their product, but not all are required to tell you what [i]MAY[/i] be in their products (may contain peanuts, may contain almonds and hazelnuts, etc.) Some companies are more dedicated to the allergic community than others.
[b]2. Donkin donuts and Krispy Kremes safe?[/b]
Last time I checked: Dunkin Donuts are not safe...haven't been for a very long time. Krispy Kremes are safe and have been for awhile. But never take MY word for it, do the research for yourself. Check out sites online, call numbers if you want to. But remember, not everyone here calls companies or researches online, this is something that you [b]can[/b] do if you want your comfort zone to be pretty tight.
[b]6. I read labels now and worry that even when their is no warning, he may get a reaction. He has sensitive skin and always has a rash on his face (from heat, or rubbing it on the pillow) and I'm always checking his back to make sure it's not a reaction.[/b]
Sounds like your child has sensitive skin as well. It's hard to gauge that against a true reaction, isn't it?! I can tell you though, if you slowly figure your way through basic safety issues, I feel like you'll be in a better place to spot a reaction should one ever occur.
[b]7. He's 2 now. How and if I can explain the allergy to him now. How do I do that? When do you start explaining and how? When he plays with others do I ask them if they ate peanut products and make them wash their hands without even asking what they ate? [/b]
I explain it to my little one as 'this is not safe for you. It can make you sick. Let's choose a food that is safe for you to eat.' And I leave it at that. You'll be surprised how fast they pick up the lingo...asking 'is this safe for me?' Stay positive about things with him, and he will too stay positive.
How you handle other little ones who play with your child will be a learning process. If you want to, advocate for your child by asking other parents about what their child has eaten recently, it can be a great way to educate others about PA in a positive way. And of course just be vigilent and always bring your meds (benadryl and epi pen), and try to teach your child not to let others put their fingers into your his mouth and that he should avoid doing the same (hard with a little one, I know!). That's always a good lesson even without allergies.
[b]5. His peanut allergy was .43 could he be allergic to peas, green beans, lentils, kidney beans? Do I need to test him or just stay away from those foods?[/b]
What does your allergist say? I would suggest truly talking with your doctor about this. I know many PA people do have issues with other legumes, but certainly not all of them.
[b]It doesn't help when my husband eats reeces right next to him without a care and I'm freaking out.[/b]
This is tough. I know it's hard enough just getting schools to take it seriously! I'm sorry your DH isn't on board with things yet. Keep talking to him, get armed with information and slowly educate him. Living with PA requires an entire new mindset. Check out foodallergy.org for information on PA and maybe he will change his mind...it's just all so new to him now as it is to you.
Most of all, just breathe, in, out. You will get through this!!! And you are not alone!

Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2008 - 9:03am
Spoedig's picture
Joined: 09/17/2004 - 09:00

My 11 year old PA/TNA son (PA diagnosed at 12 months - number in the 50's) has only had 1 reaction (around 4-1/2 when we discovered he was contact allergic - played with a child who had eaten pb -- but had also washed) -- I AM NOT telling you that to upset you and worry you -- ONLY 1 reaction in 10 years!!
I think part of his being reaction free for so long is I make 98% of what he eats. I understand the extreme anxiety from having your husband eat pb near your child -- as will probably be mentioned by others here - EVERYONE has their own comfort zone. I DO NOT ALLOW any chocolate in our house -- many times you will see recall notices (even on popular brands) on chocolate and ice creams. When my son was diagnosed at 1, it was an easy choice for me (even though I loved chocolate) because his life is more important than my desire for ANY food. I also felt that a young child would be CONFUSED by being allowed some chocolate but not others (and back then no computer to check websites, etc.)
Please ask his allergist about legumes and liklihood of sibling having same allergy. Also, perhaps the allergist could explain to your husband his potentially deadly eating habit. Some families have pb but place limits on where is eaten, utensils etc. --
If you feel the need to check your son's back frequently, this may eventually make him fearful -- I understand your fear - does he ask you what you are looking for??
At age 1, it was obviously easier to "explain" the allergy -- we just lived peanut/treenut/chocolate free and it became the NORM. Perhaps when you read labels, etc. just start working it into the conversation and let him know he is allergic, then work up to what you want to tell him about how serious this is.

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