3yo newly diagnosed--looking for comfort zone with daycare! (long-ish)

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Hello all! My son was diagnosed late November 2007 (1 month shy of 3yo, RAST > 100). I've been lurking here ever since, and have learned an incredible amount!

Our long-winded "allergy story", for anyone who's interested:

My son had 2 reactions to PB before the visit to the allergist:

#1: Halloween night 2007, trick-or-treating in a nursing home. Had never had peanut (to my knowledge). While there, son took a few bites of a cupcake, which was topped with what I thought were M&Ms. As I finished the cupcake, realized they were Reese's Pieces. "Oh well, I guess he's had his first exposure--had to happen sometime!" About 3 hours later, son woke up crying, saying his tummy hurt. We got him up, and he started to play, but kept gulping and had a little trouble speaking (at first we thought maybe asthmatic episode, but we were puzzled because there had been no wheezing or coughing). 10 minutes later, he vomited and then seemed fine. He went back to bed (although we checked on him about every hour that night). We suspected maybe peanut reaction, but couldn't know for sure, so we didn't worry too much about it. We knew NOTHING about anaphylaxis at that time!

#2: Late November 2007, daycare. Teacher calls saying he had vomited after eating PB and that I had to come get him. I was BAFFLED because my understanding was that this daycare didn't serve PB! When I got there, I learned that they had a special project for the toddlers that day to make and eat their own PBJ for snack, and had checked child files, none of which indicated peanut allergy (true, but ONLY due to the fact that we had been planning to avoid peanut until age 3, and it had never occurred to me to say so since I thought they never served PB. I wish they had asked parents if this project was OK...). Teacher said after eating PBJ, my son had stopped talking and responding to questions (which apparently didn't raise any major alarm bells, especially since he had behaved this way before, after a hospital stay due to pneumonia). 1.5 hours later, he vomited and then immediately began behaving normally. Teachers said they hadn't noticed any difficulty breathing. When I picked him up, he was a little red and puffy around the eyes, but otherwise seemed OK, so I took him home. Next day, teacher called and said that both she and the other teacher had independently noticed that my son had a blue bottom lip after eating PBJ--neither had mentioned it to the other at the time, and apparently it didn't seem like anything serious to either one of them until after the fact.

The day after the reaction, pediatrician (who immediately prescribed EpiPen Jr.) referred us to an allergist, who we saw later that week. The seriousness of our son's reaction didn't hit us until we saw the allergist's reaction to our description of the "blue lip"--she said that because of the blue lip, she strongly advised against SPT for PA and wanted to do RAST because she did not want to cause anaphylaxis in her office. Husband and I were a little dumbfounded.

So far we've been dealing with things fine at home (thanks largely what we've learned from you all!), but deep down, we're uneasy about daycare. We have always loved the place--great teachers who truly love and care about the kids (his teacher felt terrible after the PBJ incident), very involved director, and our son loves going there. We have no plans of pulling him out. But when I think of the fact that his reaction was life-threatening, and that they didn't recognize it, it scares me.

We've tried to get comfortable with the daycare's allergy preparation and response (especially since they even have other kids there with PA and other food allergies, EpiPens and Benadryl and all, and they've made some efforts to communicate our son's allergy throughout the center), but the more we learn about anaphylaxis, the more we really feel like they're not doing enough to prevent and respond to reactions, and I realize that we're going to have to have serious talk with the director, and soon. Problem is, that SO goes against both my and my husband's natures (we are very much "don't rock the boat, don't do or say anything that might make someone look at us funny" types). I know many of you have been here, and have learned to overcome it for the sake of yourself or your kids. We're still working on it.

If you're still reading...thanks! :)

Karen

On Jan 10, 2008

Hi Karen (and family),

Read the whole post (of course). Great description of your experiences and feelings.

On Jan 10, 2008

Thank you for sharing your story. It does get easier and you do get more comfortable standing up to other people about allergies. My friends get it now and they inform people about allergies.

On Jan 10, 2008

Hi and welcome,

We were in a very similar position when we found out our son was allergic to nuts. I had been avoiding nuts for him due to a family member who was allergic. We found out just after he turned 3, he was already in a montessori that other than food allergies we were very happy with.

They have made many many mistakes. The number one thing we did that I believe has kept my son safe is teach him to only eat food that we give him period no exceptions. He has had many times at school where someone didn't know or someone forgot where they offered him food that was unsafe for him. He has always (thank heavens) declined.

It has been hard on him, one day someone brought honey nut cherrios and he was afraid all day - he could read the word nut.

At the begining I was also like you I didn't like to rock the boat and I am a shy person in general and I was very very emotinoal about his allergy and could barely talk about it with out crying. In the begining I had to have my husband convey some messages for me.

I have changed tremendously over the last 2 years. I don't know if it all of my new awareness on how easy it is for other people to make a mistake or what. but this fall I gave a presentation to all 50 montessori teachers on food allergy - this is something I definitely couldn't have done before. Afterwards I felt immensely better about his situation there, I still think there will be mistakes but overall I hope as a group they have a better understanding of food allergy.

Sorry that was so long hope it helps,

On Jan 10, 2008

Hi Karen,

wow.. you are very lucky. My son was in day care 2 of them in fact. ( they were peanut free) but he had a reaction in spit of the fact that it was a peanut free school. They did not recognize it right away either they called me because he trew up at school. I went to get him and his eye was all swollen and his skin looked like a sun burn ( summer time) i had asked them over the phone if there were any other symthoms...it took me a minute to put it together...

I am sure now they are much more aware and know what to look for.. so I think the teachers will be more careful.

also you HAVE to speak up for your child you are thier only advocate so you learn to be out spoken. The trick is to be polite but firm and not sound like a crazy person.

good luck.

On Jan 11, 2008

Thanks for the replies! I know we can do what needs to be done with the daycare center--the director is the nicest lady in the world, and I'm sure she would be very understanding, so it's not like we'd be walking into a dragon's den. Just irrational social fears... but now that it's finally fully hit me how serious the incident was (the fog of denial has started to dissipate), it's time to overcome those fears!

Karen

On Jan 11, 2008

Hi, I can totally relate to your not wanting to rock the boat or speak up. I am hoping that one positive thing that will come out of this is that I will become more positive and assertive...but I'm still waiting, and meanwhile it's really a struggle to say no to people and fight for what my DD needs. I'm getting better at it, and you will too, with time and practice! Re the daycare, it sounds like they are going through a learning curve, much like you've had to and we've all had to. I'm learning to accept that some people just need to catch up, but that's OK, because they really care and they are deeply committed to being educated and, in some cases, educating me! If your preschool teachers have responded to this reaction by being concerned that they didn't respond adequately, and seem to use this as a learning experience, then you can work with them. Some people just don't get it and never will, and those are people I'm learning to walk away from. It sounds like your teachers are of the former group. You might get a sopy of "Food Allergies for Dummies" or "The Peanut Allergy Answer Book" and donate it to the school - I got a copy of FAFD for our preschool because every year they have diff kids with diff allergies. Good luck - we should form a "Learning to be assertive" support group :) !

On Feb 9, 2008

I need help. I dont know where to start!

I am new to the board because I just learned my two year old son "might" have a peanut allergy. He had a pretty bad reaction to peanut butter served at his day care. The threads have been very helpful.

Last week, I received a frantic phone call from the day care about my son's reaction to peanut butter. The teacher served all of the kids peanut butter and crackers for a snack. After my son took a few small bites, the teacher noticed he began to cough violently "but did not appear to be choking". He then began to vomit everything he had for lunch. (My wife and I never gave my son peanuts or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crackers, etc)

After she tried to clean him up, she noticed his face and neck began to turn very red. His eyes also began to swell up. He was in distress. She notified the administrator, who then called us. The administrator said he was being monitored but appeared ok.

We took him to the doctor the next morning. He gave us a prescription for EpiPen and a referral to allergist. Our doctor said he was probably allergic to peanuts and the next exposure might be much worse.

Returning him to school was another matter. We met with the administrator the following week. She just didnt get it. We expressed our concerns about peanuts in the classroom. She explained how the teacher would make sure he didnt eat peanut butter during lunch or snacks but the other kids were still going to eat it.

I called the Office of Civil Rights. I was told the day care needed to comply with 504 because it was run by a college that receives federal funds.

School is still not cooperating.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

On Feb 10, 2008

In a day care that has such small children I am suprised that they would take a risk like that.. a lot of daycares are peanut free just because it is so risky with smaller kids. I would ask your allergist for an " action Plan" go over it witht he director. Maybe if they see the description from an allergist as to what a reaction can look like and what to do. they may not be so quick to blow it off. Also remind them nicely that it is there responsibility to keep your child safe at day care. I would try to get a 504. But i am not sure they apply to day care?

good luck Therese

On Feb 11, 2008

Hi,

I posted some of my experiences with my "peanut free" school above. Are they cleaning up throughly after snack do the kids immediately wash their hands? I would be inclined to try and find a new school. The rist of cross contamination especially with kids that age would make me really nervous.

If you have to stay there and they are not cooperating at all I would do what you are with the 504 etc.

On Feb 14, 2008

How frightening!

Definitely speak up about all of your concerns with the director of the school - you have to be your child's voice!

You may have addressed this already, but is it possible to move to another daycare?

If you do stay, make sure that each and every one of the staff knows how to use an epi pen and have a plan in place just in case this happens again.

I'm so sorry this happened to you, but as you learn more about this allergy, you'll become more empowered. It gets easier, don't worry :)

On Feb 27, 2008

I am in a similar situation with my 4 yr old son. We are very happy with his daycare. However, my son was just diagnosed with PA and talking to the director, who is a nice woman, was obviously clueless when it comes to PA. My son will be their first PA child who is there for a full day of daycare. I am in the process of having my sons doctor draw up a clearcut plan on when to give epi pen, and to write up some clear cut guidelines so the staff are clear on what due to in case of a reaction. I have printed out some articles about PA and a schools responsibility with having children with PA, and am planning on bringing in copies and distributing to his teachers and the director. I also will be typing up a flyer asking parents in his room to not bring in peanut-containing foods for class parties, etc. (the director has told me I could do this). What I would LIKE them to do is make my sons classroom peanut free. I feel like I need to tread very carefully because I'm afraid they may in the near future find a reason to kick my son out because they would rather not be bothered with having to deal with this, and, honestly, I wouldn't blame them! I too am the type that doesn't like to rock the boat, so I'm really not looking forward to having to go into his school and do all of this, but it seems necessary.

On Feb 29, 2008

Nutty1, where are you in Illinois. We are in a small town - Charleston, people are very clueless about PA. Are you near by?

On Mar 17, 2008

I am in Sugar Grove- Kane County

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