Asian Americans with PA

Posted on: Thu, 07/24/2003 - 6:38am
ophie's picture
Joined: 07/24/2003 - 09:00

We just found out that our 1 year old daughter has PA. We are still very upset, shocked, worried, feeling guilty and wondering why we were given this PA burden....

One thing that has really been bothering me is how our daughter can function socially when so much of our culture revolves around our food. I'm really interested in hearing how other Asians out there have dealt with PA particularly in social settings. For example, how do you deal with Chinese banquets? When my daughter grows up, is she going to have to decline all banquet invitations? Is there a graceful way for her to attend without eating the food?

Posted on: Thu, 07/24/2003 - 10:51am
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

ophie, hello and welcome! Im sorry to hear about your 1 yr old. How did you find out your daughter was peanut allergic?
If you read these boards you will find lots of information and support. I am not asian so I cant help you there but I think for a lot of people, no matter what nationality the world seems to revolve around food.
It is not easy but you will get through it!

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 1:35am
ophie's picture
Joined: 07/24/2003 - 09:00

We gave our daughter a small piece of bread with peanut butter 3 days shy of her 1st birthday. She broke out into hives all over her face. We gave her benadryl and the hives went away immediately. After speaking with our pediatrician, we took her to an allergist for a skin test. She tested positive to basically all nuts and egg whites. We were scared half to death when the doctor looked us in the eye and told us our daughter could die. Her future reactions could be fatal. When she showed us how to use the epi-pen I was in shock. How could this be happening to our family? I cried for 3 days straight. I feel extremely guilty and responsible since my OB did indeed tell me to keep off peanuts while I was pregnant. I didn't eat enormous amounts of peanuts but I didn't avoid them either. I just thought it wouldn't happen to me...and it did. We're still trying to cope. It's been really hard. We realize that even close family members just "don't get it." This site brings us some assurance and comfort as we read the experiences of others.

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 1:57am
mae's picture
Joined: 07/12/2002 - 09:00

Hi ophie! You'll learn so much here. Its such a shock and overwhelming at first. My son was diagosed when he was 18 months old - he broke out in hives when I gave him the corner of my toast (which had PB on it) - and from that day on I started reading and researching. DS is 8 1/2 now and I'm still reading and researching! [img][/img]
There is someone who posts here ( and my brain is frozen right now so I can't remember her name) - whose husband is Korean, I believe.
We have a Japanese girl (22) staying with us right now - and have had to explain DS's allergy to her. I guess because not many Asians have PA - its hard for her to understand.
You'll find lots of support here [img][/img]

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 2:01am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I am really sorry you are taking this so hard. I wish you didn't feel responsible for your daughter's PA. So many people eat peanuts while pregnant and nursing, and only a few end up with children who are PA. Other mothers eat no peanuts and their children end up allergic anyway.
It is good OBs are telling patients to avoid peanuts, but this is done only as a precaution. The link between eating peanuts while pregnant and having a child with PA still has not been definitely proven. So far it is only a theory. The evidence is somewhat stronger that peanuts during breastfeeding play a role in PA, but even that is not definite.
Nobody would intentionally give their child this allergy, and I hope you will get some peace on this eventually. I can honestly say I feel no guilt about my son's PA and I don't think anyone should. My PA son also has a cleft palate which is supposedly my "fault" because it's "from" my side of the family. I know so many parents of cleft babies and they struggle and research genetics and read medical texts to try to figure out if it's their fault...for some, the tendency to blame themselves is very strong, no matter what the disability is.
It is frightening to hear your own child could die from a common food, but the good thing is that very few actually die from it. And the best news is that it's especially rare for very young children to die from it--their mothers are extremely vigilant!! You will find ways to keep your child safe, I'm sure.
It's especially hard for you with your child allergic to a food that's so central to Asian cuisine. It will be hard, but not impossible. I remember Erik, one of our members here, posted that he found a Chinese restaurant with no peanuts. Also, when you cook at home you will be able to provide safe food for your child. Our family is Middle Eastern and our son is severely allergic to sesame, which is common in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a problem, but we have been able to accommodate it somewhat.
Hang around here and you will learn so much about managing the allergy. My son is 7 and he is doing great--healthy and happy and life is good without peanuts!!!

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 2:08am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Sandra Y:
It's especially hard for you with your child allergic to a food that's so central to Asian cuisine. It will be hard, but not impossible. I remember Erik, one of our members here, posted that he found a Chinese restaurant with no peanuts. [/b]
Hi Sandra,
Yes.. I have found a few Chinese restaurants in Toronto that do not use peanuts. Yueh Tung near Dundas & Bay is where I usually eat since they don't use peanuts...
So it is not impossible. I have never found a Japanese restaurant that uses peanuts (warnimg: they all use sesame oil) so Japanese food is another choice that may be safe.
The allergy will get easier to manage as time goes on, and you learn more. PA.COM is a great place to learn, in addition to other sites in the "links" section.

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 5:18am
ophie's picture
Joined: 07/24/2003 - 09:00

Thanks everyone for your supportive words!
Erik - the fact that you've been able to find at least one peanut-free Chinese restaurant is encouraging. Just wondering if they were totally nut-free, ie did they still serve dishes with cashews? You do give me hope and I will begin my quest to find a restaurant out here - SF bay area.
Sandra Y - Just wondering how you have dealt with large banquets and parties where it is impossible to control what's in the food. You also give me a lot of hope in knowing that your 7 year old is healthy and well.

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 6:34am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Ophie,
They did use cashews... so even though it was peanut free they do use cashews. Since I am not allergic to tree nuts, I am not concerned about that, but I hope there might be a totally nut-free Chinese restaurant too.

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 9:07am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Hi Ophie,
I hope you can stop beating yourself up. Even though nobody was making any connection when I was pregnant and breastfeeding between maternal nut consumption and allergy, I felt guilty anyway. But you know what? With the heavy family history of allergies and eczema, it was probably bound to happen. I ate the same way with his older brother and he isn't PA - just the roll of the dice I guess.
As for banquets, etc., I guess that will be a challenge but I'm sure you will find a way to deal with it. We never turn down invitations, we just bring separate food for our son. Like Sandra Y we have friends who are Persian, and their son is allergic to sesame and nut - [b]very[/b] central to their cultural cuisine. They are also learning to just bring food along for him.
Oh, the member with the Korean DH is Abers.
I'm sure you will learn lots on this site.

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 3:25pm
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Welcome, ophie. I understand about the horrible guilt feelings; I've been there too. But, I hope you'll be able to lose the guilt before too long. It took me a while but I finally no longer feel responsible for my dd's peanut and tree nut allergies. It helps to read the experiences of moms here who did not consume nuts while pregnant or nursing and still have allergic kids. Or, as Going Nuts pointed out: many moms eat basically the same diet with numerous pregnancies and only have one allergic kid. I think it is only human nature that we all think (or used to think) "it couldn't possibly happen to me/my kid".
I also live in the SF Bay Area, and off the top of my head I can think of at least 3 pa kids who have (at least) one Asian parent. In case that makes you feel any less alone...
Good luck! [img][/img] Miriam

Posted on: Sat, 07/26/2003 - 11:48am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

Welcome to the gang Ophie.
I have a friend who's Korean and allergic to sesame. He's also in trouble because sesame is a very common ingredient, from what he told me. He has managed to find a few (one or two?) Korean restaurants that are safe for him. So his family goes there. BTW, he's 26 or 27 now. Been allergic since he was a kid.
I've been told there's a peanut-free Chinese restaurant where I live, but I don't know where. The son of the owners is anaphylactic to peanuts, so they got rid of all peanuts.
Once you get over the shock, you'll realise there's *always* a solution to every problem.


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