Does Severity of PA = Stricter Comfort Zone?


This ? was actually raised by Cayley's Mom in a different thread and she gave me permission to post it as she is not coming to the board for awhile. Neither am I actually. But, does the severity of your child's PA or suspected severity mean that your comfort zone is "stricter" than others who have children with a less severe reaction (to-date)? My answer to this ? is no. I do not have a stricter comfort zone because of the severity of my son's PA. I hope this opens up some good discussion. Best wishes.


On Oct 13, 2000

When my son was first diagnosed, I would sometimes call manufacturers and check ingredients. I didn't worry too much about shared lines unless there was a label.

Now, I am even more relaxed because of his lack of severity. Even though he tested 4+, showing he should react to the most minute amount, he has eaten peanut flour and picked peanuts off things with no reaction (before he was diagnosed.) Now I let him occasionally eat bakery products even though I know they're almost definitely cross contaminated (he's tree nut allergic too), I have let him eat ice cream from an ice cream parlor, etc.

I've also met a couple of PA adults who stay away from peanuts, but other than that, don't do much--they don't worry about cross-contamination. So yes, my comfort zone is related to severity. FAN told me, in response to an email question, that my son is not truly considered allergic since he has had known exposure and never reacted. If he ever reacts, my comfort zone will change. Oh, I also don't mind if kids around him are eating pb, but I don't allow my friends to bring pb sandwiches to my house.

On Oct 13, 2000

I would have to say "yes". Unfortunately (or fortunately) I'm really not sure how severe my son's reaction is. He has always tested a 4+ on the skin prick test. His first reaction as a baby was wheals on his face and swelling eyes. He had never had another reaction since even though he has been near peanut butter and we even suspect an accidental ingestion once when he was 4 years old. Right now I am assuming he is not allergic to smell. I am strict in the sense that I don't want peanut products served in his classroom and he has a peanut free table for lunch BUT I also don't get too upset if someone is eating a PB&J sandwich in the same room and we can smell it. We read labels and do not feed anything with a "may contain" statement but I do use products that are manufactured in plant that uses other products which may contain nuts but I will not use anything from a shared line. I guess if airborne allergy was my concern I would be much more strict. Christine

On Oct 13, 2000

I think so. I guess it also how the specialists react to giving info about results of childs testing. In my childs case they stressed (in a pleading way-like they've never seen so many so high in anyone) to always have Epipen with him. We make special foods all the time. But he's getting tired of same foods, he's tired of saying no all the time to food offered but thankfully will still say no. He is getting fearful of being around some foods(ones with may contain labels) and insists on family brushing teeth after egg, sesame, or bought chinese. We don't eat peanuts or nuts in the house. I used to be able to have him fed safe foods first before we eat something he can't have. He won't choose from list-he's so bored with safe healthy options. So tonight he ate safe junk food for breakfast and dinner! His teacher is nice and trying hard to make things easier. Most people are just clueless to the presion of finding brand, size, codes etc that is safe as you can get with information companies are able to provide. To then have to recheck and reread labels each time item is bought. Or of the steps we take to prevent cross contamination of safe foods once it gets sent in to school. This year no else in classroom wears EpiPen and his eczema has been made fun of.

My non-food allergic son has to deal with issues regarding this too- like when he politely says no to peanut/egg containing candy and teacher encourages him to bring it home to another family member- when he still says no she implies he is being rude! He just rolls his eyes but doesn't explain- he's tired of explaining. So am I.

Take Care, JBP

On Jan 22, 2004

Thinking about "severity" and "potential".

WRT PA and only wrt *my* own personal, highly individual and unique situation:

I have one cub with a formal diagnosis of "PA".

I have another cub with an incomplete diagnosis of "PA".

The way we (hubby and I) manage and educate both of them WRT PA is the same: "erring on the side of caution".

Knowing what we know.

Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.

On Jan 22, 2004

I would have to say yes, in my personal situation.

At first I did allow peanuts and pb in my home - I just didn't eat them. As my reactions became more severe (and my son wasn't careful) I banned the actual peanut containing products, but still allow may contains.

After last summer's reaction, I considered banning may contains (mom guilt still stops me), but I honestly think another reaction from someone else eating may contains, and I probably will ban them.

If it was my child with pa - initially I think my answer would have been yes (severe reactions = stricter comfort zone), but, with the knowledge I now have - no. If my child had pa, with minor reactions, there would be 100% ban in my home.

On Jan 22, 2004

Well, 3+ years after raising the question, I feel the need to explain first my original answer. My comfort zone, which is basically still the one I have in place to-day, was based on that of a PA child who had had two anaphylactic reactions by that point and had almost died. [img][/img]

I think my requirements of the school, even though they really haven't changed and my son is certainly older and most in charge of his allergy (if you will), are maybe a bit stricter based on his anaphylactic reaction to residue in the school last year.

However, all in all, when looking at my comfort zone for Jess, things really haven't changed since we got the comfort zone in place when he was 2-1/2 and had his first anaphylactic reaction.

Cam's Mom mentioned something in another thread to-day re comfort zones and I have to say, after the initial diagnosis of PA, when Jesse was 18 months old, and not being told anything about the allergy except prescribed an Epi-pen and then told nothing more, I wonder how Jesse survived.

My initial comfort zone? We still had peanuts in the house. We just didn't let Jesse eat them. We still ate them and didn't take any precautions whatsoever before touching him. Now, in just posting that, who knows? Perhaps that's what triggered his first asthma attack when he was 2-1/4. Who knows? Never thought about that 'til this very minute. We still had tree nuts in the house and still allowed Jesse to eat tree nuts. Still had "may contains" in the house, just didn't let Jesse eat them.

Through learning, and unfortunately not here, but life experience itself, Jesse had his first anaphylactic reaction when he was 2-1/2. That's when I put into place the comfort zone that we currently have, and even that, some may consider lax. I don't feel the need to wipe down tables in public places or handles on grocery carts or avoid certain situations like riding the public transit because of Jesse's PA.

As I said above, my comfort zone with the school hasn't really changed since Jesse entered in JK. Chrikey, even then, I wasn't able to go on field trips with him and off he went, with a super educated teacher (re PA) at 3-3/4 years of age without me.

Even with our comfort zone in place at 2-1/2 years of age for Jesse, he still had the anaphylactic reaction at 3-1/4 where he almost died. How could this happen? It simply did. We were at a church function and Jesse and his Father went to pick out a dessert from the dessert tray. He picked a pb rice krispie square, not knowing the rice krispie square had pb in it and his Father didn't notice.

When he got back to the table, I could smell the poison and started screaming, church or no church function. However, denial and under-education of both my husband and myself about the use of the Epi-pen, dialing 911, getting to the hospital, etc. almost cost Jesse his life. [img][/img]

Again, last year, everything in place that I could possibly ask from the school, peanut free classroom, yadda yadda, and he has a reaction to residue in the halls. Something we had NO control over whatsoever. This reaction also sent me into post-traumatic stress syndrome kinda thing for MONTHS afterward. All it did was increase my anxiety about Jesse in school but it didn't change my comfort zone with how we live our lives.

So, for me now, the answer would be definitely my comfort zone is based on Jesse's reactions.

However, having said that, if he hadn't had any anaphylactic reactions, with the education and information I've been able to receive here, I would hope that I would still have the same comfort zone in place. Hard to tell though 'cus that isn't what's happened with us.

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Jan 22, 2004

I have a very very strict comfort zone although recently my DD's RAST scores were level 2 peanut and 0 for all other nuts tested. Dr's said that those are encouraging numbers. I personally don't really go by numbers I just remember the trip to the ER last Feb. 19 and speeding like a crazed lunatic and NEVER EVER wanting to go through that again. (knock on wood)

On Apr 6, 2004

A little answered question, but it did pop into my head when answering another new thread to-day. [img][/img]

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On May 13, 2004


On May 13, 2004

CC's Mom, welcome! [img][/img]

I actually think you should raise your question separately from this thread so that you can get an answer to your question *properly*.

My son has had three anaphylactic reactions and almost died during one (his second one, third reaction).

However, I have never actually had him *officially* tested for PA. So, I can't help you at all.

I don't have a *score* for the severity of his PA. Perhaps other members who do can help you sort out what the scores mean and the potential that lies therein.

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On May 14, 2004

Alternative I didn't realize you had never had your Son tested to Peanut. May I ask why not? My Dr. said that it is best to have the paper work and things for school and other places he goes. With his severity we didn't do the prick testing this last time. He reacted so bad to the skin tests. We did the blood test the last time and was at ease with that. As far as severity being reason for my comfort zone I guess the answer would be a yes.I have witnessed him almost die a couple of times because of someones stupidity. I have been extremly strict with PA and will be forever even though he is an adult. I have a strict comfort zone with my 6 year old and he has never even eaten pb but I am so afraid even having been tested and knowing he isn't allergic i am to afraid he will have a reaction. I told the school no nuts for my little guy and they respect that. Take care Claire

On Jun 22, 2005

Simply re-raising. [img][/img]

Best wishes! [img][/img]

On Jun 25, 2005

Hmmmm..What a good question Its a very hard question to answer my sons results were very high for cashew nuts and high for peanuts we wernt given any numbers, but if we were told he was low-moderate i wonder if i would still be as cautious. We have never had any trips to the ER(touch wood). I am actually thankful a little that his results were so high because if they wernt and it made me a little less cautious then there is room for mistakes. So unfortunatly i cannot answer the question i think i would need to be in that situation to know what i would do.

On Jun 25, 2005

Not at all for me. My daughter only had one reaction from peanuts to date (knock on wood) which resulted in a few hives on her face. I am probably one of the more stricter moms in regard to what she can and cannot eat. I worry about any new food and don't trust any restaurants.

I feel the fact my father has severe tree nut allergies plus all the horror stories I've read about keep me from letting my guard down.