Fear Of Flying...and other questions

Posted on: Sat, 04/08/2000 - 10:39am
barb1123's picture
Joined: 04/08/2000 - 09:00

Hi all, I'm brand new here. My DS 16 months old has anaphylactic allergies to dairy and eggs and a PA. I have a bunch of questions and hope you guys can help me.

I'm an American living in Ireland. The medical care here is abysmal! I finally got an appointment with an allergist on April 19th. DS was RAST tested by a Pediatrician. He only scored a 2 on Peanuts but it is my understanding that your RAST score on peanuts will not predict how badly you will react, e.g. a score of 2 can provoke anaphylactic shock on exposure and a 6 could only provoke hives\swelling. Is this correct?

Are PAs for life? I've been told that DS will outgrow most of his allergies. He also has eczema and asthma.

My parents want us to come over for a visit but I am terrified of being on a plane for 6 hours over the Atlantic. What if my DS is exposed to something? I have an EpiPen but it is my understanding that the effects only last 15 minutes. What would happen after that? Would he die?

I know that some airlines have meds on board to deal with anaphlactic shock. Does anyone know what meds these are and if they would be capable of saving my son until we landed?

Do you have any other general advice? My son's diet is so extremely limited as it is. He is still Breastfed for his milk. He's never had peanut exposure. I haven't eaten anything with peanuts since he was born and very very little during pregnancy.


Posted on: Mon, 04/10/2000 - 8:44am
Nina's picture
Joined: 07/18/1999 - 09:00

pHi Barb -- I'm glad you've found this site -- It'll provide lots of support and information. Sometimes I get completely overwhelmed reading everything, however, so take it all in good measure and use your own best judgement and follow-up with professionals as needed./p
pIt is my understanding from everything I have read (here and elsewhere -- e.g., Food Allergy Network -- become a member, it's very valuable) and from our pediatrician and allergist that the RAST score does not correspond to type/severity of reaction and in fact previous reactions do not necessarily predict type/severity of subsequent reactions -- at least with PA./p
pOur son (now 2) had an anaphylactic reaction to a small amount of peanut butter at 14 months (started as hives, progressed to breathing problems, itching, swelling, etc.). This has been his only reaction and we are EXTREMELY careful about what he eats. It took three shots of epinepherine and nebulizers and Benadryl and oxygen and a shot of steriods before we were out of the woods -- all within about 1 hour of my getting to the Urgent Care. My point is, one Epi-pen would have bought us a little time but would not have stopped that particular reaction./p
pWhen we fly, we ALWAYS request peanut-free flights in advance and call frequently to ensure that our record clearly states this. If you can, United Airlines is probably your best bet -- I would assume they do not serve peanuts on any of their flights -- not just domestic. Northwest is also good -- I don't know about KLM (their partner). I try to board ahead of our son to wipe down the area and scan for any left over peanuts. I have heard of people bring a sheet to cover their seat -- I would think this is a good idea if your child is allergic to touch (which you probably don't know -- we don't know that yet about our son)./p
pWe always carry lots of our own food -- sandwiches, water in tippie-cups, crackers, home-made cookies, canned fruits and veggies -- so that he always has a variety of food to eat (especially in case our flight is delayed); we don't give him any airline food. We also request peanut-free meals for ourselves, just in case he reaches over and snatches something from our trays!/p
pWe carry about 6 Epi-pens with us, a liquid steriod and Benadryl and have instructions from our allergist about doses and order of administration. (I like to be completely prepared for the unthinkable!) When I have asked if it is safe to repeatedly give Epinepherine (if the reaction keeps recurring or gets worse), I have been told "think of the alternative" -- if there is no medical personnel available, it is better to do this than nothing if the situation really isn't improving or is worsening. Of course, please check with your doctors on this advice./p
pOkay - all that aside, I'm getting more comfortable flying with our son. We've had only good experiences and I feel our precautions give us some control and options./p
pOne allergist, prior to learning I had requested peanut-free flights, suggested that we open a jar of peanuts in front of our son in a closed room to see what would happen if he were exposed to smell/airborne. I really can't imagine ever doing this, especially at home -- MAYBE in a doctor's office/hospital -- since his reaction was so severe the first time. But it is an possible option to test sensitivity to airborne./p
pOne more thing -- even though it costs more, I would highly recommend purchasing a seat for your child and having him sit in his carseat. It really keeps my guy confined (which he sometimes hates) and this is so much safer -- no chance of picking a peanut off the floor and popping it in his mouth in the instant I look away./p
pWhew -- this really got long -- I hope it has at least a couple tidbits you can use. Good luck -- it does get easier with time. Nina./p
p[This message has been edited by Nina (edited April 10, 2000).]/p

Posted on: Sat, 04/08/2000 - 1:48pm
momma2rac's picture
Joined: 03/03/2000 - 09:00

pGlad you found us! I believe I saw your friends post on PP. I know there are other parents on this board who have children with similar allergies, Kristine for one. I know she has flown with her son.br /
There is a section/board about airplanes that might be helpful to you. If you have some time do a search of all boards on different key words. I believe there is a link in there that states which airlines have which policies.br /
I know American Airlines all of their planes carry ephenerine on them. I would want to carry more than 1 epi-pen. I cant tell you if he would die or not.br /
I am sure it is overwhelming and a hard decison to make.br /
Take care and good luck. Julie/p

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2000 - 2:37pm
kristene's picture
Joined: 09/27/1999 - 09:00

pMy son is also anaphylactic to milk and eggs, and has gone into anaphylaxis from contact with milk./p
pWe have flown with Eli, without incident - but these flights weren't international. /p
pWhat types of reactions has your son had in the past? Has he only reacted from ingestion? /p
pMy gut instinct is that you would be okay if you took precautions. When we fly, we put Eli in long pants and a long sleeved shirt. We have always had one of us on each side, so that he is not sitting next to a person that spills their tray on him. We order Vegan meals and carry our own snacks. You may want to wipe down the armrests and tray table. /p
pMy son isn't allergic to peanuts.(I post here because his allergies are so severe, and are very similar to PA), but I have heard they are usually lifelong. I think about 10% outgrow them./p
pGood luck in whatever you decide./p

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2000 - 6:19pm
Gwen Thornberry's picture
Joined: 10/14/1999 - 09:00

pHi Barb/p
pI'm sorry to hear that you have such a bad time with the medical system, but do bear in mind that one doctor does not represent all of them. My own GP is fantastic and knows a lot about pa - more than some of the american doctors I've read about on previous posts./p
pAs for the flights home, Aer Lingus are totally nut free. My aunt was a big campaigner for nut free flights a couple of years ago and finally won the battle (one up for us!!). Before you make a decision, ring around all the airlines that do the transatlantic flights and find out their policies. Go for the one you feel is the most knowlegable about pa and has the best policy in place for your needs.br /
Take care.br /

Posted on: Sat, 04/15/2000 - 1:47am
evelyn's picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

pI have a few suggestions regarding the flight. Our allergist suggested the same precautions such as sitting in the middle of me and my husband, wearing long sleeves and pants and long socks, we had our son wear a slick nylon material. We covered the airplane seat with a sheet prior to him sitting in it. we wiped down the armrests and tray. We brought all the food he was going to eat with us. On the advice of our allergist, we premedicated him with Benadryl prior to the flight and had 2 epipens with us on board. Of course, I checked multiple times that peanuts would not be served as a snack to the passengers of the airplane. We made it free of incident./p

Posted on: Sat, 04/15/2000 - 5:20am
Shawn's picture
Joined: 09/07/1999 - 09:00

pHi! Sorry to say, all the information we have seen indicates that our toddler PA is lifelong, and will probably get more severe./p
pWe're worrying about this flying question, too (my husband is military, and we will probably have an overseas move at some point). I would definitely check about the snack policies on the airline you plan to fly. They last four flights I've taken have been on US Air and American Airlines. On every flight, the in-flight snack has been pretzels (aparently, this is a health kick - too much fat in the peanuts!)./p

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