We've known my son (now 4 1/2) was allergic to peanuts since he was 1, but didn't have it confirmed through testing til this year. At 1, my mother-in-law fed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He immediately got hives all over his body, got wheezy, and screamed bloody murder like he was in a lot of pain. We gave him some benedryl and luckily the reaction subsided. I didn't realize how dangerous peanut allergies can be, so I didn't think too much of it. When he went to his 1 year appointment, I told his pediatrition about the incident. His advice? Avoid peanuts til he's 2 and when you try them again make sure to have some Benedryl on hand. I didn't realize at the time what horrible advice that was. Well, when he turned 2 I just couldn't bring myself to give him peanuts again, it scared me. At his three year old checkup, the doctor offered the same advice. When I told the doctor I was interested in seeing an allergist, he was like, sure, if you want. My DS started preschool that year and I put on his information sheets I filled out that he was allergic to peanuts. Not knowing how serious the allergy was, or if he was even still allergic, I didn't realize the precautions I should've taken. A month or so into the school year, I picked him up and he was crying and screaming and clutching his stomach in pain. He came home and had severe diarrhea and vomiting all afternoon. He went back to school all better a couple days later and the same thing happened again. I thought he must've not been over the stomach bug yet. So the next week when he returned to preschool feeling healthy again. When I picked him up, he was clutching his stomach AGAIN, but this time I looked at his hands and saw him holding a Reece's Pieces! I questioned him and found out his teacher had been giving him these candies for the last week or so! I confronted the teacher during the next class time and she appologized profusely and said, "Oh I completely forgot he was allergic to peanuts!" I was scared for my son, but still didn't grasp that anaphylaxis was a possibility. The next spring before he turned 4 I took him in for allergy testing. They only did a RAST test and we found out he was also allergic to almonds and eggs. But the lab FORGOT to test for peanuts. Our doctor gave up an epipen jr, but didn't really explain the danger of the allergy. I felt unsatisfied with that doctor so after researching allergists in our state, I found an amazing one that we saw a few months later. He did skin prick testing and RAST testing. The egg allergy was all but gone, thank goodness, but the almond was quite a bit higher and the peanut was off the charts (100 plus for the RAST). Since that appointment I've done soooo much reading and research and now realize the full magnitude and severity of this allergy. We've cut out so many foods that he used to eat that were made in the same facility as peanuts. I'm so glad to now better understand this allergy, but feel so overwhelmed and scared by it all. He's in a new preschool this year that's completely nut free, which is comforting, but every day that he leaves for school I get nervous every time the phone rings, thinking it's the school calling to tell me he's had some horrible peanut reaction. I feel so panicked every time we're away from home and around food, or whenever I'm grocery shopping. We went out to dinner the other night for the first time since his real diagnosis and it was stressful. Does it ever get easier?
On Jan 3, 2009
It does get easier but it never really gets easy. :( I'm glad you found us but wish you didn't have a reason to.
On Jan 12, 2009
Oh bless your heart! I know exactly what you mean about the phone ringing and hoping it's not the school. You get used to reading labels-get pretty quick at it....As for going out to eat you will get used to your favorite ones that handle allergies well. If you feel like the waitstaff/management are clueless, leave. We went to Red Robin restaurant yesterday and they printed out all this info about each food allergy that my son has and we chose something that was best for him...the manager came out immediately and talked to me. I've had managers come out and offer me labels to read just to make me feel comfortable... You will find some good ones. It does get easier. I'm so glad you found a doctor who isn't clueless! I would have been very upset with his teacher, giving him peanuts because she forgot...good grief. That's scary. We had a terrible year in my son's preschool too....but the school he's in now he loves-they serve peanut butter at lunch but they are more allergy aware than the pre K that he went to that was supposed to be nut free! Ironic, huh? Hang in there, you are not alone!