first reaction


Hi! I'm new to the board. My husband and I have 18 month old triplet boys. One of them had been giving us a hard time as far as eating certain foods. Under the advice of the pediatrician, we gave the boys pb for the first time last weekend. Nathan would not eat the bread with pb on it. He just threw it on the floor! Matt might have had a little taste. Jake ate about 1/8 of a slice of bread with pb on it. We ended up in the ER about an hour after he ate it. He had hives on his face, his eyes were swollen, and was coughing and wheezing! He was given a shot, Benadryl and was on steroids for 3 days. He is much better now. I'd like to hear from you parents who have a young child with a PA. Our pediatrician recommended seeing an allergist, but Jake can't be seen until July. I am becoming a nervous wreck about this allergy. I am also wondering if I would have waited to give the pb until he was older, would he still have had a reaction? Because he's a triplet, are his brothers also allergic? I need to know what specific foods to avoid. We go to the pediatrician next week for our 18 month check-ups, I'd just like any advice that you can give me until I get to talk to the doctor. Thanks! Missy

On Jun 6, 2001

Hi Missy and welcome! I'm sorry to hear about your experience and your child's reaction. It is truly overwhelming in the beginning but it does get better as you get in to your groove.

Since your child will not see the allergist for some time, you need to get your doctor to prescribe some epi-pens (injectable epenephrine) which can save your child's life in the event of accidental exposure to peanuts. I know the diagnosis will not be confirmed until July with the Allergist, but based on what you described, your son had a verry serious reaction to the peanut butter, consider him allergic.

It takes time to educate yourself about this allergy, I know I was so overwhelmed when my son was diagnosed at 18 months. You need to start reading labels to make sure the products you feed your child are in fact peanut free, when in doubt, call the manufacturer (some are better than others at labelling). Peanuts can be hidden in many different ways, as in natural flavours, spices, HPP or HVP (hydrolized plant or vegetable protein which, unless specified, can be peanut based). You should visit the Food Allergy Network and the Calgary Allergy Network on line, they have some great information.

As for you other children, I know that siblings have a greater chance of being peanut allergic if they have a brother or sister with the allergy. If I were you, I would have them tested.

You've taken the first step in coming here to get information. This is a great place to ask questions and look for support and answers, I don't know what I would have done without it!

Good luck and let us know how it goes!


Katiee (Wade's mom)

On Jun 6, 2001

I'm glad Jake is doing better now! Nathan's reaction to the pb sounds sooo familiar. My Matt did the same thing the two times it was offered to him. He also had allergic reactions both times. The first time he was just 6mo. I had most definently not planned on introducing it that early, but his big sister had other plans. Within minutes the entire left side of his face was severely swollen. No ER trip, thankfully (but only because I didn't know better), but it did take two doses of antihistamines to get rid of the swelling. His second reaction went much the same way. He threw the pb+j bite across the room without ever eating it (same as the first time). His hands and face started to swell, his nose started to run, his eyes got itchy and watery, and he started sneezing. I was on the lookout this time, though, so he got the antihistamines MUCH quicker...though still no ER trip.

A year later, I found this site and realized we were up against something BIG. That was in October or last year. We couldn't get into the allergist until Jan, but we did see a new ped in Nov, who immediately gave us a prescription for EpipenJrs and taught us when and how to use them. This needs to be your next step, too. Get some Epipens!! Had you had any already when you offered the boys the pb, then when Jake reacted with facial swelling and breathing difficulties, you should have given him the epi then. That's not to say you did anything wrong, mind you. I'm just using that reaction as an example, since it involved two of the criteria for using an epipen (facial swelling, and breathing difficulty). Very, very few people actually have epipens BEFORE their 1st reaction, which makes sense because without a reaction, how would you know you needed one?

Anyways. Definently get some epipens "just in case". As to whether or not Nathan and Matt are allergic as well... If the boys are identical, I would think (I don't know if there have been any studies done on this or not) that their chances of being allergic are much higher than if they are fraternal. If they are fraternal, they still have a higher chance of being PA than most kids, but I would think not as high as being indentical. (if that made any sense!)

Either way, they are not guaranteed to be allergic, just have a greater chance of being so than most kids. All 3 of the boys are at an increased risk of developing other allergies (of any, enviro, etc), as well as asthma and eczema, though. This is because allergies, asthma, and eczema are all "atopic diseases" and seem to travel together. If a person has any one of the 3, they are at greater risk for the others. If a person has any one of the 3 in their family tree...same thing.

My poor kids were just doomed to have problems. We've got allergies and eczema running rampant on one side, and then allergies, asthma, and eczema running rampant on the other side. Both my husband and I have at least one of the three, so the kids were born with a 60% chance of having one or more of these problems.

I'm sorry PA has hit your household, but I'm very glad you were able to find this site early on. There is so much information and support here!! I wish I'd known about this place 2yrs ago. I think it would have made it a lot easier for my family to "get it", had we immediately been given epipens and been told just how serious PA is and what it entails management wise. As it were, we went for a year and half knowing only that pb caused swelling, eye, and nose problems if Matt touched it and that we shouldn't give him anything with blatant peanuts or pb in it. Suddenly becoming aware that we needed epipens, needed to read ALL labels, needed to get a MedicAlert bracelet, etc, etc, after a year with no major problems has made it really rough in getting the family to understand and accept things.

On Jun 6, 2001

I am so sorry that you had to find out about PA the hard way! I am glad that your child is OK. Good advice in the above post. Do not give any of your children peanuts, nuts, or any other highly allergenic foods until they can be tested. I agree that you need to get an Epipen Jr. ASAP.

Even if you get negative results for the other two children, you should keep peanuts and tree nuts away from them for a long time to reduce the chance of them developing an allergy. Shellfish is also highly allergenic so keep your children away from that too.

I am not surprised that your Dr. gave you the go ahead to try peanutbutter but it was bad advice. The medical associations are now recommending that children should not be exposed to highly allergenic foods until they are 4(or 3?). Unfortunately many Dr.s dont' seem to know this.

Welcome to the board. This is where you will learn most of what you need to know. If you pediatrician does not take this allergy seriously and hesitates in prescribing an Epipen Jr., it is time to find a new ped.

On Jun 6, 2001

I agree with what everyone else has already said. I just want to say that your other boys' 'reactions' to the PB, ie throwing it away, sends up a red flag with me. Before we knew about our son's PA, we tried to get him to eat a PBJ sandwich - he didn't want to have anything to do with it!! And he ate anything and everything. He was 18 months when he was diagnosed PA. Your other boys may very well be allergic, too.

Besides, and others may not agree with me, if one of your boys is allergic, it's not safe to let the other two eat PB even if they're NOT allergic.

You've found this site - you're well on your way to being TOTALLY supported and informed. I wish you and your family well.

Take care, Tammy

[This message has been edited by Lam (edited June 06, 2001).]

On Jun 6, 2001

Triplets4us-congrats on your triplets!!! You must be exhausted but having a blast! I have twins!

Sorry to hear you are in the same boat as the rest of us. It is so stressful, but the info on these boards provides tons of info that helps you get oriented and develop a safety zone that is comfortable for you. The most valuable one to me is the board about safe and unsafe food manufacturers. It is generally impossible to find a quiet time in the day to call the food manufacturer's on a regular basis. I do it as often as I can, but not nearly as much as I need to for my comfort zone.

Also, the board that talks about reactions was very hard for me initially, but eventually I was able to extract a much clearer picture of the scope of reactions that I need to look out for.

My sons are 4 years old. One is allergic and the other is not, so far. Nate was diagnosed at 2 years old after one airborne reaction, 2 contact reactions, and one ingestion reaction. Luckily all were pretty mild and subsided quickly w/o meds or ER.

When I called for an appointment with an allergist, it was also a very long wait. My sister advised me to call the receptionist and tell her that I was available anytime there was a cancellation. The receptionist called me back a few days later and I was able to get an appointment within a few weeks!!!

I also agree with everyone that your pediatrician should give you a few epi-pens NOW and instruct you on how and when to use it. There is also info on the boards that will help you determine when you should use it.

My twins are in close physical contact a lot and share everything, so I have been very consistent about keeping both kids away from peanuts in all forms. My non-allergic son is just now starting to question this arrangement. He realizes that he is not allergic and doesn't understand why he must be restricted. On the other hand he is learning to explain to people that his brother is allergic to peanuts and cannot eat anything with peanuts in it, etc. So he is also very supportive, and keeps an eye out for peanuts in unexpected places too.

I was told that there have been studies with twins and allergies. Results indicate that identicals are more likely than fraternals and fraternals are more likely than other siblings to have peanut allergy.

I have found The Peanut Allergy Answer Book by Michael Young to be wonderfully helpful. It is available on and very inexpensive.

Good luck with your little ones!

On Jun 6, 2001

I agree with everyone who posted. If you are a bit timid, as I am, I just want to tell you this: Don't waiver if your ped doesn't feel the need to give you epi-pen prescriptions. Insist on it and if possible be armed with the article written by Dr. Hugh Sampson in the Journal of Pediatrics (online) called 'What should we be doing for children with peanut allergy?'.

I wish I hadn't gone for so long without being properly informed, as well (3 1/2 years). Thank goodness we had no problems in those years. Our only reaction (after his initial 2 reactions at 1 year and then at 15 months) was to a peanut M&M which I most certainly wouldn't have given him had I been told of this web-site earlier on. (thought he might have outgrown it)

BTW, I have identical twin boys, one who is PA and the other is not. Neither eats PNs or TNs, it is too hard for people to tell them apart, even family members. But, as with Kstreeter, my boys are 4 1/2 and I can tell the Non PA son kind of gets that it isn't him who is allergic. He is a bit more nonchalant about it where my PA son is very conscientious (for a four year old). If you have time to read some of my posts, particularly my intro (I think) I tell how my sons were with their intro to peanut butter. Contact me off the boards any time if you like. C&N's Mom Alisa

On Jun 14, 2001

Believe it or not, I also have 18 month old triplets! One of my girls had an instant reaction to her first taste of pb at 12 months. My other daughter and son were fine. My ped ordered blood work to confirm the peanut allergy and to test for other common food allergens. Thankfully, she is only reactive to peanuts. I now always carry benadryl and an epi-pen with me. I have also just ordered a medicalert bracelt. We did not see an allergist. I now know that it is recommened that you wait until the child is older to introduce peanuts, but I believe no one can really say that it would prevent the allergy or the severity. While it can be scary to have a child with this allergy, I have been trying to keep things in perspective. I don't know if you stay home or work. I stay home, so I find that at this age it is somewhat easy to ensure that she is not exposed to peanuts. Of course it means home cooking. I know many people think differently than I do but I try to keep everything in perspective. First I remind myself of all of the horrible things that could have gone wrong in my pregnancy. I am extremely grateful that all three were born healthy. Cerebal Palsy, autism, the inability to speek or walk, breathing with assistance....all are things that we do not have to deal with. We consider this to be an enormous blessing. I just read an article today that over 300 children under 5 years of age drown each year and 2,600 are seen each year for drowning related injuries. This is compared to 2 deaths in children under five in I believe the last five years. I am not trying to minimze the allergy I am just trying to point out that there are so many dangers that face our children every day that we are vigilent about and are now just part of our routine - bath safety, carseat safety, choking hazards.... I do read labels EVERY TIME I shop but it is now just habit for me. I plan extra time when I shop. Just like I plan extra time when I take my children places :-). So hug and kiss all of your children, remember how blessed you are, always carry medicine for your PA child and be as vigilent about food as you are about all other aspects regarding their safety.