First Severe Reaction

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2004 - 7:56am
jennk1's picture
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Joined: 03/31/2004 - 09:00

Recently my 14 month old son had his first reaction to peanut butter (that we knew of). I gave him a small amount of peanut butter on toast. Within a few minutes he began to smear it on his face, maybe becuase his face was itching? The reaction consisted of hives on his face which eventually turned into his whole face swelling. He nevered seemed overly bothered by the incident - no breathing trouble - just keep smiling like nothing was going on. I called 911, gave him benadryl, and went to the pediatritian - he recovered very quickly with no sign of breathing difficulties. I now have an epi-pen jr. and an appointment with a pediatric allergist tomorrow.

Here is his history:
*I ate some peanut products while pregnant/nursing
*My son had colic and had pretty sensitive skin as an infant - occassionaly having an isolated single hive bump on his body
*My mom gave him a tiny taste of peanut butter (first exposure that we know of) a few weeks before the situation above and he had two tiny hive bumps - at the time it didn't seem related to eating peanut butter, but in hind-sight I feel like an idiot.

Here are some of my questions:
1. Has anyone else had this type of scenario? If so, what were subsequent reactions like? Is it likely that his next reaction will be anaphalactic?

2. When I tell people about his peanut allergy, some people have made me feel guilty by questioning my giving him peanut butter at 14 months. They'll say "why did you give him peanut butter?" like I'm an idiot and caused his peanut allergy. Everything I had read before said just to avoid it the first year - Now I am digging deeper and some doctors suggest waiting until 3 - 5 years and avoid peanut products while pregnant/breastfeeding. Now I feel like his allergy is my fault and I feel sick about it! How can I get past this guilt and feeling of doom about the allergy.

3. How do you ever like a normal life after the diagnosis? I feel like I can never let him go on play dates, I'll probably have an anxiety attack on his first day of school, I'm afraid to feed him any new foods, I keep thinking about him being a teenager and out of my control and that he will die of a peanut allergy reaction! How long does it take to get a grip?

Thanks for reading this long e-mail. I just needed to write out what I was feeling and find out if others have gone through the same thing.

Jennifer

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2004 - 8:59am
Kim M's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2001 - 09:00

Jennifer, this sounds almost exactly like our experience, right down to the idiots who said, "Why did you give her peanut butter so young?" She was 14 mos, same as yours, and we followed our pediatrician's advice to the letter about introducing foods. She had told us to wait until 1 year old before introducing any food that was considered allergenic, because I had allergies, although not food allergies. My daughter didn't even have that first taste of pb before her reaction; as far as I know, her first taste resulted in her first reaction. Swollen lips and tongue, swollen eyes and face, hives all over her body. But no respiratory involvement. I also ate peanut butter while pregnant and nursing.
I was so angry at myself after her reaction, especially when members of my family started saying you weren't supposed to give peanut butter until three years old. Well that was news to my pediatrician. I have read some things now that say that, but it is far from common medical advice. You need to ignore the people saying that to you, because you followed what most doctors will tell you to do.
The good news is that my daughter is now 5 1/2, and she has never had another reaction. We are very careful to avoid exposure, and obviously we've been successful so far. We were actually hopeful that this meant that she might have outgrown her allergy, but CAP Rast testing last fall put her at a Class 5, so still highly allergic. We were fortunate to find a peanut free school that she has been attending since pre-kindergarten, and we will be sending her to a private school that is peanut free starting with first grade next year. I know lots of posters on this site who have been successful negotiating safe procedures with public schools, but we feel since we have peanut free schools available, it just makes more sense for us to take advantage of them.
I have found this site absolutely invaluable for the information it has provided. I wish we didn't have to deal with this allergy, but it is not the end of the world. Welcome!
I wanted to add that you should probably consider your son's reaction anaphylactic, even though he didn't have breathing difficulty. The fact that he had swelling means that more than one body system was involved, and I believe that is the definition of anaphylaxis.
[This message has been edited by Kim M (edited March 31, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2004 - 9:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jennifer, welcome. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] You'll have to forgive me, I don't know how to use the quote feature so I copied your whole post and I'm going to respond to it (I can be a pain in the butt, but hopefully you'll be able to sift through what is yours and find something helpful.
Recently my 14 month old son had his first reaction to peanut butter (that we knew of). I gave him a small amount of peanut butter on toast. Within a few minutes he began to smear it on his face, maybe becuase his face was itching? The reaction consisted of hives on his face which eventually turned into his whole face swelling. He nevered seemed overly bothered by the incident - no breathing trouble - just keep smiling like nothing was going on. I called 911, gave him benadryl, and went to the pediatritian - he recovered very quickly with no sign of breathing difficulties. I now have an epi-pen jr. and an appointment with a pediatric allergist tomorrow.
My son is now 8 years old. He had his first PA reaction at the age of 18 months and when I think back to every symptom he had, I now believe it was anaphylactic. However, whenever I discuss his reactions, I never count the first one as anaphylactic.
Okay, so you didn't know your son was PA until the reaction? Positive thing - you have the Epi-pen Jr.
Here is his history:
*I ate some peanut products while pregnant/nursing
There are studies and much discussion on this board about pregnant and nursing Mothers who ate pb and peanuts products while pregnant and a lot of Mothers blame themselves for their child's allergy. However, I have hated pb since I was 4 years old and if I consumed any other peanut products while pregnant with my PA son, it would not have been a substantial amount at all. So, I personally, and only because of what I just posted, don't buy into that theory, or don't buy into it for my son at least.
*My son had colic and had pretty sensitive skin as an infant - occassionaly having an isolated single hive bump on his body
My son was also a colicky baby. I have probably raised the question here about how many of our PA children were colicky as babies. I'll try to find it, even if it's really old to see what the response was. As far as sensitive skin, my PA son's skin is sensitive, but he never had any hives.
*My mom gave him a tiny taste of peanut butter (first exposure that we know of) a few weeks before the situation above and he had two tiny hive bumps - at the time it didn't seem related to eating peanut butter, but in hind-sight I feel like an idiot.
I don't think that you should feel like an idiot. You didn't know. The reaction that my son had I still think was his first exposure to peanut products, although I am sure he probably had a "may contain" product when we didn't know about the allergy. So, no need to feel like an idiot. Truly.
Here are some of my questions:
1. Has anyone else had this type of scenario? If so, what were subsequent reactions like? Is it likely that his next reaction will be anaphalactic?
Okay, so I never counted my son's first reaction as being anaphylactic. However, looking back (and my mind is too tired right now to list the symptoms of that first reaction so long ago), I do now think it was. However. He had his first reaction at 18 months of age. His next reaction was at the age of 2-1/2 when he had pb on toast unbeknownst to me when I finally let him go in the child next door's home. He then had his third reaction, second anaphylactic one, at the age of 3-1/4 where he almost died (due to stupidity and denial on the part of his parents).
So, given all of that, that he had had at least two (and probably three) anaphylactic reactions, I always expected that all of his reactions would be anaphylactic from then on out. However, his fourth reaction was a hive only (two hives actually) reaction to a cross-contaminated product. A *mystery* reaction.
His last reaction (5th) was an anaphylactic reaction to residue which he touched and it either entered his body through his mouth or nose.
Now, given my son's history, I do expect that he will always react anaphylactically, but I do not think that this is really true. I think though that it is important to recognize that one can have what would be considered mild reactions for quite some time and then boom, there is an anaphylactic one. So, there is always the potential for an anaphylactic reaction and the thing you want to do is try to avoid that. If you're able to do that, your child does have a 20% chance of outgrowing the allergy. Once he has had an anaphylactic reaction, that chance is blown out the window.
2. When I tell people about his peanut allergy, some people have made me feel guilty by questioning my giving him peanut butter at 14 months. They'll say "why did you give him peanut butter?" like I'm an idiot and caused his peanut allergy. Everything I had read before said just to avoid it the first year - Now I am digging deeper and some doctors suggest waiting until 3 - 5 years and avoid peanut products while pregnant/breastfeeding. Now I feel like his allergy is my fault and I feel sick about it! How can I get past this guilt and feeling of doom about the allergy.
Okay, I just posted within the last week or some, information I got from Nestle Good Start and it was not even clear in that literature, which is current, that you should NOT feed your child pb or peanut products until three to five years of age. So, if you have no indication that your child is going to have a food allergy (i.e., no family history, etc.), then really no one is clearly saying NO peanut products or pb 'til 3 or 5 years of age. Or, it's not consistent to say the least.
Even in asking recently pregnant members here what the books like What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect the First Year and Toddler Years, there is no clarity about not exposing your child 'til they are 3 to 5 years of age. Sadly, most of us learn this too late.
Lose the Mother Guilt. I'm not a fan of it because you're going to have enough to deal with educating yourself about the allergy and you certainly don't need to feel guilty that you somehow *caused* your child's allergy. You really don't. All the what if's, that kinda stuff. They aren't going to help you. Honestly.
3. How do you ever like a normal life after the diagnosis? I feel like I can never let him go on play dates, I'll probably have an anxiety attack on his first day of school, I'm afraid to feed him any new foods, I keep thinking about him being a teenager and out of my control and that he will die of a peanut allergy reaction! How long does it take to get a grip?
I honestly can't tell you how long it takes to get a grip. For our family, personally, it took our son almost dying to realize how severe his allergy was. If I can help one PA parent not to go through that, then I will feel as though I have accomplished something posting here. Again, my son was diagnosed at 18 months, but we really didn't "get it" as his parents, until he was 3-1/4 years of age and near death.
After that, so for the past 5 years, I've learned as much as I could possibly learn about the allergy. It goes in stages, of age, and what's going on with your child, and don't think ahead to the teenage years yet. Think of stuff that yes, you'll do along the way to prepare your son and keep him safe, but don't worry about that yet. As I said, my son is 8 and I can't think about teenage stuff yet because I'm worry about 8 year old stuff right now. Do you know what I mean?
Thanks for reading this long e-mail. I just needed to write out what I was feeling and find out if others have gone through the same thing.
Jennifer
Yes, I've gone through really a lot of the same stuff as you have and I think it's perfectly *normal*. What I would like to say is that you've found what I consider the *best* place to be to get information, support, caring, encouragement and concern. Even though my son is now 8, I have been a member for 4 years at least and I have learned almost everything I know about PA from people here. Honestly. They have helped me with every step along the way and in ways that people in *real* life have not been able to.
Jennifer, you'll be okay and so will your son. I'll try to re-raise the Nestle Good Start thread so you can see that we're still not being clearly told to avoid pb and peanut products consistently.
I just spoke with my ob/gyn a couple of weeks ago when I had to go to see him and I asked him if they were now advising women to avoid peanut products while pregnant and nursing. He said that yes, they were, but at the time I was pregnant with my son, and even with my daughter (who is 6, non-PA), they didn't know. But that's in a big city. I'm not sure if women are getting that information from small town hospitals or not.
Hope this helped. I do apologize for having to copy and paste your post but I wanted to make sure that I answered everything that you had to post, and even after all this time being a member, I still don't know how to do the quote thing. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2004 - 12:50pm
Driving Me Nutty's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/01/2003 - 09:00

I'm glad you found this website early on. It has been sooo helpful to me. I was in your shoes almost exactly 1 year ago. My dd is now 33 months. It is very overwhelming at first but does get easier to manage. As Lisa Cipriano Collins writes in her book 'it is normal to go through a mourning period after learning about your child's food allergy'.
I also find it more manageable to deal with the 'now' rather than freak myself out and think about field trips 5 years down the road. Most schools and pre-schools that I know about have a no peanut policy already. And even in the past year I've noticed some companies getting better about labelling. Just read labels (twice) and call the company if not clearly marked.
Most importantly, don't blame yourself! I still find that most pediatricians recommend PB on toast at 12 months, against the AAP recommendations. And 90% of moms that I talk to about PA also gave PB to their children around 1 year of age.
I'm answering your questions in reverse order [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] and lastly, as your allergist will tell you, it is impossible to predict what his next reaction will be like. There are so many factors and everyone is different. My dd's only reactions have been hives to contact with peanut residue (3 times) and sneezing/watery eyes when around peanuts at a ball game (before she was diagnosed).
Good luck with the allergist tomorrow!
Pamela
------------------
Mom to Karissa June-01 (PA >100 CAP RAST)

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2004 - 2:52pm
renny's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

Your scenario is mirror image to mine. My son was 14mo old at his first reaction. I also ate peanut butter while pregnant and nursing, even when I knew he had eczema. I didn't know what I do now and I beat myself up for quite awhile.
The fact is you didn't do anything different then anybody else. Most parents did exactly what you did and their child is not PA. You followed your doctor's advice. Like DrivingMeNutty said DON'T BLAME YOURSELF!
I haven't been on this site very long but found a wealth of information here. It is wonderful to "talk" with people that understand what you are going through. My best advice is get informed and take it one day at a time. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2004 - 3:47pm
lalow's picture
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Joined: 03/24/2004 - 09:00

I just wanted to reply to this because I am going through a very similiar situation right now. My 14 1/2 month old son ate a nutter butter last month and broke out in hives. We went to the allergist today and came home with a epi-pen and orders to get a blood test in a month (the allergist said to wait 4 weeks since his reaction was recent). I too ate peanut butter while pregnant and nursing. Not much but some. I kept him away from peanuts untill the other day and didnt actually deliberately give it to him (he found it on the floor). He too was a very colicky baby and has sensitive skin. he has had hives before in reaction to milk (we think) and we are getting that tested as well. It is killing me to have to wait a month for the test. Anyway, our situations sound very similiear, as do my reaction. I have been doing a lot of research and trying to talk to my husband about it but he doesnt want to think about it until the allergist does the testing. (He is willing to keep peanut products out of the house). Good luck

Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2004 - 2:52am
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Hi Jennifer,
I know, it's a rough road, and it's very emotional after the initial diagnosis. Try not to beat yourself up, we've all done similar things, and all we can do now is do the best we can to protect our kids.
I too ate peanuts while pregnant...also ate alot of eggs and milk. But, I have twins, one allergic and one not, so I try to convince myself it wasn't my diet. I wasn't able to breast feed and my ds still developed the allergy.
We found out b/c the allergist told us to try milk at their 9 mo. appt. He reacted to the milk and the few reactions he's had have been to accidental milk exposure.
Hang in there, get support from the board here, take one day, one milestone at a time. That's what I try to tell myself anyway...
By the time your child goes to school, he will sadly have plenty of company in terms of allergies I'm afraid, and the schools will have to be on top of it.
Take care.
------------------
Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2004 - 3:32am
patsmommy's picture
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Joined: 10/31/2001 - 09:00

Hi Jennifer
My sitaution is almost similar. My sons first reaction( ddnt know it) was to a smear of pb on toast one hive on his lip. I then gave him a peanut butter cracker about a month or two later. He spit it out and started vomiting and getting hives. I felt the same way you did,like an idiot.
Dont beat yourself up. You had no way of really knowing. I ate peanut butter by the jarfuls while pregnant. No one told me not to , except this wacky chiropractor I was seeing. She told me it was posion. I laughed at her... now I think that too.
As far as the age in which to introduce peanut butter, isnt it funny how its only after the fact that everyone says "why did you give t to them , they were too young" All my firends kids ate pb at my ds age he was the only one that has an allergy.
I am sorry yo are going through this. However you did find a great site. That book taht was mentioned in the previous post is great.
You will go through periods or anxiety and then everything will fall into place. When he gets older and starts school or anytime a new challenge comes up you will be anxious again. Its a cycle.
I was crazy when I first found out then I calmed down a bit,I learned about it , eliminated pb from our house. Then he started school. I was crazed. But then I found a peanut free school. He finished his kindergarten in the public school and now goes to private school.
You can email me whenever you want.
Hang in there!
------------------
[b]Florence[/b]
[i]Patrick[/i]-PA/TA
[i]Edward[/i]-Penicllin pa/ta unknown
[i]Jessica[/i]-yellow dye pa/ta unknown

Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2004 - 1:33pm
jennk1's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/31/2004 - 09:00

Thank you all VERY MUCH for responding to my post. What I need right now most of all is to feel understood and related to - and your responses met that need.
The allergist appointment today went as well as it could. My son's peanut allergy was confirmed. They even diluted the peanut solution down to 1/100 and he still got a giant welt... I'm thinking that probably isn't a good sign. She offered to do a blood test if I wanted it, but she didn't think it was necessary at this time.
My sister keeps reminding me that I need to focus on being a good mom and raising a happy, healthy, well adjusted child and not let this allergy become the focus of our lives. I think that is easier said than done! I'd love to hear more stories of how your children were diagnosed, subsequent reactions and how you are finding a balance in your life w/ PA.
Thanks again for your support! I'm so happy I found this website.
Jennifer

Posted on: Fri, 04/02/2004 - 12:50am
patsmommy's picture
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Joined: 10/31/2001 - 09:00

Hi Jennifer
Sorry that your son definilty has pa.
After I learned about my son's pa i was not well informed. I still gave him may contains and allowed nut stuff in my house. He was after all eating Honey Nut cheerios and M&M's prior with no problems.
That changed very qucikly when he reacted to plain m&m's. He got the hives.
He also reacted to a pinoli cookie, he didnt eat it but my mil gave it to him to hold(dont ask) I was livid. His hand got all red.
I went through my house and threw out everything that said may contain peanut/nuts or manufactored in a facilty that uses nuts. I no longer buy anything that states that.
His only other reactions so far was in my bil house. He went down the basement to see his animals and came up with his eyes running and sneezing. Did he react to the animals(birds, chinchilla's, reptiles(i doubt) bunnies) Dust, or when i went down there I saw a tupperware filled with peanuts. No one ever told me this was down there.
My bil claimed that he hasnt used then in awhile and only the chincilla eats them. However, I believe that there was some peanut dust down there. Long story short, he is no longer allowed to go down there. Keep in mind this was not the first time he was down there and he never reacted before. My sil said that he dh had just swept down there that morning and maybe that was the reason.
He also reacted to sunscreen. I am still trying to find a sunscreen he can use. If you do a search on here yo will find threads about that. Some have peanut oil, almond oil etc.
Read as much as you can about the allergy. Go to [url="http://www.foodallergy.org"]www.foodallergy.org[/url] and sign up to get alerts of food recalls.
------------------
[b]Florence[/b]
[i]Patrick[/i]-PA/TA
[i]Edward[/i]-Penicllin pa/ta unknown
[i]Jessica[/i]-yellow dye pa/ta unknown

Posted on: Sat, 04/03/2004 - 5:03am
BS312's picture
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Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

Jennifer-
So sorry your son has PA. It is hard to deal with at first. Our DD was diagnosed at 18 months and confirmed at age four when after a (false) negative blood test her former allergist challenged her with peanut butter and she almost DIED. She is also allergic to dairy and egg. She is now six and in first grade at a peanut-free school.
PA has changed our lives, sometimes for the better. We were afraid to send her to preschool so did swimming and dance classes where I could stay with her and no food was involved. These were great experiences which she would not have had if she didn't have PA! She loves dance and continues her dance classes today. Thanks to her, her younger siblings are involved with dance and they love it too.
We did a lot of preparation for kindergarten. Her school is peanut-free, but I didn't want to trust that fully so we have spent lots of time with the administration, teachers and nurse to formulate a school safety plan that we're all comfortable with. I have little or no anxiety about her when she is at school. This is an incredible blessing!
She has never been on a play date. Her friends come to our house to play. Before she has her first play date, the responsible parent will need to watch "It Only Takes One Bite" from FAAN and will need to be trained in use of the EpiPen.
She NEVER accepts food or drink from anyone but me or DH. We do not trust anyone but ourselves to provide her with safe foods. We bring all of her food to restaurants, parties, etc. and have had no problems doing this (other than the inconvenience).
As DD gets older, we expect her to take more responsibility for keeping herself safe. At age six, things are already much easier than they were at age four.
Good luck! You will probably find that your comfort gradually defines itself over the coming months. Reading about others' experiences here is always a great help!

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