General questions for adults with PA

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I guess maybe the answers are all over the board but I'd like to have a few in one place.

Now that I'm about to send DS off to college there are some things we'll need advice on.

1. When you have a contact reaction what do you do? How do you treat yourself. Do you need epi pen for contact reactions? Is it just Benadryl? 50mg?

2. If you have had airborne reactions what do you do? Same as contact questions. Do you use epi pen? Do you call 911 or go to the hospital? Have you "sat out" an airborne reaction by using Benadryl and waiting to see if it works?

DS has never had a contact reaction and one ariborne. I'd like him to get a bit more information about each so he can make safe decisions at school.

I hate to tell him "you don't need to call 911 for ______."

He's very "black and white" and is not willing to "wait and see." I agree with him about that but contact reactions? If he is not absolutely covered in PB how bad can a contact reaction get?

Peggy

On Aug 28, 2003

i have had a few contact reactions over the years but they have never been serious enough for an epi--i'm pretty strict about wiping down keyboards and phones and such. i figure my contact reactions will never surpass the skin tests at the dr., so i just do what the nurse did when the test was finished. usually i just wash the area of skin with soap/water, also a little rubbing alcohol if i have it, and then use some benadryl cream or cortisone cream. if i'm really itchy, i'll take an allegra. i've never had a true airborne reaction to anything yet (other than a bit of nausea), so i can't really offer any advice there.

hope that helps--best of luck to your DS at college!

On Aug 28, 2003

This does help. Do you take daily Allegra too? My son takes Clarinex daily to try to tamp down an allergic response a bit.

We'll get some Benadryl cream, good idea.

What do you wipe down keyboards with?

Thanks so much. Peggy

On Aug 28, 2003

in the past i've taken allegra daily, but thanks to the allergy shots and flonase, i'm down to taking allegra only as needed (couple times a week, maybe).

i worked briefly taking orders for an art catalog, and i was exposed to whatever the previous phone operator was eating or drinking at her computer station. when my shift started, i would wipe down the phone receiver and keyboard with a little towelette ("wet ones" or "purell" brand in the single packs). i just kept some in my purse at all times--i never had an allergic problem, and i never caught a cold, either (bonus!).

On Aug 29, 2003

Hi Peg, This isn't a direct answer, but might be helpful for your son. After the hoopla about PB not causing contact reactions in the press this summer, I asked out allergist about it. He explained that there's contact and there's contact. For example, in the tests described (Choguy wrote a great description and rebuttal of the tests in research)-- the contact and inhalation were actually tiny exposures for a very brief amount of time. Our allegist compared this to a preschooler with arms covered with PB for a longer time while making a PB birdfeeder. Different variable amounts, much more likely reaction.

If your son think's in terms of black and white, perhaps it would help him to think in terms of variables in an equation.

What's the allergen form Likelihood of exposing him to proteins How much exposure To what part of his body How long

Then he can consider the cumulative impact of those variables.

T.

On Aug 29, 2003

Thanks Tando, this is something he will definitely understand and be able to implement. Peg

On Aug 29, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Peg541: [b]1. When you have a contact reaction what do you do? How do you treat yourself. Do you need epi pen for contact reactions? Is it just Benadryl? 50mg? [/b]

Hi Peg,

If you are referring to external contact only (ie: arm, leg, foot, etc contact with a peanut/peanuts) I would not use an epi-pen and I would not usually take an anti-histimine. I would take an anti-histimine if any hives/itchiness appeared on my skin. I always take Zyrtec (Reactine) as it is very good with relieving hives/itchiness. I have never had a contact reaction.

Quote:

Originally posted by Peg541: [b]2. If you have had airborne reactions what do you do? Same as contact questions. Do you use epi pen? Do you call 911 or go to the hospital? Have you "sat out" an airborne reaction by using Benadryl and waiting to see if it works?[/b]

When I have an airborne reaction, such as being in a restaurant where there are peanut shells all over the floor in the bar, I do the following:

1) immediately leave the place and go outside where I will get fresh air 2) take a Zyrtec (Reactine) pill

I have never called 911 or gone to the hospital for an airborne reaction as taking my anti-histimine will treat it. However, if I was having an airborne reaction whereby I was having serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, etc I would call 911 (but my only symptoms to date have been sinus congestion, sneezing, laryngytis/hoarse voice/cough - and leaving the restaurant and taking my anti-histimine quickly began to improve my symptoms).

note- I avoid places with loose peanuts so I haven't had an airborne reaction in years

Hope this helps.. if you have any questions let me know [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

p.s. In general, I don't take an anti-histimine on a daily basis. However, it is ragweed season right now here in Toronto, so I am taking a Reactine (Zyrtec) almost every day as I am allergic to ragweed, and the anti-histime helps greatly.

[This message has been edited by erik (edited August 29, 2003).]

On Aug 29, 2003

Thank you Erik, I had DS read over these replies and he is gaining a sense of what to do for a contact that is not necessarily a "911" type of contact. This is very helpful and I thank everyone. Peggy

On Aug 31, 2003

Glad to be able to help. I have never had to call 911 or visit the hospital for an airborne or contact reaction. If any symptoms occur, I just take a Zyrtec (Reactine) and leave the area.. it's worked fine for me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Wishing you son a good and safe first week at school.. keep us updated.

On Aug 31, 2003

Thanks Erik and everyone. Tomorrow is the big day. I think both Paul and I learned from these responses and he feels more relaxed with all of your responses. Peggy

On Sep 3, 2003

The FAAN site has a great teen site with a he says/she says column which addresses this issue in detail.

On Sep 3, 2003

Thanks, I'll have him check it out. peggy

On Sep 18, 2003

Just be careful about antihistamines. They can actually block some of the warning signs of anaphylaxis starting. My allergist told me that UNLESS I'm going to take the epi and go to the ER, any exposure that causes wheezing (which for me are thakfully only peanut and soybean), taking Benadryl is actually dangerous. For NON-life threatening reactions (I have many more of those), I SHOULD take the Benadryl. But then again I'm kinda stubborn about epi and hospitals. I would ask your allergist about your situation. I think this stuff varies widely.

On Sep 18, 2003

Sillyfeline,

[b]This is a quote from Tando's answer above:

"If your son think's in terms of black and white, perhaps it would help him to think in terms of variables in an equation.

What's the allergen form Likelihood of exposing him to proteins How much exposure To what part of his body How long

Then he can consider the cumulative impact of those variables"[/b]

This is the one that worked for my son the best. I think reading this helped him to evaluate his situation a bit better and become more comfortable while still maintaining his strict vigilance. That does not seem possible to me but he's living the life so he is the one who now dictates his comfort zones.

And as to antihistamines, my son reacts very quickly to ingested or airborne peanut. He is really aware of his physical state. If he can get away from the airborne peanut quickly enough then Benadryl will help but he is very aware if it is not so I have to trust he'll do the right thing.

Thanks for your input.

Peggy

On Sep 18, 2003

I didn't mean to offend anyone. Just passing along what I was told by my allergist: that Benadryl will help the reaction at hand, but may also mask the progression of something larger. Please do not read into it anything beyond that. I was also speaking to adults with food allergies, since they provide their own care and are often alone when it strikes. The information made a world of difference for my self-care and may for others.

On Sep 18, 2003

Oh no, I was not offended. I'm sorry if you got that impression. I understand your information about the antihistamines and I thank you for it.

I'm sorry if you thought I was offended. I'm fine. It's been tough sending DS off to college and I am so glad at how well it's turned out.

Any information we can share is important information.

Peggy

On Nov 20, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by tando: [b]Hi Peg, This isn't a direct answer, but might be helpful for your son. After the hoopla about PB not causing contact reactions in the press this summer, I asked out allergist about it. He explained that there's contact and there's contact. For example, in the tests described (Choguy wrote a great description and rebuttal of the tests in research)-- the contact and inhalation were actually tiny exposures for a very brief amount of time. Our allegist compared this to a preschooler with arms covered with PB for a longer time while making a PB birdfeeder. Different variable amounts, much more likely reaction.

If your son think's in terms of black and white, perhaps it would help him to think in terms of variables in an equation.

What's the allergen form Likelihood of exposing him to proteins How much exposure To what part of his body How long

Then he can consider the cumulative impact of those variables.

T.[/b]

Tando, I don't remember if I continuted to tell you how this suggestion of yours impacted my son at college. I printed out your variables and he thought about this for awhile, turned to me and said "Makes sense mom."

I saw this giant light bulb go on and I believe your suggestion is 100% responsible for my son taking the big step to just go and eat in the cafeteria.

At first he was tentative and he is still extremely cautious but he has never had to ask anyone for help getting his food. He just walks past that VAT of PB and watches carefully what he is choosing.

He is eating well balanced and fun meals. Something we did not think was possible. He is sitting and laughing and eating with friends, another thing we worried about.

He has also somehow avoided the "Freshman 15" and looks better than ever!

Thanks again Tando for this one very very important and useful piece of advice. Tailored especially to the way my son thinks and so very effective.

Peggy

On Feb 4, 2005

re raising. Peg

On Feb 4, 2005

Peg, I know there have been some concerns about the cafeteria, but I was wondering, has your son had any airborne/contact reactions while at school? (I hope not)

If he has, are they still *benedryl* reactions? (meaning, not life threatening - and i hope so)

Although I chose not to eat in any public places, I do think your son's experiences and you posting them here help a lot of people. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Feb 4, 2005

Luckily my son is part of a smaller college within an already small college. The community he belongs to has their own dorms and mostly their own classes. It was set up by a bunch of hippies and free thinkers in the 60's and really befits a student interested in more creative less scientific pursuits.

So since he is part of a small community they banned peanuts from the two dorms associated with his program. One big problem solved. We did not ask for this ban but they met as a community before DS started and decided as a community to ban peanuts.

At the beginning of each new semester DS makes a presentation in each class about his PA so if there are any students not from his community there, or anyone who needs a reminder, they know to not bring peanut products into class. Kids eat an amazing array of foods during college classes!

The food service manager is (finally) eliminating peanuts from his stir fry and recipes. They will leave the vat of PB and the dessert table will stay but nothing else in the cafeteria will contain peanuts. Again, we did not ask for this but it is really a good idea since peanuts are not an integral part of cooking.

Nope, no reactions. A few scares when he found himself standing next to a bowl of crushed peanuts on the food line, and he's left the cafeteria a few times when the smell in the air is questionable but no reactions.

All of the above is I believe a wonderful side effect of attending a small University. We kept DS in small private schools his entire school career so that made it easier for us to get our point across and get cooperation.

DS has been to restaurants in the community surrounding his school and has done well also. He met a waitress with an anaphylactic allergy to ? maybe shellfish and she keeps an eye out for DS when he is in her diner.

Plus he's so careful, so very careful.

Peg

On Feb 4, 2005

Hi Peg, I must have missed your reply so long ago. I'm glad I was able to help your son. I really appreciate your posts. Hearing about your family's experiences and those of other adults with PA have helped me keep this allergy in perspective as just another part of my families life.

Thanks again.

T.

On Feb 4, 2005

tando you seem to have gotten into my son's head that day and he uses your information still today. I cannot always see how he thinks but you certainly did. Thanks again. peg

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