I've been told by two pediatric allergists not to allow my child to eat any nuts even though my son is only allergic to peanuts because of the risk of cross contamination in nut processing facilities. My son's father (my ex) thinks I'm over-reacting and keeps peanut butter in his house and often sends almonds in my son's lunch. My son is only 6 (kindergarten) and I'm trying to train him not to eat ANY nuts.
On May 22, 2001
Cindy, I think this is a case of "comfort level" and we all have a different level on what we allow and don't allow our allergic children to eat. I do not allow any nuts at all. My son is allergic to peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pecans. There are too many risks for cross contamination for my liking.
A friend looks after a boy who is allergic only to peanuts. His parents allow him to eat other nuts, so long as they are fresh from the shell, but draw the line at buying jarred or canned nuts. They also allow him to eat chocolate covered almonds. This is something you have to decide whether you feel comfortable with or not. My vote goes to the "no nuts at all" school of thought. Perhaps you need to get your ex to visit the allergist?
On May 22, 2001
The risk with allowing your son to continue to eat other nuts is that as he gets older and takes more responsibility for his allergy, he may not always be able to distinguish between a peanut and a tree nut, especially as disguised in processed food.
I am definitely in the "no nuts" camp - it is really immaterial to us since my son is also allergic to tree nuts.
On May 24, 2001
To be quite honest with you, I am not 100% sure exactly which nut that I am allergic to. Peanuts is a definite, and we know that I am allergic to some other forms of nuts. I don't know about in the US, but at an allergy refferal they refused to skin test me for any form of nuts because they said it was not worth the risk because of the severity of my known allergies. I have had a blood test done for pecans and peanuts but nothing else.
The reason that I am not bothered if they don't test me is this: If I told people that I was only allergic to some form of nuts, they may take my other nut allergies less seriously. I saw this happen to a friend of mine and it took a lot of time to re-establish people's understanding.
I would strongly urge you to act as if your child is allergic to all nuts - also, food packets over here generally say a product may have nuts in, and don't specify which type of nut it is.
Take care, Rach
On May 25, 2001
Peanuts are not a nut; they are a legume. A peanut allergy & a tree nut allergy are two separate allergies, that can occur together or separately. Cross-contamination is a huge issue (who processes one w/o the other?), but it's all about comfort level.
On May 25, 2001
I will not give my PA son (or his identical twin) any kind of tree nut. He tested positive to peanuts and not quite as allergic to cashews. I used to make beans with slivered almonds all the time and never had a problem. I had also given my son pecans before. But it wasn't until he had an anaphylactic reaction to a peanut M&M (we mistakenly thought he may have outgrown the allergy to peanuts that I knew about since age one, doc said try when he is three and we waited till four and a half, so we did)that we finally had him tested for allergies to other nuts. The allergist told us to avoid nuts like the plague. I also was directed to this site.
Plainly, where there have been peanuts there have been tree nuts. The semantics don't matter here, they always are found together. In fact the last package of pecans I bought says clearly on the back that they were packaged on the same equipment as peanuts.(This is the only nut product I have in my house. They are kept in the freezer and never taken out until the kids are in bed so I can enjoy them on some ice cream occasionally. This makes my husband a bit uncomfortable but I feel ok with it.)
Again it is all about comfort levels and whether you like to play a game of Russian Roulette with a potentially deadly food. In my opinion, having nut and PN products around your kid or not is all about comfort level. Actually giving your child any nut product is the Russian Roulette part. I would never do it. Good luck, C&N's Mom Alisa