Introducing your childs allergy

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 2:52am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi everyone,
I was wondering what other people say to introduce your childs PA. I usually say he has a "severe allergy" to peanuts because I find if I just say he is peanut allergic people dont get how serious it is....I've heard them it the serious kind or so he cant eat's so much more than that or just peanut scares me. I just want to know what I could say instead to get the seriousness across without going into a big explanation that ends up making people think I'm totally crazy or paranoid. Does anyone else feel like people must get tired of hearing you talk about PA....I just dont know how we could not talk about such a serious thing, PA is a part of my daily life, sometimes I feel like it's consuming my life so I wonder if others gets tired of hearing about it. It's not like that's all I talk about but I do have to inform anyone who is around my son.

[This message has been edited by ~logansmom~ (edited January 08, 2004).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 6:53am
Jennifer1970's picture
Joined: 11/25/2002 - 09:00

When leaving my daughter with an adult for even a small length of time ,"Hannah has deadly reactions to nuts that will cause her throat to swell up". That about sums up how 'severe' it is. I had one flippant mother say "then it's no pnut butter for you today ". I thought , she needs a wakeup call. I yanked the epipen out of it's holder ,indicated the needle length and said "not unless you are willing to stick this in her thigh and drive her to the ER". Since she said hers with a snide smile , so did I. ( I was grateful to see her regular caregiver just down the hall and that's why I left her.) I tend to be a very forgiving person but when it comes to jokes about what Hannah can and can't eat I become VERY defensive.

Posted on: Thu, 01/08/2004 - 9:20am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi Jennifer1970,
That's what gets me, it seems that the choices are to either give the indepth explanation and people who aren't aware think your crazy, or give a simple, my child is allergic and cant have this and people not take it as serious as it is. I guess it just depends on the situation.... I cant stand it when people make wise cracks either or make it seem like it's no big thing. Twice over the holidays Logan was given things that "may contain" as a part of his gifts (it was right on the label in bold letters) and this was by people who know of his makes me so angry and freaks me out. What's going to happen if I'm not there to watch over him. It made me realize that even though he's only 2, I have to start (and have) started telling him time and time again....Logan cant have peanuts, peanuts make you sick. Every opportunity I get I tell him, when he points at something in the store, I say No, honey; that might have peanuts in it...Logan cant eat peanuts. I am going to be a basket case when he starts school.

Posted on: Fri, 01/09/2004 - 6:03am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

You're both right. It is incredibly frustrating to have someone not take you seriously when you are talking about a life or death situation, literally. Here's what I do when taking my PA daughter anywhere new, ordering for her at a restaurant, calling a food manufacturer about their product -- I say "My daughter has a LIFE-THREATENING allery to peanuts. Eating even as little as 1/100th of a peanut can trigger a reaction that can lead to death." -- and then I continue with my question, instruction, whatever.
I, too, feel like people think I'm the crazy peanut lady and that my daughter's allergy is all I can talk about. I can't help it. It IS my life. I spend every waking (and some sleeping!) minute thinking about it. I have to -- preventing a reaction requires constant vigilance. But you know, it's starting to pay off. My PA daughter has a birthday party this weekend and when I called to RSVP, the birthday girl's mother, without my prompting her with a question, asked me which kinds of party snacks would be safe for my daughter. I figure all my talking about the severity of her allergy paid off. So I say, keep talking about the allergy...the more you educate people, the more cooperative and understanding they're likely to be.
Just my two cents.

Posted on: Fri, 01/09/2004 - 9:00am
kelly01's picture
Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

Hi logansmom:
I find it helpful to mention the Epi. I usually say something like, "my son has a severe peanut allergy, I just need to double check about the food, etc. If he comes into contact with anything with peanuts he needs a shot of epinephrine". I use a very matter of fact voice, but the idea of "shots" makes people take it seriously (w/o them thinking I am just being paranoid.)
I am looking forward to reading other responses to this post.

Posted on: Fri, 01/09/2004 - 11:13am
lizzytish's picture
Joined: 01/08/2004 - 09:00

Boy am i glad i am not the only one feeling this way!I too,feel people think i am nuts (no pun intended!)When i go into depth about Madi's PA.She will be moving up into the preschool classroom soon and i am sooo out of my mind scared about it because her current teachers are wonderful and make sure they read everything or if they are not sure they will call me!So how do i make her new teachers understand the severity of this PA?????Sorry i'm rambling now but i cant stand the thought of my dd in any kind of harm!I have noticed that most people dont understand this allergy too well.It's about time THEY LEARN!!!
Madison 8/17/01

Posted on: Fri, 01/09/2004 - 12:54pm
momjd's picture
Joined: 02/24/2002 - 09:00

My son has allergies plus a related condition and he can't eat anything. He has two formulas that we know he can tolerate and that's it. He had to be in the hospital this week and even though we knew we wouldn't be there that long (just getting a broken arm set), the nurses asked about his diet, etc. So we tell them the above only at much greater length and the next question was- "so are there any solids he can have?" I looked at the woman and said "If anything other than those two formulas or water passes his lips he could die."
Now technically, some of his foods won't kill him- they'll just make him very sick to his tummy and give him diarrhea. But since I really didn't trust this person to figure out which were the deadly ones and which weren't, we went with the universal 'could kill him' statement.
I'm still not sure she got it. Of course, having been on this board and others, I knew to never leave my child unattended at the hospital. ;-) So it's not as if they'd ever get the chance to feed him, but seriously which part of 'can't eat anything' is so hard to understand? I also reinforced the message by directing her to his medic alert bracelet which actually says that he's not to have anything by mouth and gave her the name of our specialist at a well known children's hospital (hoping she would figure out that we weren't just making this stuff up). But as my husband said later, she shouldn't have needed to know all that stuff- she should have just listened to what we said and followed our wishes.
So my long answer to your question is- if you think they aren't getting what you are telling them, make it crystal clear that the consequences of a screw up could be death.

Posted on: Sat, 01/10/2004 - 10:37pm
attlun's picture
Joined: 06/13/2003 - 09:00

I just say that Trevor is deathly allergic to peanuts, and the last time he came in contact with them, he almost died and ended up in an ambulance. The only people he's ever been left with outside of family is at church in the nursery for 2 hours, and I go into every detail with them!
Trevor 8/6/01
Harmony 1/22/03
Baby #3 due June 24, 2004!

Posted on: Sun, 01/11/2004 - 5:43am
Jennifer1970's picture
Joined: 11/25/2002 - 09:00

If I'm not leaving Hannah with anyone , I tend not to mention her allergies.It's not WHO she is , it's WHAT she has. Make sense ?
Anyway , We were at a basketball practice and I noticed Hannah getting pale. I look over and there's an open bag of mixed nuts where she'd been playing. I alert her to this and have her big sister take her to the bathroom to wash her hands while I disposed of the nuts.
One mother said "she can't have nuts?"
I said "no she's allergic"
She said "even peanut butter?"
I smiled (either that or scream) and said "no not even peanut butter."
at this point Hannah is back and I explained to her not to play over in the same area she had been playing. I ran over the things we should watch for with her (tell me if your tummy hurts , if you get know the drill) and off she went to continue playing. The other mother says "oh boy I've just been thinking I LOVE peanut butter. I'd die without it."
I said "well Hannah WOULD die if she ate it. All the more for you I suppose."
THAT drove home the point and SHE was telling people all night..."see that lil girl over there? she can't eat nuts. She'll die". I'd rather Hannah not hear those direct words ( I don't want to give her a phobia of food)but if it helps bring awarness around I'm all for it.

Posted on: Sun, 01/11/2004 - 10:20am
ABreitner's picture
Joined: 07/02/2002 - 09:00

When Ben was diagnosed the doctor demonstrated how to use the epi-pen with a trainer, then he handed it to me and made me use it on myself. I was in awe when I saw him to it and was overwhelmed with fear when he made me do it. I use this same technique when someone will be spending time with Ben, I do it all with a smile but the change in their expression is always confirming that they understand it is very serious.


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