Is it possible to be \"just a little\" allergic to peanuts?

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2002 - 5:09am
LDR's picture
LDR
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Joined: 09/28/2001 - 09:00

On several recent occasions discussing my daughter's peanut allergy, two other people have told me that they too are allergic to peanut, actually "just a little." From everything I've read on the topic, it seems to me you either are or you aren't allergic to peanuts, and there is no way of telling whether someone will have an anaphylactic reaction (i.e., previous non life-threatening reactions do not preclude an anaphylactic reaction in the future).

Have I been misinformed?

My daughter has had one reaction (the inital reaction that prompted the visit to the allergist), which was non life threatening. Nevertheless, I treat the allergy very seriously, believing any exposure can result in an anaphylactic reaction. It's unlikely that I will change my ways and get less serious about it, but I just wanted to get my facts straight.

Any thoughts?

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2002 - 5:44am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I agree!!! I've been wrestling with this question, too. I also hear parents describe their child's PA as "mild" or "severe". I think I also read this in print. I don't understand what this is based on. Even my allergist admitted that only by default he uses the CAP Rast score to determine "severity" since there is no other method, but says that it isn't really predictive at all. I don't see the point of the test then. In my mind being "a little peanut allergic" is like being "a little pregnant".
It concerns me that the schools obtain health information primarily from parents, and I don't understand how a parent can determine this whole spectrum concept of whether or not their child is "a little" or "very" allergic.
Great topic! I would love for someone to point me toward medical studies on this.
Gail

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2002 - 6:39am
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Joined: 11/14/2001 - 09:00

Hi guys,
A lot has been said about your topic. Search under, "severity" or "sensitivity" and have a beer or a glass of wine...ok you teetotaler's, a glass of koolaid [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] and read away.
[This message has been edited by smack (edited September 26, 2002).]

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2002 - 7:09am
Love my C's picture
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Joined: 04/03/2002 - 09:00

I'm not sure if this might help or not but this article by Dr. Hugh Sampson states the unpredictability of future reactions: This is a quote from the last paragraph of the article:
"They have found that symptoms in the initial allergic reaction are not predictive of subsequent reactions and that patients who experience minor symptoms initially may be as likely to develop life-threatening symptoms during subsequent reactions as patients who experience more severe initial reactions. Given the inevitability of accidental ingestions, the general worsening of symptoms compared with initial symptoms, and our inability to predict who will experience life-threatening reactions, it appears that all patients with peanut allergy need self-injectable epinephrine immediately available to treat future, unavoidable reactions."
[url="http://www2.us.elsevierhealth.com/scripts/om.dll/serve?action=searchDB&searchDBfor=art&artType=fullfree&id=a111228&special=hilite&query=%25255Babstract%25255D%252528what%252bshould"]http://www2.us.elsevierhealth.com/script...what%252bshould[/url] %252bwe%252bbe%252bdoing%252bfor%252bchildren%252bwith%252bpeanut%252bal

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2002 - 8:12am
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Joined: 01/16/2002 - 09:00

The last time I heard someone say a family member was "a little allergic" to peanuts, it was a lady at my dd`s day camp who said her husband is a little allergic to peanuts. Therefore, according to her, he doesn`t need an Epipen, because in the past he has been able to tell when his throat was starting to close and he would stop eating the peanuts at that point. It is amazing how people can define "a little allergic". My dd`s one and only pa reaction was cough and wheezing and I consider her to be severely allergic.

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2002 - 9:08pm
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Thank you very much for that link, Love my C. It's exactly what I wanted. I appreciate your taking the time to quote it and provide the link!
Smack: I'll do that search. Thanks for the suggestion. I think I'll wait for later tonight after the kids are in bed and enjoy reading with a margarita. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Gail

Posted on: Fri, 09/27/2002 - 12:36am
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Joined: 04/18/2001 - 09:00

When my son was first diagnosed as peanut allergic, his allergist basically said this:
Right now, his RAST score is 2 on a scale of .33 to 9. She considers that significant, even tho it's not on the "life-threatening level." At any given point, he could experience a reaction to the smallest amount of peanuts which could kill him. Peanut allergies are unpredictable. Some exposure can cause a rash, another time it might be an asthma attack, and again it could be full fledged anaphalactic shock. Are you willing to risk it? If you know or think he's been exposed to peanuts and you notice any reaction (usually asthma with him), give him the EpiPen and take him to the hospital.
The last time my son had an asthma attack was just prior to him seeing the allergist for the first time. The attack was so bad he spent 5 hours at the after hours clinic and was given albuterol, atrovent, prelone syrup and an entire canister of oxygen and nothing seemed to be working to get his blood oxygen levels up. They were about to put him on IV when the attack began to subside (slowly.. painstakingly slowly.) Why they didn't try epinephrine right away, I still wonder about. Alas. Since then, we have monitored what he eats and eliminated peanuts and he has not so much as wheezed in nearly 1.5 years.
And now my daughter is also showing signs of peanut allergy and needs to be tested, too, because she should have a junior epipen, if I am right (and I know I am). Off to the allergist again, for an updated RAST on my son and a new round of allergy testing for my daughter.
~Melanie

Posted on: Fri, 09/27/2002 - 1:02am
ABreitner's picture
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Joined: 07/02/2002 - 09:00

My mother is one who claims to have a mild allergy to peanuts. It gets even stranger then that, she claims that an allergist told her that the cure was to eat peanuts. She claims that when she eats peanuts her throat sometimes feels like it is starting to close but that if she eats a small amount of peanut butter every few days she is better able to tolerate it. If she skips a couple weeks and then eats something with peanuts in it she has a much more severe reaction. She claims this is true of all of the foods she is allergic to. My sister has also seen an allergist who has given her the same advice (she is not allergic to peanuts but is allergic to other foods).
I have never shared this insane family story before because I did not want it to be held against me. It severly complicates my life to have two adults who have been told to eat the foods they have been tested for, proven allergic to. I am looking for trace amounts of whey and they are intentionally eating peanuts.
Oh, and did I mention my mother is severly asthmatic? Carries a portable nebulizer, an epipen, has been hospitalized with low oxegyn levels on several occasions.
Ann

Posted on: Fri, 09/27/2002 - 1:24am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Hi Ann,
How's it going? I promise I won't hold your mother's situation against you! In fact, quite the opposite~ I give you credit for standing strong!
I keep planning on calling you sometime, and will beofre the next meeting. primise!
Gail

Posted on: Fri, 09/27/2002 - 2:49am
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Joined: 07/02/2002 - 09:00

Hi Gail,
Oh, please do call me, just not next week - mildly peanut allergic mom will be visiting from Florida! I have been very busy. Having a 12 year old and a 2 year old makes life so interesting. I did not end up making it to the last meeting - best of intentions but something came up. When is the next meeting? I always work Mondays, I would like to put it on my calendar so I can at least plan to be in town.
Ann
[This message has been edited by ABreitner (edited September 27, 2002).]

Posted on: Sat, 09/28/2002 - 2:30am
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

I've been told I'm intolerant to peanuts, since I seem to only react to the quantity that I eat...for instance, I can eat a Butterfingers chocolate bar and not feel sick, but if I eat a straight peanut butter sandwhich I have three days of gastro intestinal stuff. My allergist didn't even bother the do the skin prick testing. He even encouraged me to try a small amount of the natural peanut butter...Tree Nut allergic people may find this interesting if they didn't already know...regular peanut butter (the non-natural kind) is actually made with nut MEAL, not just straight peanuts. So there can be any kind of nuts in it. My allergist said it is likely that THIS is what I'm reacting to, since I am allergic to tree nuts.

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