is there such a thing as a nonlife-threatening peanut allergy??

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I am fairly new at this---I have a 20 month old who was diagnosed at 15 months with PA (and other food allergies). She was only exposed through breastmilk to peanuts and reacted by throwing up/stomach cramps. I stopped eating peanut products when she was 6 months old, and she has never had peanut products herself. She tested negative on the RAST, but positive on the skin test.

Her allergist was not at all concerned about her peanut allergy, but the more I research, I am wondering if I should be more concerned. I have read that PA are harder to outgrow than other food allergies and they are unpreditable. You never know what the reaction might be.

My question is...Are all peanut allergies potentially life-threatening. Or is Megan 'safe', since all she has done is throw up?? She has never had any signs of swelling/wheezing, etc. Or is this a question anyone can answer??

I am in the process of finding a new allergist--one who deals more with children's food allergies, but until that appt. this will be driving me crazy!! She does not have an epi-pen. I don't even have Benadryl...but I will get some!!

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

On Aug 28, 2003

Yes, all peanut allergies have the potential to be life threatening.

Are you absolutely sure that your child is PA since she tested negative on the RAST (which I thought was more reliable) and it could have been a false positive on the skin prick test?

This is the first time I have ever heard of a child having a reaction through breast milk (I am not saying it is not possible).

I would be double checking the diagnosis.

If your daughter does have PA, she should have an Epi-pen. She may never have an anaphylactic reaction in her life but the thing is, you never know and that's what the scary part of this allergy is. You never know how severe the next reaction will be.

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Aug 28, 2003

My daughter was diagnosed with PA at 13 months. SHe had a reaction to PB on a spoon. She RAST tested at that time a Class 3. At 3 years old we retested her and she had NOT had any peanut exposures between 13 months and 3 yrs. Her CAP RAST was negative and her skin test was 4+...Our allergist said she was most likely still allergic...Unfortunately, she had a part of peanut butter cup in some ice cream (we will never know how much)...and the only thing that happened was goose bump looking things on the tops of her shoulders and back of her neck. I wanted to think it was heat rash as it was VERY hot that day and she was traveling in a car seat..but it is just too coincidental. Anyhow, her allergist thinks b/c it happened within 1 hour of the ingestion..most likely - peanut. BUT, I never gave her Benedryl, or nothing ever itching, no hives, no she outgrowing it or does she have a low-level allergy..who knows. I do know that one can test NEGATIVE on a blood test and positive on a skin test and have the allergy. Our allergist will re-test her (skin test) at 5 yrs. old. (in about 6 months)..Hope this helps...

On Aug 28, 2003

I am fairly sure she has reactions to peanuts. It was my first clue to her food allergies and it was the worst one!! I was eating at least one pbj sandwich a day...most days two. I never dreamed food allergies! But when I got burnt out on pbj's and stopped eating them, she got better. She spit up profusely since birth--I say spit-up, but it was more like throw up! Larger amounts than 'normal', way more than normal, and farther (more like projectile). It was also very full of mucous--which I thought was strange.

To make a long story shorter...when I was off peanuts.....less spitting up, less stomach cramps, no mucous. She began again when i had a bite size pb snickers (not even the mini ones--the bite size).

She got much better when I was off peanuts...but still not completely better, as she also had other food allergies. Once we got her off everything, she started doing great! Finally happy. Finally able to sleep.

All her RAST tests came back negative....but she showed allergic on skin tests to peanuts, fish, and wheat. She also definitely reacts to milk, soy (really bad!), maybe oats, shellfish, and tree nuts.

OMG! As I sit here typing this and rereading...I had almost forgot about all the mucous and congestion before we eliminated peanuts...does this mean things may have been worse than I thought?? Does that involve the respiratory system???? I thought it was all just gastro with no reason to really I am really freaked out!

Thanks for the input...just looking for some answers!! Don't know what to make of all the tests. Have lots of questions for the new allergist!!

[This message has been edited by megans mommy (edited August 28, 2003).]

On Aug 28, 2003

Hi again megans mommy! Reactions to food through breast milk are VERY common. Two of my four kids have had allergic reactions through the breast milk. One to peanut and one to milk and almond. Your child's symptoms are very clear and I do know that while it is rare to outgrow the peanut allergy, your chances are much better if the allergy is found during infancy and the peanut is stictly avoided. Do find a good children's allergist. It seems that a lot of pediatricians are not well informed about the possible dangers of the allergy. Mine took a no big deal attitude about it and I stumbled onto this site and realized I needed to get a good allergist. Very thankful for the help I found here. At first all of this may seem overwhelming, but after a while it gets easier. Good Luck!!

On Aug 29, 2003

I am wondering if all the reactions could have been from you eating the PB around your daughter?? I know my son has severe reactions when someone else is eating PB around him or even in the same house... just a thought.


On Aug 29, 2003

Actually, we just learned a lot about RAST tests. Lauren got a negative cap RAST test at a new allergist's office. I had them repeat it at a different lab and it came back category 5. Quite a difference.

I demanded an explanation from the allergist and he said that the results of the RAST test all depend upon how the labratory calibrates their equipment. There is no standard. So, you may get a category 5 from one lab and a 0 from another. He said that they use it as a guide only and that the only true measure is history. Also, they do not do scratch tests at this allergist. Tests are done the 'old fashioned' way. They inject a small amount of the allergen under the skin. Ever have a TB test? The way this allergist does it is just like that and it is supposed to be the most reliable.

Let me explain things this way. Have you ever heard of IgE? It is a measure of 'how allergic' you are at any give time, if you will. That is, think of an empty glass and when an allergic reaction hits, you start to fill the glass with this IgE. Now, let's say you are allergic to just peanuts and have no asthma and are in good health. If you have a reaction, you may only fill the glass 1/10...causing only hives. Now, since this is an immune system response, let's say you have a cold when this reaction occurs, you glass may be filled to 1/5th. Now lets say you are allergic to dog and there is a dog in the room when this reaction occurs. The glass may get filled to 1/2. Now, add in dust mites...the glass may get filled to 3/4.

Get the picture? Now if the glass overflows, you are looking an anaphylactic shock. So, I would say if you have been diagnosed with PA, I would consider it life-threatening because you just truly never know the state of your immune system at the time of the reaction.

This is layman's terms, of course because I am no medical professional. However, it was explained to me more technically and I repeated this to the doctor and he said that was exactly what happens.

Someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

HTH answer your questions.


On Sep 1, 2003

vogel19 I love your analogy.


[This message has been edited by ajinnj (edited September 01, 2003).]

On Sep 1, 2003


That was a perfect explanation.

I remember once I went for my twice weekly allergy shots. I waited the requisite 20 minutes after the shots and when they checked my arm it had all blown up to the size of a silver dollar.

The allergist asked me what had I been doing that week. I had been cleaning closets and gotten a bunch of dust all day. He said exactly what you described. My glass was already full and the allergy shot pushed me over the edge.

That's how he could tell we got a dog. DS shot reacted and the allergist said "you got a dog I'll bet." We had gotten our first dog the day before and it was enough to fill up DS and My glass of IgE.

Wonderful explanation Andrea.


On Sep 3, 2003

I am pretty sure Megan doesn't react from casual exposure. We still eat peanut butter around her (I can hear the gasps!!) I am very careful about not letting her get it, or touch it. Use different knives for it,etc. She has never reacted to it since I stopped eating it while nursing (and has never had it herself). If our allergist had given us a clue it was serious...........things may be changing!

Andrea--wonderful explanation! So basically, that's why allergies are so unpredictable?? For example, someone could eat 10 peanuts and break out in hives one day, and another day eat 2 and go into shock?? Depending on all the other factors?? Am I understanding right??

Megan is avoiding all her other food allergens, and her environmental ones are not that bad (yet). So maybe this lessens her chances of a reaction?? Hopefully?

We have an appointment with her new allergist on the 26th. I hope he understands food allergies a little better...her last allergist seemed to focus only on the environmentals...which she really doesn't react to!!! He was more concerned with vaccuuming, changing sheets, washing rugs, stuffed animals.....the whole bit! Forget telling me about the seriousness of PA!!

Wish us luck!

On Sep 4, 2003

Hello. I was at an allergy/asthma conference recently where recent research was reviewed regarding low blood test results and absolute avoidance of peanuts were said to indicate a possibility of outgrowing this allergy. For more information and some exellent links to research sites please visit [url=""][/url] .

On Sep 23, 2003

Thanks! I checked this link out--it gives me some hope!!

We called our pediatrician and got an epi-pen jr. I pray we will never have to use it!!

We have an appointment with a new allergist this Thursday--one who is supposed to specialize in food allergies!! Hopefully she can give me some good information about how serious this peanut allergy is!

I have been thinking--with all of Megan's other food allergies, she cannot really eat any store-bought food (everything is home-made). Maybe with the peanut allergy, this is a blessing in disguise, as I would have had no idea peanut is in so many things! We avoid anything with a peanut warning anyway,but her other allergies have probably eliminated any chance of getting peanut products inadvertantly!

I am very curious to hear what her new allergist will say. The more I think about it, this was the worst of her food allergies. She would spit up/throw up with lots of mucous. She didn't have this with any other food (mainly stomach cramps)

Wish us luck!!

On Oct 1, 2003

Hi Megan's mommy, Megan's reactions sound so similar to my son's reactions at that age. I gave him a small bit of peanut butter cookie that I got in the bakery at the store. He immediatly started vommiting copious amounts of slimy mucous. He also started to have trouble breathing. THis happened another time when we gave him a tiny piece of chocolate (not peanut) candy.

My son has never had a RAST test, but had a 4+ on his skin test. His most recent reaction was a week after Halloween at a friend's house (the mom, an RN, is aware of his allergy). My son's friend talked him into eating a fun-sized Butterfinger. They were in the boy's bedroom (I never thought there would be candy back there, let ALONE peanut candy!), and he came out saying his throat hurt. He was coughing and sputtering and crying. We left immediately and I gave him the epipen and Benedryl in the car and called 911. He ended up having hives, too, all over. His blood pressure dropped at the hospital and they decided to admit him and keep him overnight.

On the other hand, my husband got tested after we found out about our son, and he tests positive for peanuts, only 2+, but has never had a reaction that he knows of . He does avoid peanuts now.

I would definitely take her allergy seriously! Trust your motherly insticts.

On Oct 1, 2003

I am definitely trusting my instincts!! I definitely worry about a severe reaction through accidental exposure. We called her pediatrician and got and epi-pen. We also saw a new allergist (I posted about it on the main discussion board). She doesn't think Megan's peanut allergy is anything to worry about. No risk of anaphylaxis, according to her--I disagree and am keeping the epi anyway!

I even explained she had never had peanuts, only reacted through breastmilk. I don't know how she would react if she actually ATE peanuts....and I don't see how this allergist can predict that either.

I am very frustrated with doctors right now. I just thank my lucky stars I had a computer and the internet!! I would have been clueless otherwise!!

Our plan is to avoid nuts/peanuts and trial her other foods at home. When we feel the time is right--probably before school age--we will do more testing and an oral challenge at the doctor's office if all is clear on the blood tests. It just seems why can't I find a doctor that is on the same page as us???