Just found out this week

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Hi all,

I just found out this week that my 7 yr old son is allergic. Has had long-term asthma/allergy issues but never the kind of reaction many have and he has always loved p.b. I noticed another person said the allergist did not explain much. Neither did ours. They gave me Cherrybrook Farms and Sunbutter pamphlets and told me to keep him away from peanuts. Makes me wonder how stringent I should be; I am inclined to be obsessive about it, but like I said there has never been a reaction (that we've noticed I guess). His asthma has always been a pattern where he catches a cold (or so we thought, maybe he was always reacting to food? Then it just advances to wheezing etc. over several days and sometimes causes breathing difficulty that requires steroids) I wondered if any of you had the same situation. Is it possible to have food allergy reactions that are slowbuilding like this, and not sudden just after eating the item?

He also popped positive for soy, egg white and milk allergies (levels 3 and 4 on these instead of the 8 on the peanut butter). The allergist basically told me not to worry too much b/c the tests often "overreact" on the food tests, and only to pull these out of his diet if we notice a reaction. I left feeling quite confused. Sorry this is so long, but I need advice. Where do we go from here? Thanks so much for any help you all can offer.

On May 5, 2008

WELCOME!! It can be SOOOOO overwhelming at first, to say the least. A lot of it comes down to your comfort level. Personally I don't allow any "may contain/processed on/at/in same facility" in our house. We keep our house pn/tn free. To me the possible x-contamination the possible reaction, its just not worth it.

It seems like allergist deal with allergies all day long so somewhere in their heads they seem to think everything should just be common knowledge and it is really frustrating. My allergist did the same thing.

I think in the case of your son you should most definatly have epi's on hand and also you should go over an emergency plan of when to use the epi's. Because sometimes an ana. reaction can resemble asthma you should know when to use the epi.

A great book I always suggest is Dr. Michael Young's The Peanut Allergy Answer Book. It has great info and is an easy read.

It seems like a lot right now but in time it won't be quite so overwhelming when you find your own comfort zone.

Welcome to the group!

On May 5, 2008

As far as the allergy testing goes, I believe what my allergist told me was that you can get a false positive reading as much as 50% of the time! Thats why the allergist is saying don't worry about these other items he tested positive for, because chances are he just tested positive but is not actually positive. My son has PA and asthma also. I'm not sure about your question regarding can food allergy look like asthma hours later, but I do know that the combination of PA and asthma is not a good one. Anaphylaxis can be similar to an asthma attack, so you really have to keep a close eye on your child if he/she is coughing alot and think back about what was eaten, etc.

On May 5, 2008

Hi Marcie, It can all be overwhelming at first.

My 8 yo son was diagnosed with a PA and Tree Nut allergy this year, he too was a big fan of his p.b. It was difficult for him at first, since he has never had a known reaction, he was upset at having to give up some of his favorite foods. We went over how serious an allergic reaction could be and now he is great at reading labels before eating anything.

When we first left the Drs office after learning we most likely had peanut and tree nut allergies, I felt so overwhelmed. I spent a few days researching then I called back with questions and the Drs office was able to clarify answers for me. The main question I really needed answered was when exactly do I use the EPI pen. I was confused about that and now I am very clear on my action plan.

On May 8, 2008

Hi there -

My 7 year old daughter's story is almost identical except she has always hated peanuts and peanut products. She had lingering cold symptoms for three fall seasons in a row that appeared allergy/asthma like which is what prompted the allergy test last year that confirmed environmental/animals/ and peanuts. I don't know of any for sure reactions. Looking back there where some questionable incidences but who really knows. I am an epi-pen freak and I take no chances but sometimes I do wonder what it all really means. I guess I have heard some pretty scary stories and don't want to find out her true peanut severety that way, you know. Mostly I am confident that there will be help for these kids before she is a teenager....if not maybe our kids could date (hee hee.

Good Luck, Amy

On May 9, 2008

Just out of curiosity -- why did the allergist decide to test for food allergies?? It was my understanding that if you take a random sample of the population -- who report no adverse reactions to foods, and test them for FA, that a certain percentage will test positively. I believe the tests are a good tool to confirm a suspected allergy, but in your case, may create unwarranted worry?? Perhaps a second opinion from another allergist?

Edited to add: cristym -- why did your allergist diagnose your son with PA despite no allergic reaction after ingestion??

I know I'm in the minority on this board -- dealing with TNA, not PA, however I took my son to three allergists, all with three completely different opinions and diagnoses, on how to handle my DS's FA. We were told by two of the three allergists to eliminate PA based on SPT alone (DS had reacted to pistachios, but had been eating peanut butter for several months without incident). Fortunately, I found an allergist out of U of M specializing in nut allergies and involved in research, who encouraged us to continue to feed DS peanut butter -- as he has many patients who are TNA only. Had I followed the advice of the first two allergists, I would have considered my DS PA as well, and, as everyone knows here, IMO, peanuts are one more food to have to worry about. He has been eating PB for 2 1/2 years now, no reactions.

On May 9, 2008

My DS was tested when I brought him in because of his exczema and seasonal allergies. He tested possitive to peanuts and tree nuts on the SPT, so a blood test (rast?) was ordered. I do not remember the numbers, but he was boarderline. His levels were higher than his younger sister who had already had an anaphylactic reaction. The Dr has said that he could have been having minor reactions that I had never noticed before, and that reactions change and you never know when he could possibly have an anaphylactic reaction if he kept being exposed. Also he said since his sister had an anaphylactic reaction he was at higher risk of having one.

From what he has explained to me, I do not understand food challenges, if you never know when a reaction will change and get worse. That each exposure can increase your risk of having an anaphylactic reaction. Maybe my Allergist is just very conservative, I do not know. I figure for now, better safe than sorry so none of my 3 kids eat nuts or tree nuts.

Both of my children with FAs test possitive for tree nuts, but I know that my Dr feels that any time there is any type of nut allergy you should remove all nuts. This is because there is such a high risk of cross contamination, facilites that handle peanuts also handle tree nuts on the same lines. Their pediatrician feels the same way.

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