Kid's washing their face for child with peanut allergy

Posted on: Tue, 08/28/2018 - 9:40am
laniemark's picture
Joined: 08/28/2014 - 16:29

I am working on organizing an educational group that will be meeting weekly. In this group I have 1 child with anaphylaxis to peanuts and 2 families with skin issues. We are trying to workout an allergy protocol that will work for everyone and we're hitting an impasse. I am hoping that someone out there can help us find a resolution so that all the families involved feel safe and no one has to back out.

The mom of the peanut allergic child has asked that all children wash their hands and face with soap and water on site when they arrive.

2 other moms have children with skin issues and cannot wash their children's faces with soap. One of these moms suggested using a homemade oatmeal wash.

The mom of the peanut allergic child did not feel that anything but soap would do.

Is there anything else that we could do to help this situation? Otherwise it seems that the child allergic to peanuts is going to have to back out and I would hate for him to miss out on yet another opportunity as he's had to do this before.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:20am
smithdcrk's picture
Joined: 03/13/2014 - 16:46

To do the job, It is not soap's specific ingredients that matter, it is the sudsing. As long as the ingredients are not peanut derived all should be fine. Just plain oats contain saponin - a natural based soap (sudser) already packaged by nature to foam. Oats also make a good exfoliator (think comet for your face). Foam + Scrub = clean. Now you won't get the amazing foam from something like Dial, but it will do the job.
Do a test by yourself at work or home. The oatmeal wash recipe vs peanut butter. Get your fingers smeared, wipe with a paper towel: can you still smell the pb? Probably. Touch thin paper, see any grease spots? Then wash with the oat recipe. Do the same sniff and blot test. You will probably pass both counts.
You are an educator and mentor for these families. I suggest bringing the parties together for a compromise face to face. Perform the test if you feel it would be helpful (use a peanut free spread like sunbutter which has oils to keep the anxietyt down). With the hand and face washing I am guessing pre-schoolers or toddlers? Are they sharing manipulatives that may go in their mouths (by function or developmental stage)?
The face washing is a bit extreme. Accepting the face washing condition is already a big (unusual) accomodation. If the parents of the sensitive skin children are willing to use the PA families choice of cleanser for their hand, that is huge. In the spirit of compromise, let each parent use their preferred cleanser for their child's face.
My daughter was hypersensitive to food AND chemicals - special soap all the way. Here was our compromise: In preschool, my daughter washed her hands when needed with the school's harsher soap (with a longer rinse and we all watched for redness). If she needed a more thorough wash or face cleaning, they agreed to use the oatmeal wash and cloth I sent in her backpack.
Part of the educational process is navigating obstacles and finding compromises that support your child's disability. This mother sounds very stressed and maybe overwhelmed. There were and still are days when I have just wanted to put her in a bubble! I couldn't do it alone. I had help and mentors to guide me. Parents will need these skills to integrate their children into a school setting. Children need these skills to navigate on their own, and they learn form their parents, teachers and mentors.

Posted on: Sun, 08/31/2014 - 1:19pm
emrsalgado's picture
Joined: 07/01/2009 - 11:46

I posted this on FB as well, but maybe some people only see one set of comments and not the other, so I figured I'd post it here as well.
I have a child anaphylactic to peanuts, my husband is anaphylactic to tree nuts, and my daughter has such bad eczema that she's constantly covered with scratch marks just from scratching herself when she itches. The risk of anaphylaxis is frightening, but my daughter has been diagnosed with a staph infection more than once because she so often has open wounds, and I wouldn't take her somewhere if someone insisted she use a known irritant on her skin. I would ask the parents of the eczemic children to please refrain feeding their children anything containing peanuts on the days of the meetings, then allow them to clean their hands as they see fit. Unless the parents expect the kids to start kissing, I see no need for face washing. If these are young kids who still put fingers and toys in their mouths, I would think teeth brushing would be more helpful than face washing!

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