my sister is very paranoid about her allergy! need some help

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 4:45am
lorna's picture
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Joined: 04/07/2003 - 09:00

my sister is 13 shes been allergic to peanuts since she was 3, up till now she has delt with it ok, but now shes not eating very well because she is afraid it might contain peanuts, her allergys were originally peanuts and eggs, but she wont eat anything that isnt made from scratch at home by a family member, i can understand she is scared as she has had a few scares, she gets a terrible reaction like a water blister all over her body insantly, her toungue sweels and she cant breeth, she has never tasted coffee as that would b 2 exotic for her she reckons, she wont eat chocolate or sweets that dont have a nut free label even if no nuts are listed, and this weekend we were at a family party and she woulnd drink out of the cups just in case! is this normal please reply as we dont know anyone with a similar allergy..............

------------------
Lorna

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 5:09am
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

As long as she is not losing lots of weight which could be an indication of an eating disorder, it doesn't sound like she is over reacting. It also doesn't sound like she is avoiding healthy food which is the most important thing.
Medical professionals recommend that PA individuals, (and if she is egg allergic too than that's even more tricky), be very cautious of eating baked goods. Many of those baked treats could have been cross contaminated in a peanut containing household. Maybe the cookies were baked on the same sheet as some peanut butter ones, or maybe they came in a container that previously had peanut butter sandwiches. The peanut traces absorb into the cookies making them dangerous for your sister.
Your sister must be learning about the problems of cross contamination. You should try to learn about this also, so that you understand why she is choosing the avoid what she does.
She probably didn't want to drink out of the cup because she was afraid that it wasn't properly washed. Soap does kill germs but it doesn't always remove peanut residue---especially sticky peanut butter. Many people have had reactions from plates and cups that appeared to be clean.
I'm not sure how old you are----but not eating chocolate and sweets does not make you abnormal. It's okay to say no to candy.
If you have any other questions, Lorna, come back and ask away. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 5:13am
Tamie's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Hi and Welcome!
In my opionion, a person can never be too careful. Does your sister carry an epi-pen with her? It might ease her anxieties a bit. I am glad that you are looking out for your sister and I commend you for that. I, myself call each company every single time I buy their product in the store even if there is no warning on the box. Almost all of my dd's treats are homemade or come from peanut/nut free facilities. I always double check it, and if I'm still not comfortable with their answer I don't feed it to my dd. Take Care.
Tamie

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 5:39am
MeCash's picture
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Joined: 04/18/2001 - 09:00

Lorna:
Kudo's to you for being such a caring sister!
Your sister is not being abnormal. Actually, it's refreshing to know that at 13 she is diligent about her own allergy status. A lot of teenagers get careless and think they are invincible. You should be proud of her for caring about her own life and be as supportive as you can.
My PA son is 7 years old and is also overly cautious about what he ingests. He has had too many bad experiences, and since eliminating peanuts, he hasn't so much as wheezed in exactly two years now (since his diagnosis). I can only hope and pray this diligence keeps up through the reckless, self-defacing years of teenagehood.
If the cups at the event were store bought, throw away cups, that might a bit irrational to be unwilling to use them, UNLESS there were other people there eating peanuts or peanut butter and she didn't feel safe handling anything they did. If there was even that potential, she did the right thing.
It may seem to you like she is not getting enough to eat, but maybe in the future when you go to a picnic, party, get together with her, you can both pack up some stuff for her to snack on while she is there so she doesn't have to ask about every little item or worry about not having anything to eat at all. That would be the most supportive thing you could do.
Thank you for caring enough to come and ask. We're here to help anytime you need it. Good luck to you and your sister both.
~Melanie

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 5:41am
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Lorna,
I see from your profile that you are in Ireland. If your sister wants an occasional chocolate treat that is safe, Nestle UK makes many of their bars in nut-free facilities (ie: Kit Kat, Aero, Rolo). This is a good choice if she is really nervous about sweets.
I suggest reading many of the threads here as it will make you more familiar with the peanut allergy. Your sister should also read them, as then maybe she will not have to be so scared. It is possible to live life with a peanut allergy without being afraid of eating. You just have to make the right choices, so that way you can enjoy eating.
As River said, baked goods are one of the most dangerous items (how the majority of my reactions occurred). You can never be too careful.

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 6:56am
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

My son is 14 and allergic to peanuts, treenuts and eggs also (milk, shellfish and coconut, too). It is so important for teenagers when they are setting their own comfort zone to feel support from loving family members. I know I have felt that something was safe for my son to eat but for whatever reason he still declined to eat it - it's his body so he has the last say as to what goes in it since he'll suffer the physical reaction.
But if you are concerned that there might be an eating disorder on top of food allergies, you would be a huge hero if you can help her get help for that. There is a topic floating around here somewhere wondering about how kids turn out if they are forced because of allergy issues to obsess about what they eat and how it will affect their behavior as teens and young adults.
Good for you for seeking information on your sister's condition!

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 8:04pm
Gwen Thornberry's picture
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Joined: 10/14/1999 - 09:00

Hi Lorna
I'm 24, live in Dublin, and have had this allergy as long as I can remember!
Although I don't feel the need to take as many precautions as your sister does, as everyone else has said, shes not doing anything wrong by being cautious.
Could you perhaps get your sister to ring some companies (or do it on her behalf) to find out what is nut free? Or check out some websites. Cadbury Ireland [url="http://www.cadbury.ie"]http://www.cadbury.ie[/url] and UK [url="http://www.cadbury.co.uk"]http://www.cadbury.co.uk[/url] have all their allergy information posted under the faq section. I rang Nestle Ireland a while ago and they put you on a mail list and send out regular updates of what is and isn't safe to eat.
There are many, many things she can eat safely, and coffee is certainly something she could drink if its Nescafe or Maxwell House.
Please feel free to mail me (its in my profile) with any country specific questions if you need to - often times US or Canadian concerns aren't the same as mine (ours!) because of different manufacturers or even just the culture. I find peanut butter or peanut oil isn't so much of a problem in Ireland as it would be in US or Canada.
Take care
Gwen

Posted on: Mon, 04/07/2003 - 8:20pm
Claire's picture
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Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

lorna, my son is 16 and has had the allergy since 10 months. He has gone through the same kind of stage your sister is going through. I think what happens is all of a sudden it hits to them that they have such a severe allergy. Just try not to harp on your sister to much about her eating. What can happen is that she becomes confused and scared. Eating only food made from scratch is ok. If she won't drink out of cups from other homes you may ask her if she has a water bottle when she leaves home. Always ask her if she has her own food to bring with her. Bringing your own food places becomes a way of life for an allergic person.
I think you will find that your sister is just very scared and becoming more independent on taking care of herself. It is actually a good thing that she is so careful,because it could be the opposite way.Good luck to you and your sister.

Posted on: Tue, 04/08/2003 - 3:26am
cathlina's picture
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Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

Hey...I'm 50 and I won't drink from cups at other people's homes or even my home either.
I worked at a Country Club one time and picked up a "clean" glass, filled it with pop, and as I looked at the glass...I saw lipstick on it..the lip outline and everything. How disgusting.
I buy plastic throwaway cups to use at home.

Posted on: Tue, 04/08/2003 - 7:27am
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Lorna,
I think you should recommend this site to your sister, as she will find lots of useful information and other people to talk to about her allergy.

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