Need to test child?

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We have two children, ages 2 and 4. My wife has eczema and severe peanut allergy. We believe the children have not been exposed to any nuts, so we really have no idea if they are allergic. They have shown some slight eczema, but much less severe than my wife's.

Should we expose the 4 yr. old to peanuts and find out if she's allergic, or do we continue to treat her as if she is allergic.

It seems to me that we should expose and find out, but my wife feels the opposite. I want to do whatever is the smartest from a risk management standpoint and would appreciate any advice.

On Aug 29, 1999

Runner -

I would go see a doctor for advice. We all know what a small amount of peanut exposure can do to someone who may be severly allergic.

On Aug 30, 1999

Runner, I agree with your wife. I would not knowingly expose your child to a peanut product when there is such a strong family history. There have been recommendations made that if a strong family history is present peanuts should be avoided either up to age 3 or up to age 7 (I've heard both ages given). I think by age 7, the child's immune and digestive systems are about as mature as they are going to get and will be able to handle something at that age which may have not been tolerated at a younger age. If I had known what I know now, I would have insisted that my child not eat peanuts until he was much older.

I don't think it would hurt to go to a doctor and have your child tested since the family history is there. Christine

On Aug 30, 1999

Runner: With your wife having a severe peanut allergy, whether you opt to give it to your children or not, you should be extremely sensitive about giving to them for your wife's health safety. You will need to ensure the PB does not get on anything, ensure no cross contamination with jelly or anything else you mix occurs, be very careful about cleaning utensils, etc. When you say severe, that sends up a red flag for me; I guess I'd ask with a severe PA person in the house, is it even worth it? Michele

On Aug 30, 1999

Runner, I am PA, and one of my two sons is, also. All the allergists I spoke with recommended that they both be tested (RAST), and if that came back negative, then challenged. I would speak to an allergist to get his opinion. The peanut allergy has a stronger chance of inheritance on the maternal side, so I would proceed with caution with your kids.

On Aug 30, 1999

Runner, I would seek the advise of a pediatric allergist regarding the proper age and method for the introduction of peanut given the family history.

This is certainly something I would want an answer to. Should she be carrying an EPI-PEn as she enters school? If she is not allergic, then it would eliminate many of the restrictions (outside the house).

On Aug 31, 1999

All replies have been read and appreciated. If anyone else has any advice, please do reply. I will check back from time to time.

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