New to group: toddler son might have PA?


Hi there,

I'm feeling pretty guilty right now about giving my 14 month old son peanut butter. He has had eczema since he was a young baby, and we generally avoided allergenic foods for a long while. He's done so well with so many of them though that I guess I became lax.

Looking back, there were times when he would become more "rashy" and even a few times where he had what I now realize were hives. My husband and I, first-time parents, thought he'd just been itching himself and irritating his skin.

Today I decided to give him a few bits of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He's had the bread before as well as the jelly. What was new was the peanut butter. I was cleaning up the kitchen counter as he scooted the food around the high chair tray and noticed that he wasn't really eating much after the initial taste... and that he was calling out for more food (typical when he doesn't like what's being served, in true toddler style).

I went over to him and noticed that his face seemed red, especially around his mouth. Then I peered in for a closer look and noticed little white bumps on his cheeks. I immediately went to get the phone to call his pediatrician and then as I was calling he was already getting more, slightly larger bumps (hives I'm guessing?) on his face and fairly big ones on his hands too. I'm assuming that they were centralized around these places because he smeared the PB on himself.

The nurse on the phone consulted with the Dr. and asked if he was breathing alright, which he was. She told me that he "might have" a PA and to give him Benadryl and to not give him any more peanuts (ya think?). She said they'd be there if I had any more problems/questions. I guess I was surprised that they didn't tell me to go get him tested or at least seem more concerned!

I'm 28 weeks pregnant and more than a little emotional and hormonal right now so maybe I'm overreacting. It seems like we should get him tested from an allergist. Would this be the correct course of action now? Do I need to get a referral from our pediatrician or will allergists generally see you on your own?

I'm thankful that we live in a time where people are way more aware of this allergy than they used to be... but I'm a bit overwhelmed and frightened with thinking about how careful my little boy might have to be for the rest of his life.

Thanks for the info... this board looks like a wonderful resource.

------------------ Amy

On Sep 12, 2006

HI, and welcome. I am surprised that your ped didn't suggest testing, altho some have a concern about false positives at that age. I would definitely assume PA, and avoid all PN and may contains. Start educating yourself here, it's a great resource.

Contact an allergist re testing a toddler, and they can let you know when/how to go about it. I would also ask them about an epi rx.

Good luck, with the possible PA and the pregnancy

On Sep 12, 2006

Don't feel bad, I held off till my daughter was 3 yrs and 2 mths (hoping to avoid Peanut allergy) and she still reacted the first time we gave her a candy bar with nuts and peanut butter. Our pediatrician on call (it was a Saturday)said sounds like she's allergic to nuts and avoid them- did not suggest to go to an allergist either- but we did. We asked who they recommended/used and told him we were going for testing. As soon as we went to the allergist and saw them they prescribed an epi due to the reaction- till the blood work came back. You could always call the ped office back and ask what allergists they use- then you can check with the allergist's to see if they need a referral- but also can depend on your insurance.

On Sep 13, 2006

Hi Amy... I would definetly go to an allergist. Pretty sure you don't need an actual referral to see an allergist, but you might want to ask your pediatrition if they have any suggestions on who to go to. That sounds like my son's first reaction, except I didn't take it as seriously as you seem to be...which I now REGRET. I kept him away from peanuts but didn't have an epi-pen. A year after first exposure, and after several mild hive reactions, he had an anaphylactic reaction to an accidental exposure. IMO, I would make an appointment today with an allergist to get him tested...and if he is allergic, ALWAYS carry an epi-pen where ever he goes. I think it's great that you're being pro-active so early on!

On Sep 13, 2006

Thanks all,

I'm feeling overwhelmed still but I deal better when I have information so this is really helpful. My insurance doesn't require that I see a main practitioner first but I wasn't sure if the allergist would let me in. Since Elliott is in this association's system already because he'd seen another Dr. with them soon after birth, I think that made things easier. I can get an appointment Sept. 26 with a pediatric allergist. I know nothing about him but the other doctors I've seen with this group have been really good so I'm hoping for the best.

I think what scares me right now isn't my own ability to deal with the allergy... it's down the road dealing with schools and friends and actually having to put my baby's safety in someone else's hands. I know we do that more and more as they grow older anyway but with PA it seems incredibly scary to me right now.

Thanks for the support,

------------------ Amy

On Sep 13, 2006

I'll joing the chorus of people who are saying don't feel guilty. Lots of people give PB to kids without problem!

And you are certainly more on the ball than I was when my son first reacted, and his reaction was very similar to your son's at the same age. I just avoided peanuts and waited until his next ped. appointment. They also didn't suggest testing so I figured that my son didn't have the "bad peanut allergy" (talk about denial!). It wasn't until two years later when he had an anaphylatic reaction that I finally woke up.

The great thing about getting a diagnosis at your son's age is that you have so much more control over his food and environment. You can take time to get a handle on things - believe it or not, dealing with a peanut allergy becomes second nature, just like using a car seat.

Please feel free to ask questions - welcome!

[This message has been edited by Greenlady (edited September 13, 2006).]

On Sep 13, 2006

Don't feel bad. It sounds like you're on the ball. Your story sounds similar to my first DS. He had eczema as a nursling, and had hives near his mouth when he ate a Ritz Bits cracker at 1 year old. (BTW, not to unduly scare you, but he had his first anaphylactic reaction this past spring at 5 years old after going years with just hives here and there.) You mentioned that you are currently 28 weeks pregnant. My advice...avoid peanut products for yourself while you are pregnant and nursing, in case your next child is also allergic to peanuts. Peanut proteins are passed in utero and through milk.

Your child's allergic responses could change without advance warning as your child gets sensitized to peanuts. You must see an allergist and get an EpiPen. Anyone who is alone with your child must have the EpiPen and know how and when to use it, even if there is no history of anaphylaxis.

This is a great website for info. To stay up on the latest topics, use the link from the BB page that takes you to today's topics.

Welcome! Wish it were under better circumstances! : )


On Sep 13, 2006

Absolutely, get him tested. Otherwise, you'll be wondering and stressing over this. The sooner you find out and learn what needs to be done, the sooner you will be able to relax.

Our family doctor also downplayed our daughter's allergies and I didn't have her tested until about a year after her first reaction. So I can tell you that knowing one way or the other is much better than wondering.


------------------ Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 1/2 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

On Sep 14, 2006

(quote edited out by office) Absolutely!! There are few things more draining than helping a PA toddler navigate the world. You'll need every ounce of energy to do THAT-- don't waste it on stuff that might not even matter.

Because it is [i]possible[/i] to outgrow the allergy and the very lucky do so [i]before[/i] school! (Now there's a happy thought, huh?)

Your guilt? Let it go-- we gave our DD a tiny taste of pb on top of a single cheerio when she was 11 mo. Up until then, our situation was a lot like yours. (smack self in forehead where bruise has become permanent...) Geez Louise... I mean, it was [i]pretty obvious[/i] how highly atopic she was. DOH! We even knew she was at high risk for food allergies-- how's [i]that[/i] for moronic parenting? [img][/img]

Anyway-- the rest of our story gets more frightening. My daughter started screaming like she had been [i]lit on fire.[/i] I have truly [i]never[/i]heard any baby scream like that before or since. We ended up in the emergency room within ten minutes with a semi-conscious infant who was drooling and swollen beyond recognition.

Let my story be an example to you-- this allergy is not to be trifled with. There is no "mild form." It is unpredictable. You had what sounds like a very very LUCKY first brush with it. Get tested and know for sure.

Then put one foot in front of the other for a while. [img][/img]

Scary stuff? Oh yeah. But you do get used to it, and you do manage to live just fine. (Just not the same as before. [img][/img] )

[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited September 14, 2006).]

On Sep 14, 2006

You all have no idea how much hearing these things helps... well actually, you might, since you've been in my shoes!

Corvallis, your daughter's reaction sounds so scary. You're right, we were really lucky that his first one was so benign. It sounds like your families are living happily with this issue and since there's nothing I can do to change this, we'll manage the best we can and be the best advocates for our son's health that we can be.

I had to almost laugh this morning because my mother's group had their monthly meeting. We bring our children, from babies through preschool age, to the meeting and they have daycare providers look after them while we meet, chat, etc.

I spoke with the caretakers about not giving Elliott anyone else's snacks, other basic precautions, etc. I was nervous about things because it's all so new and I'm still not sure exactly how to address it all... we're definitely learning every day. They were really nice about it all, there were no issues there (even though I have slight paranoia about some other toddler coming over and touching mine: I asked what snack they'd be giving the kids and they were goldfish crackers. I checked the label and that seemed to be fine.)

But the mom craft for the day was making edible playdough... with PEANUT BUTTER! It must be some kind of cosmic joke, to be sure. I wasn't even sure how to handle that. I know the moms didn't wash their hands afterwards. I don't know how picky I should be about that kind of thing right now. I probably should have said something... but then it was time to go, none of the moms even touched him and we were on our way.

It was just kind of funny because our very first outing brought up the issue.

I'm trying to stay positive and still keep Elliott safe. Thanks again for the feedback, advice, and support!