New to PA -- Help please!

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 8:52am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42


I have some concerns and was hoping that some of you might be able to help me out. I have been browsing your boards and have found the information very helpful, yet scary too.

I gave my 14-month old DS peanut butter for the first time yesterday and he had a reaction...broke out in hives all over his face, his eyes were all puffy and swollen. He also had mosquito-looking bites on his arms and chest. It happend immediately after he ate the PB, so my peditrician and I are in agreement that it is definitely a peanut allergy. Everything went away on its own after a few hours and he never had any issues with breathing or anyting severe like that.

My dr. said that he could not be be formally tested until he is two? Yet the more I research, the more I see that this is not the case. I actually just called an allergist and made an appt. for the earliest I could get in (in 10 more days). They did say that they could test and that they do infants all the time. So obviously, my dr. (a pediatrician) is not that educated about this. My dr. did say that we have to be very diligent about making sure that he has no peanut products. We were quite surprised that he experienced this reaction, as he has shown no other allergies up to this point and we have no family history of food alleriges on either side.

Anyway, I am just a little confused right now. I would appreciate information from anyone has any experience dealing with this. My dr. said that he can very likely outgrow this, but that the more he is exposed to the allergen, the less likely that will happen and the more severe the reaction can be. Is that the case? Could he really go from a relatively mild reaction (I assume what he had was mild?) to something life-threatening with the next reaction. The dr. told me to keep some benadryl on hand with me all the time. But did not say anything at all about an epi-pen. Am I overreacting by making an appt. with the allergist after just one mild reaction, or is my dr. not being cautious enough? I honestly don't think he has a life-threatening allergy (yet, anyway) because I know he has had to have trace amounts of peanuts a lot prior to this. I cook with peanut sauce and he is always taking bites of DH's Cliff Bars which contain nuts. Also, I eat PB ALL the time so I know he inhales it constantly (not to mention me always kissing on him! ) Now I am feeling guilty because I just read that they now think that a PA can begin during the womb if the Mom eats a lot of PB or through nusring. I nursed my boy for over a year and I ate PB almost daily. Am I overreacting to this allergy? I don't want to blow it out of proportion, but I do want to be cautious. The reaction really did put a scare in me yesterday.

Sorry this was so long! Any help would be MUCH appreciated! Keep in mind that I am first-time Mom so I might tend to be neurotic about things! [img][/img]


Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 9:30am
happycat's picture
Joined: 08/31/2004 - 09:00

Hi Sam's Mom -
I just wanted to say don't feel guilty, or feel that you are over-reacting, by making your son an appointment with an allergist.
My husband and I insisted our son be tested for PA, and he had even less obvious symptoms than your son did (he only ever complained about a burning mouth, or spat the peanuts/PB out when he was eating them). We also have no family history of allergies.
We ended waiting until he was 3 before we tested him on the advice of our family doctor (his first exposure was at 14mos), but if I had known that it could be done earlier, I would have done it as soon as I suspected.
We were told to always assume that his next exposure could result in a life threatening reaction, and that there is no way to predict how severe a reaction might be (so yes, a peson who has "mild" reactions can suddenly have a severe one).
You definely should get an epipen for you son, as Benadryl will relieve some allergic symptoms, it wont help a life threatening reaction (sorry, I don't want to scare you! I know it's very scary to think about these things.)
Stay away from peanuts, peanut butter and anything that says it "may contain peanuts".
HTH and just remember, that its overwhelming at the start, but that things do get easier over time.

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 9:51am
2boyMom's picture
Joined: 10/07/2004 - 09:00

Our son's first reaction was at 10.5 months. (I now know that giving pb that young is wrong. At that time, however, I checked the handbook that our ped. had given us and it said 10 months!! It was printed by her office and was obviously a colossal mistake!!) My son's reaction sounds close to your son's. I gave him 3 or 4 mini Ritz bits sandwiches while I made his lunch. I looked over at him and his whole face was a huge red blotch. I immediately took the crackers away. His eyes swelled and ran, but no breathing trouble. Our ped.'s office called back after I left a message (no one there during lunch) and scolded me for giving it to him. When I told the nurse I only gave it to him after checking the handbook, she looked at her office copy and couldn't believe it! Anyway, she told me to call the allergist and get him tested immediately. His first scratch test was at 11 months. We got an epi and have had one ever since. He is now 5 and has had no reactions. His testing numbers have gone up with each test, however.
I don't think you are overreacting at all by getting him in to see the allergist.
Believe me, I know how you feel right now. Overwhelmed, for one. I still feel the enormity of it most everyday, but it helps to read the info on this board. I too, ate peanut butter during pregnancy and nursing and have wondered about that. Also, the early exposure he got makes me feel terribly guilty. This is my first time posting, but I have been reading the board for awhile and have felt the support here.
Let us know what happens with your son's scheduled testing.

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 9:53am
2boyMom's picture
Joined: 10/07/2004 - 09:00

Correction on my last email:
I meant to say that my son has had no exposures, therefore no reactions! I didn't mean to make it sound like he eats pb/peanut products without a problem.

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 10:55am
2BusyBoys's picture
Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

Welcome. Do get to the allergist! There is tons of information available on this site. I also found books to be helpful as well. The Peanut Allergy Answer Book by Michael Young, M.D. and The Parent's guide to Food Allergies by Marianne S. Barber are just a few.
Good luck to you and your family.
Jodi mom to:
Dominic 5/22/01 NKA
Zachary 3/18/03 Peanuts, Dairy, Eggs, Avoiding all TN, Fish, Shellfish...

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 11:18am
nancy023's picture
Joined: 12/12/2002 - 09:00

Don't feel guilty. With my first son, I ate peanut butter while pregnant and nursing, and he had a reaction to peanuts in a cookie when he was about 11 months. With my second son, I avoided nuts and peanuts like the plague while nursing and while pregnant, and he also tests allergic to peanuts.
Some peanut allergies may be avoided by limiting exposure, but perhaps others are just meant to be.
If I were you, I would ask for the blood test at the allergist instead of the skin test. The skin test may have been my second son's only exposure to peanut.

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 11:19am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Welcome Sam's Mom,
Sorry to hear of your son's reaction, but I'm glad you found us. There's lots of help and info available here.
By all means, get your son to an allergist. It used to thought that they couldn't test until two, but that is very outdated. And yes, you need to have at least 2 epipens.
In the meantime, keep him away from all obvious peanut products and some not-so-obvious ones as well, such as bakery goods, scooped ice cream, and anything that says "may contain" in itty bitty print at the bottom. You should probably avoid tree nuts as well, as there is a high correlation between peanut allergy and tree nut allergy (somewhere around 30%, if I remember correctly), not to mention tree nuts and peanuts are often processed together.
Take a deep breath. It is thoroughly overwhelming at first, but it does get better. My son is 10, and is doing great.
Again, welcome.

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 11:48am
MimiM's picture
Joined: 10/10/2003 - 09:00

Very sorry to hear about your son. As you know we've all been there and we are always here now for you to help you cope with all of this! I remember how frustrated I felt when I first found out about my son's peanut allergy (he was egg allergic too but has outgrown that now).
I had so many questions and I had very few resources then so I felt like I wanted to call my son's allergist every day with more questions. It seemed like we were one of the very few families we knew that had this issue (until I found My son is 6 1/2 now and still I find this website so amazingly helpful.
The first and biggest thing that I would recommend to you is that you remove ALL nuts and sources of nut from your home. This may be difficult to do and requires some sacrificing on your part but it is well worth it. There is a whole world out there that we can not control but the one place we can control is our own home. Having a nut-free home will not only greatly reduce the chance of an accidental exposure at home, but it will give you and most importantly your son a place to feel safe.
There are a lot of things to consider when you do this. Not only going through your pantry but cleaning areas where peanuts might have been kept or stored, getting rid of birdseed (almost always contains or is cross contaminated with peanut), also, consider what ingredients go into your dogfood (if you have a pet).
Secondly, I would definately check the Doctor's section to see if anyone has listed a good one in your area. This is a situation that you really want to be plugged in with a really great allergist, one who specializes in food allergy and one that you feel comfortable with.
A good one will, without question, give you a script for epi-pen (you should probably get a few). Peanut allergy in and of itself is an indication for carrying an epi-pen. Make sure you know how to use it correctly.
Thirdly, go to [url=""][/url] to learn all the basics about food allergy, and check in regularly there and to this website because new info comes up all the time!
Good luck. Sorry you have to be here but we're glad to have ya!
[This message has been edited by MimiM (edited October 07, 2004).]

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 1:20pm
smartalyk's picture
Joined: 07/20/2004 - 09:00

Hi Sam's Mom,
Sorry to hear about your son's reaction. ((((Hugs))))). Please:
1. Stop blaming yourself. It isn't your fault.
2. Do get an Epi-Pen. My son's ped didn't prescribe an Epi-Pen and we spent three years without one. It terrifies me to look back and realize how unsafe this was for our son! His reactions to peanuts and eggs were alot like you described your sons to be (when my son first reacted at 17 months). This past May my son had an anaphylactic reaction (to Ibuprofen) and it was life threatening. Without Epinephrine he would have died. I know that it is terrifying, but actually I don't live in fear... I have the Epi-Pen, I am confident that I can use it, I take every precaution I can with my son... and we'll be okay. So will you. Knowledge is power. An Epi-Pen is a life saver. You will be okay.
((((((More hugs))))))
3. I recommend finding a good allergist. I now believe that peds don't know all there is to know about allergies. :S
Take care,

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 2:24pm
nancy023's picture
Joined: 12/12/2002 - 09:00

One other thing that I don't think was addressed: I wouldn't consider your son's reaction mild. Any reaction involving facial swelling should be taken very seriously.

Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2004 - 3:16pm
travelplus's picture
Joined: 04/18/2004 - 09:00

I would get to the allergist ASAP. I would much rather know about the problem now then to be in a situation with no EpiPen. Better be over prepared than be unprepared.


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