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This is my first time on this site, and I was hoping to talk to other mom's with PA children. My 15 month old son was diagnosed with anaphylactic PA 2 months ago. His Family Physician advised me to NEVER leave the house without his Epi-pen, and sent him to an allergist. Some blood tests were done, and the allergy was confirmed. I was hoping someone else has been where I am now, and could offer some advice. I am terrified to leave my son with anyone, and we have almost completely stopped going to restaurants. If anyone is in a similar situation, please contact me. Thank you so much.

------------------ Dawn

On Mar 22, 2001

Hello Dawn and welcome to the board. Most of us here are in your situation so you will find considerable resources to help you in the challenges facing you.

I recommend you spend some time reading through various threads in the Main and Living with PA sections - there is quite a lot there that can help you with this allergy.

My own son was diagnosed at 15 months and will be turning 3 shortly. We have managed to live without any peanut ingestion problems but have had some contact reactions. Your life is changing and you need to keep you child safe at all times.

Right now you're probably worrying most about diet, in the not too distant future it will turn to concerns about school safety, then comes the ages when friends are so important, etc., etc. There are phases and stages you need to go through. Take one step at a time and read and learn as much as you can.

A word of caution - not everything you read is accurate - double check any medical advice you read or hear. Learn the labeling difficulties we all share daily - join in the effort to improve labeling with us.

This allergy is manageable provided you educate yourself, carry the epipen and benadryl and double check everything that goes into your childs mouth.

Welcome - I'm glad you found this site so early in the diagnosis. You'll learn alot and make some friends along the way.

Debbie

On Mar 22, 2001

Hi Austinsmom: I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. My son's first reaction was at age 2, I had to call 911 and we spent 2 days in the hospital after I gave him his first PBJ. I was terrified after that, almost wishing I could put him in a plastic bubble to keep him safe!!I am happy to report that he is now 4, attending preschool, and we have had no accidental ingestions. Part of what has helped was periodically reading the forums on this site ... and constant vigiliance of what goes into his mouth, as well as educating others. It is not easy, and I am sure at some point we will have an encounter w/peanuts ...but so far we are managing. I just wanted to let you know that it can be done. Good luck!!

On Mar 23, 2001

Hi Dawn and welcome. I am glad you found us. I think you will find this a great site to spend time at and learn. At first PA can be overwhelming. I am 47 and PA has never been much of an issue in my life. Educating yourself about PA will give you the power to deal with it. Education is the key in dealing with this. I go out to dinner, travel and everything else. I know it is hard at first, but at least this is something that is manageable. People worry about their kids growing up. I understand that. The key here is to stike a balance between protection, caution and leading a normal life. You can do it. Andy

On Mar 26, 2001

Welcome, Austinsmom! My family is nearly as new to PA as yours is (my son had his first reaction in mid-February, just short of 15 months of age), so I can understand the anxiety you're now feeling. Coming to terms with PA is an ongoing process for me, and it involves a lot of grief, denial, and anger. I've become nearly addicted to these discussion boards in the last month, and have found them valuable both for the information posted, and for the emotional support and wisdom of parents who have been living with this condition for a long time, and who are balancing the dual needs to keep their kids safe and to let them develop normally. At this point, I hunger for assurance that things will get easier with time, and fortunately, I have often encountered it here. Managing PA successfully seems to require both considerable knowledge and a significant lifestyle shift. Neither of these can be acquired instantly, which I think is what makes these early months so hard. My husband and I are feeling a lot of stress as we struggle to get "up to speed" with PA in a very brief time. I take heart in being able to learn from, and share my thoughts with, so many other people in the same situation, and I hope you will too. Hang in there!

On Mar 28, 2001

Dawn,

I too am new to this site and wish it had been available 11 years ago when my son was diagnosed PA. I remember feeling as terrified as you are feeling now. My son is almost 12 now and in middle school. I worked in his elementary school from the time he started kindergarten. I maintain and teach computers so I was very lucky to be there with him because I was so stressed with worry over peanut exposure. The students are not allowed to carry medication and neither was the teacher, only the nurse. Well that was not good enough for me. I had to go to the district office level and 'discuss' my needs. It ended up that I gave one to the teacher, nurse, one in his back pack and one in my purse. I wrote a letter and had it passed out to every teacher he had; music, phy ed, library etc. and a copy went home with every student in his class. He has never had a hot lunch only cold lunch from home. Seth attended the same school throughout his elementary years and the children all grew up with this allergy along with Seth. I had parents tell me that their kids would remind them that they could not bring any peanut birthday treats. Ignorance breeds prejudice.

I tried to be involved in every class party and would volunteer to handle the food part of the party. That way I could check all labels.

My son is now in middle school and carries his back pack everywhere with epi-pen, Claratin redi-tabs, inhaler and anti-bacterial wet wipes.

When we eat out we ALWAYS tell the wait person that the allergy to peanuts is FATAL and to be sure that his food has no contact with peanut anything. We have them check to see what kind of oil for the fryers is used to making sure clean knives are used to prepare his food. The word 'fatal' gets their attention and lets them know that the allergy will NOT just result in a stuffy nose. If there is ever doubt we do not hesitate to leave.

This allergy is scary but it is manageable. It takes time and a lot of effort on your part. People now at least seem to be more aware of this allergy and don't say, "He has a what allergy?" Which is what I heard for the first 5 years of Seth's life.

Good luck. Kristina Marie

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