Our 14 month old a Class 5 PA and multiple...

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Hi everyone. I'm new here. I've been perusing and absorbing all of the information here, and I'm very thankful for this resource. Our DD who is now 15 months old was diagnosed last month (at 14 months of age) with a Class 5 peanut allergy. She has suffered from excema since birth (I have that too, so out of the three children, it was "third time's the charm" and she is the only child to also have it). Anyway, I suspected food allergies over and over and the pediatrician wouldn't really listen to me. We are a military family, so I called Tricare and got a referral to an allergist, had her tested. They attempted to do the skin test, but because she takes Atarax every night, there was too much in her system and she did not react to the histamine. The doctor wanted to send me home and take her off of the meds for three weeks and then come back. I was really uncomfortable with that, and I really believed that it was urgent (mom's instinct), so I INSISTED that they do the blood allergy testing asap. The doctor did, just to appease me probably, but it turned out that I was completely right. Here are her results: Peanut- Class 5 (out of six! :O) Orange, borderline Tomato-class 1 Milk protein- class 3 Eggs (both parts of it)-Class 4 Wheat-3 Soy-3

Now, this is so incredibly perplexing to me, because I knew she had excema, and I knew that I had food allergies as a baby, and I knew that she was more likely to have them as well. Consequently, I was very very careful about what we fed her. The only way that she would have been exposed to these would have been in Gerber foods (which I now call Allergy Stew...WHY DO THEY ALL HAVE EGG NOODLES IN THEM??????????ARRRRRRRRRG). Maddie has never been away from me, I stay home with her, I didn't breastfeed, and I probably ate one or two pb&j sandwiches when I was pregnant, but nothing that I can remember, so it can't have been that much.

I guess my question is, how on earth can she already be a Class 5 when she has never had a peanut containing product? I purposely kept her away from nut products because I just had a feeling, you know? Peanut butter has never crossed her lips. So my fear is, if she has progressed to this high level without ever ingesting more than trace amounts (which is would have had to be), OMG what would have happened if she had a peanut butter cracker or something? I'm just scared. I mean, the fact that they were getting ready to prick her with peanut protein on the skin test, and knowing what I know now, she would have probably gone into shock right there in the chair!!!

OK, I'm calming down. Anyway, I didn't want to just remain a lurker, but I'm at a loss. There are SO many severe allergies that she has that I have to deal with, but this one is the one that scares the heck out of me.

Any information on how on earth a child could be a class 5 without ever ingesting the actual product?

I guess I just need support. And if you're still with me after this epic length post, then hat's off to you. My DH is gone for six months to a year to an undisclosed location, so I'm struggling through this entirely alone, plus taking care of all three children. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.


On Sep 28, 2002

Hi Vanessa,

Wow! Here is the first thing I would do. Go buy this book and read it. It really helped me when my son was first diagnosed.


My son is 25 months and is allergic to dairy, eggs, canola oil, and peanut. His eczema also flares up when he eats anything commercially prepared like breads, cookies, cereals even if there is nothing that he is officially allergic to in it. I believe he is allergic to preservatives and dyes but these are not things he has been tested for. I hear you on the Gerber thing! Egg is in everything and before we knew about Ben's egg allergy I gave him a lot of food that ended up putting him in the hospital with a skin infection over most of his body.

I don't have a lot of answers, I am still learning. You will find a lot of support here. The one thing that I have found is that it does get easier to handle, it becomes part of your normal routine. Multiple severe food allergies are frightening, try not to get overwhelmed.


On Sep 28, 2002

I am in the same boat as you are regarding the peanut situation, My almost 3 year old son came back a 3+ although he has never had a reaction and I am really not sure where he got the peanut and I only had a candy bar with nuts every once in a while pregnant, you cannot be tested for a food that you have never ingested because your body has not built up IgE levels to it, I would question the allergist on the accuracy of these test in small children , one post states that her doctor said that the blood test are not as accurate in children under 3.Good luck

On Sep 28, 2002

Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. I am really more scared than anything, and i"m trying to become as informed as I possibly can. I guess my concern is that if she's already a class 5 with such minimall exposure, does that mean that I should be more concerned than the average person with the possible occurance of a reaction just by being around the peanut, the nut dust, etc? does having such a high rating on the blood test mean that she's more susceptible to cross contamination than say, a Class 1 or 2? I guess I'm just trying to get a hold of just how concerned I need to be with cross contamination. I am taking every opportunity to make sure none occurs, and have nothing in our home with a "may contain" label or anything that I feel could be cross contaminated (Chips Ahoy, etc), but wondered if that's necessary, since i have two other children who have no allergies. I guess I just want to make sure I can fend off the relatives who think I'm crazy, KWIM?

Thank you all so much. Vanessa

On Oct 2, 2002

HI Vanessa - More power to you for insisting on the allergy testing! I know it's really hard to get your feet on the ground when faced with multiple food allergies. My dd is almost 3, and was dx with peanut and tree nut allergies in April. Also allergic to eggs, and has asthma and eczema.

My suggestion would be try not to use up your valuable energy on unanswerables, as far as how she's a class 5 w/o ingesting, etc. You know she's allergic, and as others have said, knowledge is power. I'd suggesting focusing on educating those who need to know, in order to prevent further exposures. Sounds like you are a great mother. Be sure to post here with questions and for moral support! Best wishes for all of you and for the safety of your husband. Mary Beth

On Oct 3, 2002


My 14 month old HAS had a nasty reaction to peanuts, and her RAST came back a class 2 (at the lab they were done at, the classes are 0-5).

My poor little girl swelled up like a balloon, turned red from hives, head to toe...and her eyes swelled shut, and would not stop watering for anything.

And this is a class 2 allergy!

It was her third exposure to peanuts. Basically, she'd had a bit of toast, on two different occassions, that had PB on it.

I can't help but blame myself because I ate PB like a feind during pregnancy. I was clueless about such allergies at the time. I'm kicking myself now...and I know that if I ever have another.... NO peanuts.

I have a 4 year old who is anaphy. allergic to strawberries. So, I'm not new to the allergies, but strawberries are a billion times easier to stay away from than peanuts.

Anyhow, just wanted to commiserate with you for a moment.

Take care, Kris

On Oct 4, 2002

Hi Vanessa, I cried when I read your post. We are waiting to see the allergist oct 25. Ped. diagnosed DD class 4 (rast)very recently. She has had several accidental exposures since diagnosis. We had our first use of epi and trip to er last week. I am sure the skin testing will reveal others. My heart goes out to you. My husband was in MC for the first 4 years of our marriage. I am so sorry you are dealing with this alone. I hope you get the answers you are looking for.You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

On Oct 4, 2002

Thank you so much Kris and McMelon. I so appreciate you commiserating with me. And McMelon, I'm so sorry that you have already had so many incidents with your dear child. My baby girl is having a weird reaction today. She has the hives on her face, the bags under her little eyes, and she's very tired. So I'm watching her carefully. I have no idea what she's reacting to as I thought that everything in our house was peanut free. Although, she has so many other food allergies that it's a nightmare trying to pin something down. I think that all I can do is just watch and see. I'm so sorry that we all have to deal with this, but thank you all so much for the kind words, it definitely makes it easier.


On Oct 4, 2002

beansmama and juliasmom, thank you so much for sharing your stories with me. It's the unpredictability of this that scares the heck out of me you know?

I wish all of our babies a peanut free day (and life for that matter!)


On Oct 4, 2002


What is going on??? Brenna developed hives today - for no apparent reason. I swear, I'm monitoring everything she eats....and there was no way she had anything that was even a cross contamination risk.

Gosh, is it something in the air?? UGH!!!

Kris and Baby Bean... who is passed out from Benedryl.

On Oct 4, 2002

Hi Vanessa, You state:

Peanut- Class 5 (out of six! :O) Orange, borderline Tomato-class 1 Milk protein- class 3 Eggs (both parts of it)-Class 4 Wheat-3 Soy-3

eczema and history of food allergy. I'm not a doctor or nurse so check with allergist for intereptation of test. I've been dealing with multiple food allergies and asthma in son for 12 years- It is my understanding that high levels don't necessarily mean worse reactions-just less likely to outgrow and more likely to be truely allergic.(child with lower levels can have worse or just as severe as one with high levels.)

My son has outgrown or proven not to be allergic to 7 foods. Wheat was class 4 but he can now safely have it.

Thankfully, because of his eczema we went slow on introducing foods, but I breast- feed changing my diet around to try to help his skin....(thats how,I think, he was sensitized to several foods).... Protopic lotion has helped my son's eczema greatly- he is just starting to out grow it though most kids outgrow it at much younger age. Some have skin respond well to removing milk from diet... He still has 5 food allergies. Did you know that smelling some foods may cause problem (aerosolized allergy) cooking eggs, steaming shellfish, baking nuts or peanuts. My son is still highly egg allergic but we've gotten the scores to drop by more than 40 points when we stopped cooking eggs when he is in the house. We have developed allergy awarenes and practises and he has survived.

I have a little fat notebook of his safe recipes to take with me and cooking stuff cube, safe food stash etc.

Take Care,


On Oct 6, 2002

Jandy, thank you so much for replying. Unfortunately, both my sister and I have the type of exzema that isn't outgrown. We've learned to manage it better as we've gotten older, but we still have chronic areas. We're quite the anomaly as far as that goes, her's is very severe on the bottom of her feet, mine is most severe on the palms of my hands. They are classic areas for psoriasis although it isn't psoriasis, it's exzema. My sister manages well with cortisone shots and I have recently switched to protopic. We're waiting for our daughter to run out of her current course of meds, when she'll also go on protopic, so we're thankful for that. Although, narrowing down these food allergies has made quite a difference in her skin. And I still don't know what caused the hives last week. Must have been something in the air, LOL.

I have stopped cooking eggs in the house, and I hope that helps her levels, I do hope that we have the same success bringing down her levels just as you had. We're doing our best to not expose her to anything that she tested positive for in hopes that in a few years, she'll be able to eat more of a normal diet. It's just figuring out the comfort level on this danged peanut thing that's got us now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. Vanessa

On Oct 7, 2002

hi I would rec. the peanut allergy answer book by michael young, MD ( pediatric allergist from boston) Its an easy fast read and is good for all allergies.Its an overwelming thing having a child with food allergies. I think the best advice is take it one day at a time. It seems you walk a fine line trying to make your childs life SAFE and normal at the same time.

On Oct 7, 2002

Jandy - Sorry to get off topic momentarily i but What is protopic lotion for excema? Is it steroid free?

On Oct 8, 2002

I too have also been told by my allergist that it doesn't matter if you are a 5 or a 2. A 2 can just as easlily have a srious reaction while a 5 may only get mild hives. My daughter is a 5+ and has only had hives onces over 4 years ago. I think that number thing is part of our problem. When I tell people my daughter has PA the usual response is " oh, is it the bad kind? " I hate this. Does anyone else get that response?

On Oct 8, 2002

Mostly I just get blank stares right now. LOL

Oh, and for the previous poster who asked about protopic. It is a new medication for exzema. It's fantastic!! I've been on the steroidal creams for most of my life, and the protopic is steroid free as far as I know. I can also use it on my daughter's face, which I can't use the normal stuff (triamcinolone, etc) for. I know that most exzema medications cause wrinkling, so we have to keep it away from her face, so we use Acclovate on her face right now. As soon as this run of current meds is over, we can switch to the Protopic for her and just use that one medicine all over. I can't wait!

Sorry, probably more information than you really wanted LOL


On Oct 8, 2002

Vanessa - Thanks for replying about the protopic. I will ask my doctor about it since my son has excema on his face. I wonder why he and the dermatologist never suggested it???

I am sorry that you are going through so much with your daughter's allergies. I was so overwhelmed when I found out about the peanut allergy in my son, then found out he was also allergic to dairy, sesame, and tree nuts. It IS scary, but it is more a routine part of life now.

On Oct 8, 2002

Nopeanuts, my daughter's pediatrician was unsure of the dosage and what research had been done on Protopic on children younger than 2, so she was hesitant to try it. I waited to speak with her allergist, who deals with this all the time, and the allergist said that they had done clinical trials and that since the medication is so new , not all doctors want to suggest is since they know so little about it. The allergist said that the dosage for her age would be the .03% , so that's what we went with.

Make sure that you only use a medication on your child's face that won't cause wrinkling. I know that I'm 28 and my hands look like I'm 50 because of all the exzema mediaations I've used over the years on them. We just weren't going to take the chance on her face.

Good luck, if you need any more information let us know!


On Dec 2, 2002

usmcwife4ever -

How are you doing? I, too, am a former USMC wife. I know how difficult the 6 month deployments are without complications. Now you have this on top of it. I was wondering if a little time has brought you any peace? Please give us an update.


On Dec 7, 2002

With the help of my dietician (I'm diabetic), to put it simply she explained that a "Peanut" is grown in the ground & somehow produced by way of Mold. My MIL is allergic to any aged cheese hense Mold; like bleu cheese, camerbert, brie, etc. It is the only link that I can come up with as far as it being passed down hereditarily. Some how, I can't remember, her allergy to aged cheese is connected to her allergy to penicillin. Hope this helps a little.

On Dec 7, 2002

Lisa, thank you so much for asking! I recently had the discovery....

When Maddie was around 9 months old she had severe exzema on her head, cracked, bleeding, like severe cradle cap. Her doctor prescribed a steroid suspension for her head to be used for four hours at a time covered by a shower cap. It cleared up her head beautifully, but in going through the old medications for purging, I just realized that the suspension in question was peanut oil!! Can you imagine? So basically, my little allergy prone daughter was absorbing peanut oil into her scalp for four hours a day for many days, used over weeks. I just can't believe it. I feel wronged, betrayed, and at the same time STUPID! I mean, I purposely didn't feed her peanut butter knowing she had allergic tendencies, but really, why on earth didn't I think that there was anything wrong with this peanut oil on her head???? Arghhh!!!

So, I guess you could say I have peace knowing that, but it isn't a comfortable peace.

Her allergies are still just as severe, and I think there is something else going on gastro wise. She has an appt in Jan with a ped gi doc because no matter what she eats, she digests it all the same. Not trying to be nasty, but she has that thick fatty yellow diahhrea all the time, even when she eats roughage, it doesn't digest right. So we're looking into what is going on in her digestive track.

And I think we're about half way through this deployment, depending on what happens with Iraq of course. Thanksgiving was aweful. DH's birthday was the day after, and he was allowed to call on Thanksgiving. We were eating with his whole family, so he got to talk to everyone. Of course it was already his birthday where he was, so we got to wish him happy birthday too. Not sure how we're going to handle the holidays without him but we're taking it all one day at a time. The biggest change is going to be for him when he comes home. Since she was just diagnosed before left, he really will be clueless about the whole thing. Now, as if that wasn't enough, our oldest daughter (9) has been diagnosed ADD by her psychologist since he left, and we are homeschooling her after the holiday break. SO there's another change for him. And oh yeah, we just got into military housing, so we have to move next week. Poor thing will even be coming home to a different house. Wow, sorry for the novel, LOL.

I"m basically managing her pa by not really taking her anywhere right now. I know that isn't a good long term solution, and of course she goes with me wherever I go, but we all avoid places where food will be present for now. It's really the only way I can handle it right now since she's so young and likes to put things in her mouth all of the time. And since she has so many other allergies in addition to the pa, it's just less of a nightmare for me to do it this way right now.

On a good note, at Thanksgiving my SIL and her children were there. The other baby screamed through the entire meal, but my girl, who had the most to be screaming about as she couldn't eat ANYTHING that all of the other kids were eating, sat quietly in her high chair with her green beans and wheat-free pretzels, happy the whole time. So, at least she doesn't have the stigma from the fammily as being the "difficult" one, on top of the FA which no one but me really gets. I'm afraid if she had been the one doing the screaming, they would have had a different impression of the whole thing. I'm probably not saying that well, but hopefully you get my point.

Anyway, thank you again for asking, we're just taking it day by day. 3 more months to go until I have some help here, so we're hanging on...


On Dec 7, 2002

Hi Vanessa,

Don't beat yourself up over applying peanut oil to your daughter's scalp...you can only do the best you can. I had a mother tell me (at the allergist's office)that even though her son had a PA, she still gave him little tastes of peanut butter! The other mothers & I gasped, she could sense that something was wrong, fortunately, she asked a passing nurse for more info. I felt so sorry for her talk, she cried almost uncontrollably while hugging her son so tight he began to cry. I know its a bit extreme, however, no matter what as a mother I'm certain you would never intentionally hurt your child. Let me know what you think of my situation under Girl Scouts.

Lisa McD