Peanut Free At Home?

Posted on: Thu, 06/03/1999 - 4:36am
Ann-Marie's picture
Joined: 06/03/1999 - 09:00

I am the mother of a 10year old boy who was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at 6. At the time my husband (now deceased) and I agreed to keep nuts and peanut butter in our home. One of the things that influenced our decision was an article about a 13 year old girl who had a severe nut allegy - an only child she grew up in a nut free environment - on a school trip she used the knife of another student with tragic results. We wanted our child to realize that a very common food could prove fatal - never share utensils, cups, straws etc always read labels or ask.
Now I live in a small city and just recently learned that the doctor who runs the allergy clinic is not an allergist! I took Owen for a consultation in a larger city with an allergist who was absolutely horrified that I would risk possible exposure.
Of course after this visit I'm second-guessing myself even though my son hasn't had any exposures since diagnosis.
I am so glad to have 'found' this site - it'll will be great to hear how other parents in the same situation deal with this decision.
Thanks, AM

Posted on: Thu, 06/03/1999 - 10:21am
dhumphries's picture
Joined: 02/02/1999 - 09:00

Hi Ann-Marie,
I also did not take my son to an allergist for about a year after his initial exposure (at the recommendation of our pediatrician who said to wait until my son was 5 yrs old to see an allergist) and during that year I kept him away from obvious pnt products, but was not told to be careful with ingredients. Then, after deciding on my own to see an allergist (after discovering this site), I too was horrified as to what could have happened to my son during this year. Now we are very vigilant about keeping all peanut products and those products that may be cross-contaminated out of our home. In addition, we are very careful about the homes we visit and the restaurants we eat at. Of course, my son is only two years old, and cannot yet decide on his own what is safe and not safe, so we are his watchdogs. This is probably a totally different experience then you may have with an older child.
Good luck to you and your son.

Posted on: Thu, 06/03/1999 - 10:10pm
Christine's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

We are not peanut-free in our home BUT we are very careful. It has been about 4 years since we discovered my son's allergy and we have not had any exposures since then. I keep peanut butter in the house because my husband very frequently has no refrigeration at his worksite and the only "safe" thing for him to take is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also have a chronic reflux problem and occasionally the only thing I can eat is peanut butter on plain white bread. My daughter, who is NOT peanut allergic, hates peanut butter and never eats it. So, when we do have to use peanut butter, I make sure the knife is immediately washed off with a wet paper towel (not the sponge) and cleaned. All tables/countertops are washed right away. No snacks are bought by us that may be cross contaminated. Occasionally I do buy snacks that my son cannot eat but they are not peanut containing snacks, they contain egg (which my son is also allergic too). If I banned both peanuts and eggs, my other child would have very little to eat. My daughter gets snacks from school that sometimes contain peanuts (candy bars, etc) and I do let her keep them. But we keep them on top of the refrigerator and give them to her when my son is either in bed or out with the grandparents. My son knows that not everything in the house is safe for him and he will ask me if the particular food has egg/peanut in it even if it is a food that I give to him directly. This is a good lesson to learn!! He is very accepting of his allergy. Recently, he has been watching the commericials for the new "magic" pop-tarts that change colors. He really wanted some so we went to the store only to find that they contained eggs. I didn't buy them but he is now asking me to buy them so he can "watch" his sister eat them. What a great attitude!! So personally, I don't think you are doing the wrong thing by allowing peanuts in your house. Obviously you have done well with this practice and your son has come to know that there really never is anything that is 100% safe. Everyone has a different comfort level in what they feel they can handle. Go with what feels comfortable to you and don't let others scare you into what works for them.

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/1999 - 12:15am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Ann-Marie,
My 5 year old son is allergic to peanuts and eggs. As Christine mentioned in her post, every family has a different "comfort" level and at one time I did have peanut products in our home--my 8 year old daughter has no allergies we know of. The day that all changed was when I made my daughter a PB&J sandwich and my son a jelly sandwich and I swapped their plates. The only thought that ran through my mind was "I just killed my own child." We administered his Epi pen and called 911 and needless to say, he was alright. The situation was so traumatic for me, personnally, that I banned peanuts from our house.
If you decide to keep peanut products in your home, here are just a few tips that I did when we had it...Always use paper towels, not sponges or cloths to wipe up PB in case your child comes behind someone who has eaten it and it comes off on him from the rag. Buy Jelly in a squeeze bottle so you won't have PB contamination in a jelly jar from a knife. I think Coco, in a previous post, mentioned bleach or something to that effect when cleaning kitchen counters to get rid of peanut butter residue but I don't know much about that (someone else might have insight on to how to keep the counters clean).
Hope this helped and whatever you decide, just be diligent in your routine.
Stay Safe!

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/1999 - 4:38am
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

I am glad you posted how easily mistakes can happen. Patti and I have taken all peanut products out of our home as of a few years ago. As many other parents have told us, it makes the home a place where you can feel "less stressed". We find this especially true when someone else comes over to our house to baby sit. We of course only have baby sitters we have "trained" about the allergy and they know (and are told over and over) not to bring any food etc. with them, and to only feed our daughter what is already in our home.
I have talked to a lot of people who informed me they only removed the peanut products from their house after there was a close call or when they realized how easily something could happen. I hope everyone can learn from others experiences and advice and not have to learn the hard way.
Stay Safe,

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/1999 - 6:19am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We only knew the barest of facts regarding p.a. after our daughter was diagnosed. At first, we thought it would be easy to avoid feeding her peanut products. We even continued to keep peanut butter in our pantry. One day I was hurrying to make sandwiches for her and a playmate who had requested a p.b. sandwich. I quickly made his sandwich and then wiped the knife off with a cup towel before I started to make a ham & cheese sandwich for her. She had not eaten even half of the sandwich before the reaction started! I felt terrible! Ever since, we try to keep everything in our house peanut free but our daughter knows that even so, she must be very careful. She is old enough now (8) to understand what cross-contamination is. We explain to her about the "unseen" things like peanut oil. She knows that products can be miss labeled. We have tried very hard to educate her on a level that she can comprehend. It is a joy to see her educating other adults. She has to deal with her allergy at school, and when she is away from us, so we feel that her home should be as "user friendly" as possible for her. Peanuts are as deadly to her as a loaded gun would be - and neither of which would we intentionally keep in our house!

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/1999 - 7:49am
SuzetteL's picture
Joined: 04/03/1999 - 09:00

I have a 4 yo that is peanut allergic and we decided have a peanut-free home 5 mo ago after my son's pediatrician told us to throw out all the peanut butter and peanut products. My son's allergist agrees that he should not be exposed in any way (including inhalation) to any peanuts since the peanut proteins can be airborne. My non-allergic daughter loves peanut butter and ate it almost everyday. My daughter was a meticulously clean eater when she ate her peanut butter sandwiches. But even so, my son would have little rashes around his lips occasionally and be terribly congested even though he didn't eat any peanut butter. He would also complain about being "barfy" (nauseated) a lot. Since we have thrown out the peanut products, his disposition has significantly improved and he doesn't have chronic congestion like he used to.
[This message has been edited by SuzetteL (edited June 04, 1999).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/1999 - 3:44pm
Sue's picture
Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

I would not keep peanut products of any kind in our home. The risk is too great.
We are going to hang a sign on our front door that states no peanut products are allowed.
About two weeks ago our five year old daughter was accidently exposed to peanut butter by kissing her little friend good-bye (on the lips). The girl had not eaten any peanut butter for about five hours prior to coming to our house. She washed her hands as soon as she came into our house (she always washes up before doing anything else when she comes to visit).
This exposure was very scarry and took me a few minutes to figure out what was happening before I realized it was peanut exposure through a kiss. She was sick to her stomache, throwing up, very fearful, wanted to be held, diahrea and all of this happened before the rash started.
Most kids may not be this sensative, but our daughter is. We do not keep peanut products in the house. We practice a lot of "what ifs" and this seems to help her a lot.
Sue in Sunny Arizona

Posted on: Sat, 06/05/1999 - 10:52am
brenda's picture
Joined: 01/22/1999 - 09:00

Sue, I was curious if you had to use the epi-pen for your daughter's reaction since it involved her GI system and not just hives/rash. Or did benadryl alone resolve the reaction?

Posted on: Sun, 06/06/1999 - 12:07am
armiger's picture
Joined: 05/15/1999 - 09:00

When Brady was first diagnosed, we decided to still keep the peanut butter in the house. But, the first time we went out for the evening, and were going to leave her with our teenage babysitter...we decided to become "peanut free". When I am home, I feel confident that no accidents will happen, but I just didn't want to put that responsibility on a 16 year old! So, we are now peanut free and noone is allowed to bring anything with peanuts in it into the house. Tammy

Posted on: Sun, 06/06/1999 - 2:50pm
Sue's picture
Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

I did not use the EpiPen and am not sure to this day if I did the right thing. I gave her three teaspoons of liquid Benadryl and got the EpiPen ready. I washed her hands and face and had her rinse out her mouth.
The rash stopped and it started to look better in a couple of minutes. I held her for about an hour as I wanted to know right away if she started to breath funny or if symptoms started again.
I was scared as I wondered if my waiting was very stupid. I have an appointment with her allergist tomorrow. I am going to tell him what I did and how I now feel I did the wrong thing by not giving her both the Bendryl and the EpiPen. I shiver to think of what could have happened.
This episode taught me a very important lesson. I wouldn't want the school to wait and see what happend after giving her Benadryl. I would want them to give the EpiPen along with the Bendadryl and then call 911. So why did't I do it?
Sue in Sunny Arizona



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