Should I keep her out of preschool to keep her safe? Milk and peanut allergy.

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 11:23am
Elizasmom's picture
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Joined: 09/07/2002 - 09:00

Let me give you some background before I cover my preschool concerns. My 2.5-year-old daughter reacts on skin contact with milk, mango, melons and feathers. Her milk reactions are strong enough from just touching, that we believe she might be anaphylactic if she ingested some or got really covered in it. We have been strictly avoiding milk, and we are somewhat hopeful that he allergy may be subsiding. She has also skin tested allergic to peanuts, peanuts, cottonseed, and soy but has not had a reaction to these things because we have avoided them (we pray that these are false positves, but live like they are not). The milk allergy is the most difficult for us. Milk is everywhere, in everything. Her legs have been covered in hives from sitting in highchairs with milk residue on them. Cottonseed and soy also very difficult to avoid. Peanut and nuts have been easy to avoid in comparison, but we are even more afraid of them than milk because we have no idea what to expect if or when she is exposed.

We would like to enroll her in preschool for 3 hours 2 days a week when she turns three. I know she would love it, and I believe she would benefit from the experience. However, I am scared to death of what we don't know. As I said, she has never had a peanut or treenut reaction. It could be a false positive (before she was tested, she once ate honey nut cheerios without reacting - contains almond). I believe the soy and cottonseed positives are false. On the otherhand, we could be dealing with a deadly allergy. If I knew right now that exposure would cause her throat to close up and she would need the epipen, this would be an easy decision - I would not send her. I don't want to keep her out of school for fear of something that I don't even know exists, but maybe I should just play it safe. Does anyone know the rates of false positives? Would a blood test combined with the skin test results be more definitive? The allergist said they would not do a food challenge until she is 5. Is there any harm in doing a challenge sooner? If there is possible harm, might that harm be outweighed by the benefit that she would possibly be able to have a normal preschool experience, and we could live without fear?

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 3:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Elizasmom, I'm sorry, but I always have to ask a ton of questions before I feel I can properly answer.
Your daughter was skin prick tested and came back positive for the food allergies that you listed?
And what of those allergens has she actually had some type of reaction to (I believe milk is one of them from what I just read - sorry, late at night)?
Yes, if your daughter had skin prick allergy testing done, she can have had false positives. When I took my PA son to be allergy tested he came back with false positives to latex (one which can be anaphylactic so I was scared to death), salmon, dogs, and something else. I had to post questions more than I usually do (if you can believe that) to get other members here to help me sort out if my child was actually allergic to these things or not.
As it turns out, Jesse had eczema on his back where the skin prick testing was done and that apparently can help to negate or make false positives. So, all of the allergens I was told that he had, other than the ones I already KNEW myself, without testing, environmental allergies and PA, were false.
The thing I'd like to say is to keep posting away here until you get the answers you feel you need. The members here are simply super and they will help you through the mess of allergy testing, etc. Heck, they help me through the mess of my life [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] Seriously.
As it turned out, I had my daughter tested the same day (actually that's why Jesse was tested) and she came back as non-PA. However, then after posting it here, I realized that my daughter has never been exposed to peanuts and you can't be allergic to something unless you have been exposed once. So, is she PA or not? That was two years ago. I have never had her re-tested and she has still not been exposed to peanuts or peanut products because of her older brother.
It can be truly mind boggling and you need to figure this out. Let everyone here help you.
Are you able to have allergy testing re-done?
Are you able to read threads on this board and determine if skin prick or CAP RAST testing is more effective? I believe CAP RAST is, but I'm not 100% clear.
Now, as to your actual question about whether or not you should enrol your child in preschool or not if anaphylactic to milk. Has she ever had an anaphylactic reaction to milk? Has anyone ever told you that she has a chance of outgrowing her milk allergy?
There are members here who do have children that are PA and also anaphylactic to milk and they do attend school (and may even have attended pre-school).
I think really before you think about sending your daughter out into the world (even pre-school) you really have to find out EXACTLY what she is allergic to (and understand that yes, she could be allergic to something else next year as I may be just experiencing with my son, not clear yet [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ) so that you can educate the people that will be in charge of your daughter's care while you are not. Do you know what I mean?
The woman who wrote my PA son's written school board policy has a daughter who is PA and anaphylactic to milk. She may be someone that you might want to be in touch with. And I also know that she's not the only one on this board with a child allergic to both things.
There has also been discussion on the board about whether taking a daily antihistamine helps reduce contact reactions and that might be something to search out on this board and discuss with your allergist. If your daughter is allergic to whatever, would her reactions be lessened if she took a daily antihistamine. I know one PA.com member whose child was anaphylactic to milk but didn't always have an anaphylactic reaction.
The child would often break out in hives, etc. Her parents decided to try a daily antihistamine with her and it reduced the number of reactions dramatically. It is posted in that very old thread where that is discussed.
From the number of questions you have raised under Main Discussion right now, I'm really sensing (and I'm a fine one to talk) that you have a lot of questions and you need to get some answers and NOW. You've found the place, trust me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
People will go out of their way to help you figure this out. I do have little blips along the way (and I also just love asking questions [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ) with my son's school or with his recent mystery anaphylactic reaction, but I have to say that I find living with his allergy pretty easy as far as just our immediate family and as far as Jesse and I.
I may do a lot of stuff re PA, but most of it doesn't have to do with Jesse (if that makes any sense).
Hope this helped in some way and that you get some answers to your much needed questions. I'm also sorry to deluge you with questions, I just really need to be clear.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 5:27am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I don't post here often. But since I can relate to your situation I thought I'd add my two bits! My four year old son was milk, egg and peanut allergic. We found out before he was a year old on all of them. He too was contact sensitive to milk (all of them actually). One time he reached into the sink and picked up a measuring cup I had measured milk in the night before (it was dry). Within minutes he was covered in hives from his chin to his upper chest. The more he itched the more it spread! Fortunately Benedryl took care of it that time. I totally know what you mean about the milk being the hardest! I felt like peanut was a piece of cake compared to milk! But about a year ago I got the phone call I had DREAMED of for three years. The milk and egg were completely outgrown!!! He has had both since, in fact he drinks milk every day now, and no reactions at all! I know it is hard to believe, but it is possible and I hope someday you might be as blessed. As far as pre-school is concerned... We started our son this year (at 4), after tons of phone calls all over town and talking to lots of people. We wound up choosing a program at the high-school dh and I both went to. When I told them of the trouble I was having finding someplace for him the teacher's response was " Well, he's in. We have a two year waiting list, but I won't stand for anyone discriminating against any child, so don't worry about it any more!" We were very fortunate. This program takes half disabled kids and half typical kids so there is usually a nurse in the room as well as one on campus. And the ambulance response time is only 3 minutes (an important thing to ask). They have also gone completely nut free and plan to stay that way permanently. So, my point (yes, I do have one!), is that pre-school can be done and I believe you can even be comfortable with it. It just depends on your comfort zones and the pre-school you choose. If you think you'll live in fear the whole time she is there then it isn't worth it (in my humble opinion). But if you can find a program in your area that you can trust and work with then I'd explore it more. Well, I hope I've been of SOME help or encouragement and wish you the best...
CoCo

Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 6:25am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Trace's Mom, your post was just so right on! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I have often spoken with other FA parents whose children had more than PA and I have to say that I think I would personally find it much more difficult to have a child that is milk allergic or egg allergic. These foods seem to be in everything and have such a wide range of different names that you have to look for when you're reading labels. I find PA quite easy in comparison.
Also, simply super that you were able to get your son into a pre-school that had such a wonderful attitude! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I really hope your post helps Eliza's Mom.
I know that you have to know what you're dealing with first and then be able to present it to whatever school to see how they are willing to deal with your child. I think that's why I asked her so many questions and probably scared her away! LOL!
There is a child in Jesse's class that is TNA, allergic to coconut, but only if he ingests it, and also allergic to different melons, including watermelon. He is now in Grade 2 and it's quite obvious that he is doing fine.
Also, you're definitely right about it being a comfort zone thing. If you think that you, as the parent, are going to be scared to death the whole time your child is away, it's not worth it. But I do believe that Eliza's Mom can find the information and then the strength she needs to present her child to a pre-school and get him in.
I remember when I was told that Jesse would be sitting beside another child eating pb at school. I felt so sorry for my outgoing, social little guy and thought, okay, I don't have to legally send him to school until he's in Grade 1 so I can keep him home for two more years. What I did instead was find out what his rights were within the school system here and started to work that out with the school so that he could safely attend. I have to say that I am really pleased that he did go to JK and SK and I really feel it's important that children don't miss out on what I consider the basics in life - education - because of their allergies.
Eliza's Mom, I would simply confirm your daughter's allergies and then get a school plan written up that you could present to the pre-school. The other thing is, unless you do want to homeschool, you are going to be faced with this decision in a couple of years anyway and I kinda think it's better to start everyone off early (both you and your daughter). Do you know what I mean?
However, I would be the last person to comment if you chose not to send your child to pre-school.
Just know that we're all here to help.
Trace's Mom, also, great news that your son outgrew the milk and egg allergy. Do you know if you have a greater chance of outgrowing milk and egg allergies than you do PA or does an anaphylactic reaction also factor into this as it does with PA?
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 8:37am
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

I'll tell you what we did (even though my son is now 14 so it was quite some time ago!) I was not comfortable sending my peanut, tree-nut, milk, egg, wheat allergic three year old to school for a couple hours at a time. So I signed him up for swimming, craft, or tumbling classes through our parks and recreation department so he could socialize with other kids besides the neighbors. Since they were only 30-45 minutes long there was usually no food involved (however, NEVER assume this - I learned the hard way that some of the craft classes included food). By the time he was four he outgrew his wheat allergy and was much more verbal which made me more comfortable about managing the remaining allergies (which he lives with still). When he was four we signed up for a co-op - that way since we helped out in the classroom I got to know the teacher better and the other Mom's and could educate them throughout the year.
I think preschools are much more aware these days so you would probably find a program that could accomodate your daughter but this worked out really well for us.

Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 8:45am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Jana R, are you saying your 14 year old is still allergic to milk and eggs? My 7 1/2 year old is allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts, but I was hoping she would outgrow the milk and egg pretty soon. Her last Cap-Rast 2 years ago, showed the milk and egg to be class 2. Since the only time she ate egg (at age 2 1/2) I had to use the Epi, I thought the fairly low Cap Rast meant she would outgrow it. I thought most kids outgrow the milk and egg pretty quickly. If your son at 14 is still allergic to milk and egg, that is discouraging.

Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 9:54am
BS312's picture
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Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

Eliza's Mom- I totally agree with Jana R. We are dealing with peanut, tree nut, milk and egg allergies. We did not feel comfortable sending DD (now in kindergarten) to preschool even though the director's husband is tree nut-allergic so they were more aware than most. During the year, a PA child who would have been in DD's class had a reaction to peanut at the preschool during a bird feeder project. The great thing is that peanut allergy has almost turned out to be a blessing in disguise! As an alternative to preschool, DD took ballet lessons. She LOVES ballet and has continued it this year. If she were not peanut-allergic, she would have gone to preschool and we never would have tried ballet lessons.

Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 2:21pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jana R., wow! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] That sounds like an excellent different choice! Seriously!
I think that's what I really love about this website. Someone presents a difficulty they are having and there are SO many voices that can be heard here and people that have more than what I consider to be my standard issue (I mean I believe I'm like most PA parents and just kinda standard issue - sorry, babble speak time and not meaning to offend anyone) way of dealing with situations.
You and the other member that posted offered Eliza's Mom some wonderful alternatives to pre-school.
I also like the co-op idea. I could have done this in the previous town that I lived in (and could probably do it here as well) with my non-PA daughter when Jesse was in school. At that time though, I really felt as though Ember and I needed to spend time alone together because we never had and also because I was a single parent at the time, I really felt the need that if I was going to send my children anywhere that it would be without me so that I would get some much needed respite. My much needed respite came in the form of story hour at the library (please remember I lived in a town of 3,500) for 1 hour per week. It was great. I remember when Jesse went, I still had Ember in her stroller so I didn't really get respite but I got Ember to me. It was only when Ember went to story hour that I got that 1 hour a week to myself out of the whole 24/7. Nice memories actually. Sorry, I digress.
No, I love the alternatives presented and I do have to say that I did think about the co-op thing myself for Ember, but as I said, I had two different reasons for not doing it.
Gotta love the thoughts that come out here and actually help people. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Mon, 12/30/2002 - 3:47pm
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

Carefulmom - yes, he is still allergic to milk and egg. We, too were told there was a good chance he'd outgrow those allergies by now but it just hasn't happened for him. I still hold out hope that all the changes a body makes as a teenager that might include the milk and egg allergy (it did for my Dad's brother).
Sometimes I actually consider it a blessing in disguise (grin BS312!), too, though - everytime I read about a food allergy alert for accidental peanut or tree nut inclusion, it's almost always something that had milk or egg already in it so I breathe a sigh of relief that it would not have been something we bought anyway so we avoid being exposed to the more severe peanut and treenut contaminations because of the milk and egg allergies (does that make ANY sense??).
Cindy - it's really nice to come here and be validated for our decisions - thank-you for doing that for me! Respite is VERY important - I know some co-ops have you help once a week - ours was only once or twice a month so it was perfect.

Posted on: Tue, 12/31/2002 - 12:58am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I have the exact same thoughts when I see those food allergy allerts. It is almost never something that my dd could have eaten anyhow. If we were able to buy everything but peanuts/tree nuts, there are so many alerts, I would have to constantly remember what not to buy! Just wondering which bothers you more---the milk and egg allergy or the peanut allergy? This has been discussed on these boards. I find the milk and egg easier to deal with, because although there are tons of foods she can`t have, I don`t worry about what others are eating. We never fly milk free or egg free but we do fly peanut free. Also, with a high percentage of the fatalities due to peanuts, that really concerns me more than the milk and egg. I don`t mind having to be careful about what goes into my dd`s mouth, but I do mind having to worry about others bringing their peanut products to a potluck or party or school.

Posted on: Tue, 12/31/2002 - 1:10am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Cindy,
As far as outgrowing the milk and egg vs. peanut. My doctor has said a couple times that there was about an %80 chance he'd outgrown milk and egg, and about an %80 chance he WOULDN'T outgrow the peanut. (We have never had a true anaphylactic reaction.) Now, that being said, I'm not real impressed with this doctor's knowledge. Our last doctor (who retired) spent 1/2 hour talking about peanut allergy with me during my own visit for seasonal allergies! So, I don't know. I have also heard that 3 and 5 are sort of "magic" ages as far as outgrowing. After each age the chances of outgrowing dropped signifigantly. Which is why I was so depressed last month when ds's RAST came back tht his peanut numbers had barely dropped in the past year. (He's 4). Anyway, don't want to take up Eliza'smom's thread with my ramblings! Hope I answered your question though. If not, e-mail me at [email]cocomaier@attbi.com[/email]
CoCo

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