So true...this is Hunter\'s story - Peanut Allergy Information

So true...this is Hunter\'s story

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When Hunter was around a year old he began to get ear infections. He got one after another, and they were impossible to get rid of. I have allergies, as do many people in my family, so this was the first thing I suspected. I mentioned my suspicion to my son's pediatrician. She agreed that the ear infections could be caused by an allergy. The first thing we did was eliminate milk. That did not work. While all this was going on I gave my son his first exposure to peanutbutter. I have always been extrememly cautions about giving my kids anything that they could choke on, so when I gave my son a cracker, I put a skim of peanut butter on it so thin that you could not actually see the peanut butter. He broke it up, but did not eat it. His face began to swell and he began to scratch. I recognized this as an allergic reaction so I took the cracker away and washed him up immediately. At this time I had NO IDEA how serious a peanut allergy could be. I called the doctor and said, "I think Hunter is allergic to peanuts." and I explained what had happened. She said, "I don't think so, because people with a peanut allergy will go into shock. Its either shock or nothing." After this conversation, I still never gave him peanut butter again. Since the ear infections continued I requested allergy tests be done on my then 18 month old son. A few days after the tests I got a call from the Drs office and the receptionist said, " We got Hunter's results back and the Dr wanted me to call you right away. Hunter is allergic to eggs and he is HIGHLY allergic to peanuts. Do not give him peanuts." I said, "ok." I stopped feeding him eggs and his ear infections stopped, and I continued to not feed him peanuts. I did however give him a tiny taste of something chcolate, I can't even remember what it was, and he broke out in hives immediately around his mouth. So, then I assumed he was allergic to chocolate. He has never had chocolate since. I mentioned this to his doctor. she never mentioned to me that chocolate is often contaminated with peanuts. Fortunately I have been a stay at home mom, and since he could not eat eggs, chocolate or peanuts, the risk for exposure was cut way down. I have baked most everything. My husband was at work one day and began chatting with the nurse who works there. (He works for the Sheriff's Dept.) When he mentioned that our son has a peanut allergy she asked if we carried an EPIpen. My husband didn't even know what it was. She mentioned that we should be carrying one. My husband mentioned it to me and I said, "What's an EPIpen?" and my husband wasn't really sure. Well, in the back of my mind I knew I should ask my son's PED about it. My son started preschool this past fall and just before he started I called and wasn't even sure what I was asking for. I spoke with the receptionist and told her the story, she tried to write down what I was asking for. The Dr called in the RX. My husband picked it up and brought it home. When he handed it to me I was very surprised, I had no idea what this thing was. I took it out of the box and read the instructions. That was that until I found this site. My son sees a specialist now and I am sooooo much more informed. I called his Dr around halloween, after my son had to miss his school party because of another allergic condition that I was struggling to identify without luck. When the allergist looked at my son's test results from 1997, he said, "That's the highest test I've ever seen." He showed my how to use the epipen and when to use it. He explained to me that my son will not be able to identify an allergic reaction and that I will need to know what steps to take to know if his throat is closing. He might not know what this sensation is. Hunter has two younger sibs and i have been to Hunter's Dr hundreds of times! His PED had lots of chances to inform me. the most recent visit I began to talk about the allergies and what we are doing and the Dr gave me two examples of people who went into shock from comming in contact with peanuts. One girl who died in the college lunch room because the chili was thickened with peanut butter and she had left her epi pen in her dorm room. Another young man went into shock after kissing his girl friend who had eaten a peanut butter cookie an hour earlier. then she said, that a peanut allergy is almost as bad as a bee sting allergy. Her point was that the bee sting was worse because it was so random. I was very surprised. I began to explain that there are soooo many foods with peanut product that a PA in my opinion is a daily threat, inside and outside all year round. I didn't have much time to discuss this issue, I just left thinking...this Dr. needs to be educated. Otherwise she is great. In addition to my son's Dr, my own Obestricians and Dieticians need to know that there is a possible connection between peanut butter eaten by pregnant and lactating women. The Dietician had me eating PB everyday! I wish I had been informed of the potential risks. I look back and I thank the Lord that my son is alive. There are so many times when I *almost* fed him something that would have killed him, because I didn't know. For example, there is a popular hotdog stand in town. I almost never eat hotdogs, but sometimes it smells so good that I want one. I had sometimes smelled them cooking and *almost* gone there with my son. They cook everything in peanut oil. I would not even have recognized it as a reaction. I know this is long, but one more thing. This summer my son had x-rays and blood work after complaining of nausea for a couple of months. I went to his Dr and asked, "could this nausea be caused from an allergy to something?" and she said no, that nausea was NOT a common allergic reaction, so she sent us for unnecessary x-rays. I still thought it was an allergy and omitted suspected foods and...no more nausea since summer! x-rays and blood work were normal. She is a good Dr otherwise, she just does not know fully what to expect from allergies or how to educate her patients.


On Jan 18, 2000

We move around a lot and have contact with many different doctors and nurses. I am so frustrated with the quality of education they seem to have in the field of allergy and immunology. They seem to know very little on the subject. I've heard there are quality Docs out there but I've yet to run into one. Those of you that have good docs should feel very fortunate. The peds and even some allergists are so casual about my daughters allergies. They give the minimal instruction or none at all. Treatment and instruction should be standard for all peds and allergist acroos the country. I think Dr. Zeiger talked about this at the FAN conference last September. So many areas need to be enlightened! It can be very discouraging.

On Jan 18, 2000

Hi there, I am happy to hear that your son is OK, no thanks to your Dr., you stressed that your Dr. is a good Dr. except for her advice regarding your son's P/A....I would suggest to you that you look around for another Dr. It looks to me that you were verry fortunate that your son did not experience a life threatning reaction while under her care. I am amazed that there are still so many Doctors out there with inadequate information on the seriousness of PA, treatment, referrals to appropriate specialists etc. Think of it this way, your instincts alone saved your son's life, I would hate to think of what could have happened to him if you had gone by what your Doctor said. When my son had his first reaction at 20 months, he had only consumed 1 mini Ritz peanut butter filled cracker and immediately his eyes and lips swelled up. He was also verry distressed, I knew that something serious was happening and called our family doctor immediately. The doctor's response was to put my son in the car, don't even dress him (this was November and we live in Central Canada!) and race over there ASAP as we are only minutes away from his office. My son was grabbed at the door to the doctor's office by my doctor and rushed into an examining room where he was given a shot of adrenaline as he was experiencing respiratory distress. Thankfully we were in time and Wade (my son) recovered. We were immediately referred to an allergist and prescribed an epi-pen JR. I guess what I am trying to say is if my doctor had not been educated and knowledgeable my son could have died...I would reconsider if I were you and find a better doctor. Take care and stay safe!