son just diagnosed with peanut allergy- help please



My 7 yr old son was just diagnosed with a penaut allergy and now needs to carry around an epi-pen. His past symptoms have been itchy throat when eating penauts..throwing up randomly after eating dinner or ice cream from fast food places. (now looking back...these places had peanuts in full expposure to everything)...but I am still really shocked. He eats PB & J with no problems..but was told not to stop immediatley. How could he eat these and be fine. His prick test came back with a 3+..and he said a blood test would not be needed due to the positive back and his symptoms. Any thoughts on any of this?

Also..a friend told me about the food allergy network..and it seems to be a great informative site. Are there hidden words in ingrediansts that I need to watch out for?

Any advice, help, or words of encourgament.,

Thanks, Amy

On Feb 21, 2007

Hello and welcome! Glad you found us, although I'm sorry for the cause.

I'm not sure what to think about the pbj - is it possible he likes it enough that he's willing to overlook minor allergic symptoms? My son used to occasionally eat pbj in daycare before he was diagnosed. He told me later that it made him hoarse (which means his airway was being affected) and tasted "hot" but otherwise no symptoms.

I went a long time without recognizing his allergy because he never had hives or swelling. I did notice sometimes his face would get flushed and he'd get "that cough" when he ate something with peanuts, but the pediatrician said that it didn't sound like PA and I sank back into denial, until his anaphylatic reaction.

It did take a little time to adjust to the allergy, but it does get easier! FAAN is a great place to start - you might consider ordering their video "It Only Takes One Bite." I found it very useful to show to caregivers and family members.

U.S. labeling laws now mandate that peanut appear on the label if it is an ingredient, but there is an exception for "peanut oil" because refine oils are thought not to contain any allergenic protein. However, depending on your comfort zone, you could choose to avoid "vegetable oil" that doesn't specify what type of oil.

Also, manufacturers are not required to label for cross-contamination, although some do. Again, depending on your comfort zone, you can choose to call the manufacturer to find out if they make their food on the same lines as peanut products.

Hope this helps you get started - please keep asking questions. It does get easier, I promise!

On Feb 21, 2007

Thank you for your reply.

I was told that peanut oil should be OK..but I would need to ask if it was cold pressed which would be a big NO or heat pressed which would be OK. I am confused on the vegatable oil..or hydrogenated vegatable oil..most of my things say (could be one or more of the following, cottenseed, soybean, corn, etc..I have yet to see one that says what is your thoughts? Amy

On Feb 22, 2007

Peanut oil is thankfully fairly rare, because of the cost. If the ingredient label spells out the types of oil, then I don't personally worry about it. But if it just says "vegetable oil" then I avoid, just in case.

However, despite the medical community's advice, I do avoid actual peanut oil. I've seen my son have a (minor) reaction to french fries made with "refined" peanut oil, and I looked at one of the studies that they used to deterimine peanut oil is not allergenic. They had 60 patients swallow capsules with oil inside, and determined with at 95% level of confidence that 90% of the allergic population is unlikely to react. That's not personally good enough for me, when we're talking about a serious allergy.

Hope this helps!

On Feb 24, 2007

hmmm Interesting that he can eat PB&J. I wouldn't even try peanut oil of any kind. cause I could be sure that it was safe. I do let my son have vegetable oil, sunflower, canola, oil ect... Maybe I am wrong but we have not had a problem so far... my DS is 6 and I have known about the allergy since he is 2. I think most companies cover their butts by labeling "may contain" or made in the same facility. but we avoid anything with those labels. I stick to products manufacture's I trust. We eat Lays products because I was told any peanut snacks are in a seperate facility. Hershey's label very well. start calling the Manufacturer and keep a list. then decided where your comfort zone is... Therese