Hello everyone.

I am just OVER PA today. My 2 year 10 month dd is allergic to peanuts and some environmental things and has asthma. How on earth do you get past being terrified that your child will die? We had a stillborn child before Sophie, so she was our miracle when she was born. Though we have other children (all through infertility treatments) now, she is very special in her own right. I am so scared she will be one of the fatalities.

I am trying to be on top of things, but I'm having trouble with labels. For instance, I made everyone's favoriite spinach dip with Knorr Vegetable soup mix: natural flavors. I made a "safe" Dill Dip and added seasoned salt: natural flavors. I will call the companies (I tried) but since it is July 4th...

Anyone know anything about seasoned salt and Knorr dip?

A few questions: Should I be concerned about "artifical favors" too?

I am terrified of any frozen foods: can anyone recommend safe freozen veggie foods?

Are there any companies you just don't trust? I feel weird about Nabisco and Keebler.

What about cream cheese? Does anyone feel comfortable with plain cream cheese?

My dd's MD and I were discussing Xolair and she said it will all depend on her IgE level if our insurance company will let us have it when it is available. I'm already worried about that!

Thanks for listening. Paula

On Jul 5, 2003

Hi Paula- I am so sorry that you lost your baby. We lost our first child, and I have wondered whether this has made the possibility of a death from peanut allergy more real to us. We unfortunately know that a child of ours can die. When did you find out about Sophie's PA? For me, the first 3 or 4 months of knowing about our DD's PA were the worst in terms of anxiety. Now I just live with it and am not nearly as anxious as I was at first. I don't know about seasoned salt, Knorr products, or frozen foods (other than plain frozen veggies which we consider safe). We consider "artificial flavors" safe. In general, we call companies when the ingredients list "natural flavors" and use the product only if the person answering seems to know what they're talking about. We never use a product if there is a peanut or tree nut version, regardless of what the label says. We always check the Manufacturers section of these boards before giving DD something new. DD goes to parochial school and is not limited at all in her activities. We go everywhere with her (i.e. birthday parties) and have had three food allergic reactions: her first exposure to Enfamil at six months, her positive peanut challenge two years ago and positive milk challenge last year. She is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. You can and will keep Sophie safe. These boards can help a lot with specific information about foods and with many other issues. Good luck!

On Jul 5, 2003

For vegetable dip, try calling Fantastic Foods and asking them about their natural flavors in their vegetable dip. This is what I use, but I don't react to may contains or trace amounts. I know that it's soy-free and gluten-free.

If you're not comfortable with it, you could just make the dip from scratch. I make spinach (artichoke-spinach, actually) dip all the time and it's just as good as the stuff made from a mix. I usually use the SuperNova dip recipe found on the box of original UFO crackers. I add a few extras, but that's my nature with any recipe.


On Jul 5, 2003

Hi Paula. I'm sorry you feel so nervous about the PA.

My second child, just before my PA son, was also stillborn. I think it is so traumatic you can never really forget how close the division is between life and death.

I have said many times I think the toddler years are the hardest. You can't count on the PA child to understand and cooperate. It will get much easier, believe me. Before you know it, that baby will get some sense and start working with you instead of against you! My son is not the fearful type, but at age 7 he is knowledgeable and vigilant about his food allergies.

It is good to read labels, call companies if you want to, and take reasonable precautions. But don't let yourself be paralyzed by "what if." Yes, cream cheese could possibly be cross-contaminated--there is always that possibility as long as you don't milk the cow and churn the cheese yourself (!) but I'll just say I've used every brand known to mankind and never had a problem. But if it's something you worry about, call a few companies and choose a brand and stick to it so you don't have to worry.

I feel fine with Keebler and Nabisco. To me, these are huge companies with a gigantic stake in not killing off their customers. My son eats their products practically every day. But if you're uncomfortable with them, you just need to find a brand that feels OK to you, or bake your own.

Keep in mind, people with food allergies have reactions that don't kill them. Death from a food allergy is possible, but it's relatively rare. If you are very careful and read labels, most foods are unlikely to cause a severe problem even if there is some cross contamination (you should still be careful, but it helps reduce worrying to realize most fatal reactions are from buffets, Chinese food, bakery items, desserts).

I am not trying to minimize the danger of cross contamination--I am very careful about what I feed my son. But I have NEVER heard of a PA kid dying from trace amounts of peanuts in cream cheese or graham crackers or mac & cheese, etc etc etc. This doesn't mean let your guard down, but if you keep it in mind it lets you sleep easier at night.

You sound like you're very careful and knowledgeable. You are certainly capable of keeping your child safe. The worrying can be so debilitating. I think developing a sense of confidence and competence and projecting that confidence is half the battle in dealing with PA. It will make a world of difference in how your child feels about PA, and in how others relate to you.

Keep posting here and good luck! You'll be fine!

On Jul 5, 2003

Thanks everyone- it really is helpful.