symptoms = level of allergy?

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Hi there. I have a 16 month old son who I believe is allergic to peanuts. He also has very mild eczema on his legs, just as background info. He has only had reactions to peanut butter so far and has consumed many things at a variety of restaurants. He has had both regular and organic peanut butter and the only other ingredient that was in both was salt. His face gets red and puffy with red bumps. Once the reaction went away with just washing his skin off and the other two times I have given him Benadryl. He can have peanut butter on his skin, but can't eat it.

I know you will all tell me to go have him tested and I plan on it. I have already started talking to his doctor about it. I just had a few questions and thought I could turn here to try to find some answers. Please be nice. I am having a hard time dealing with this emotionally, as I am sure many of you have as well.

I have read that reactions can get worse each time. Is this true for all people with peanut allergies?

While under the understanding that the reaction can get worse, is there any way to tell from a child's reaction how severe it might be?

My oldest son had an allergy to a bean when he was little and mild eczema, but outgrew both. I know that the chances of my youngest growing out of these is lower, but one can hope! =)

Thanks in advance.

By cervonil on Jun 21, 2010

We're new to this also, and it is very difficult emotionally. The problem with peanut allergy is the reactions can totally vary and can not be predicted. Just b/c you had a severe reaction one time, you could have a mild reaction the next time, and vice versa. It depends on many circumstances. If your child has ever had an anaphylactic response to peanuts it is more likely he will have that severe response again. When you get tested, depending on how much of a reaction your child has -he will reccommend whether you need to carry an epi-pen with you at all times in case of accidental ingestion. I hope it is a mild case.

By cmvervais on Jun 21, 2010

Yes, as the previous poster stated, there is no way to tell how mild or severe a given reaction can be. That's why this can be a dangerous allergy. Someone can "just" get a few hives usually, and then have an anaphylactic reaction. There is a possibility of outgrowing this allergy, too, though the statistics are kind of low.

If he is allergic to peanut butter, it means he is allergic to all peanut products. Until you get him tested, you should definitely avoid any products that contain nuts or are made on shared lines with peanut.

It is overwhelming at first. My daughter was diagnosed 3 months ago, and I'm still adjusting. But the more information you have, the more prepared you are to protect your child. This forum is very helpful, but definitely get him tested, because if he is allergic you will need Epipens in case of emergency. Good luck!

By Papillon on Jun 21, 2010

Thank you for your responses. I have set up an appointment, so I guess I will know more after that.

One other question. If his skin is currently not sensitive to peanuts, then could that appear later, or will it probably just stay something that he can't eat, but can touch?

By cmvervais on Jun 21, 2010

From what I understand, some people have contact reactions, some airborne sensitivity, and then of course reactions from ingestion. Even if his skin doesn't react where a nut touched him, the problem is that he could have nut protein, dust, or oil on him from the contact. If he gets that on his hands, he can easily get it into his mouth and have a reaction. So from what I understand, peanut allergic individuals should not handle nuts at all. That's why many PA parents have to take a lot of precautions when they fly, avoid places where lots of peanuts are present like ball games, remove peanut products from their homes, etc. But you can get more accurate information from an allergist.

I don't believe that my daughter is very contact reactive. We ate a lot of peanut products in our home before her big reaction, so I know she probably touched things where nuts were present. But as soon as it touches her lips, her whole face blows up. I can't even imagine what would happen if she actually ATE something. So we take every precaution for her to not be exposed on any level to nuts.

Hope that helps, but definitely consult with a doctor.

By Papillon on Jun 22, 2010

We got our EpiPen and are set up with what looks to be a great doctor. Thanks for your help, everyone.