Posted on: Wed, 07/05/2006 - 11:43am
yarnwoman's picture
Joined: 10/09/2000 - 09:00

just a curiosity question. My ds is now 12yrs. was diagnosed with peanut allergies at 2 yrs followed by tree nut at 6yrs. how many of you out there have teens? We are starting to see a change in our son's comfort zone now that he is getting to be older. he just assumes that if things are in the house they are safe for him.Now some of you may remember that if have never banned peanuts or tree nuts from our house those of us that do eat them are just VERY VERY careful.But last year there were several of his 7th grade classes that had parties and he just ate and didn't check things. is this common as our children become teens?

Posted on: Wed, 07/05/2006 - 8:12pm
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

Chris is now 20 and been PA forever. He has never eaten anything at any house other than mine and grammas. She has a safe house for him and always has. He will still check labels and has asked me to do so if he feels unsure after reading.
As far as at 12 years old I must say NO he would have never eaten at anyones party and would have brought his own food. He still doesn't eat at his girlfriends house because he feels they don't get it.
You should sit him down and explain your feelings and explain what could happen.
I find that sharing unfortunate stories is sometimes a better way of getting it through to them.
It is hard to tell them the outcome but it may be what works.
Best of luck and stay firm with him on this.
Take care Claire

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 12:12am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

My son is 21 now and off to college. Our home is safe for him and somehow if I have an unsafe item he's not going near it anyway.
He ate very carefully at friend's houses all his life. He did eat at friend's houses.
One thing in our favor (if you can call it that)is he had his only two reactions BIG reactions when he was 14 and 15. Through no fault of a teenage mind. They were both at home. BIG mistakes on all of our parts.
If your son had his reactions when he was little it might not be easy for him to remember how he felt. My son experienced it all with a teenagers mind so he remembers and does not want to go thru that ever again.
You might consider taking out some PA literature and giving your son a refresher. Gently. He just might not remember.
I have seen my son make what I would call a not well thought out decision in a Starbucks recently and when I commented he got very angry at me. But other than that one time he's been very careful.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 12:15am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My dd age 11 would never do that, but she is also milk allergic, so 95% of what is at other people`s houses she is allergic to anyhow. Even at day camp last week, they passed out life savers (those individually wrapped ones) and she asked to read the ingredients, looked for a may contain, saw it was fine, and brought it home for me to okay even though it was safe. I have found some useful articles on [url="http://www.fanteen.org"]www.fanteen.org[/url] It is a great website as your child is approaching those teenage years. It deals with teenage issues like this one.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 1:33am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I remember now that as my son got older most of his friends knew about his allergy and would ask him what foods to serve if he was coming over.
He taught his friends to read labels, I made a few phone calls for him in the beginning but once he did it on his own he was fine.
If he was invited to a party or a get together he would call a few days ahead and go over what they were serving and ask what other people were bringing. If they knew he was going to be there they were careful but once he got there he ate little anyway unless there was something he knew and had eaten before.
LA is big and spread out. DS did not go to our neighborhood schools so all of his friends were car rides away from us. So this made it possible to pre plan almost any encounter he had.
He is very open about his allergy and I suppose that is what helps the most.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 2:15am
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

Teen boys can be risk takers.
My son had a skin test about that age - he saw how big and itchy that exposure made him so I think that helped prove to him that I wasn't making up how serious about it he needed to be.
Has your son had a skin test recently?

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 2:23am
lmw's picture
Joined: 11/12/2005 - 09:00

DD is 19, TNA at 8, PA just recently.
All through school, she was careful about checking the may contains, although at that point, just being TNA, it was much easier.
( We were not told to avoid all nuts/peanuts, just the ones she tested positive to.
DD has never had a serious reaction (yet), and now that she IS PA, and avoiding all TNs as well, she still eats out, eats at friends homes, and I admit, it does worry me - certainly more than it seems to worry her.
As far as I know, she never had any reactions at her friends, although the parents all knew, and while the homes weren't nut-free, they tried to be careful.
From reading here, I feel we have been very lucky so far.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 2:36am
ajgauthier's picture
Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

hi there - I thought I'd give some of my thoughts from when I was a teen with PA.
My comfort zone has changed through my life - and I think my teen and early college years is when it was the most risky...that was about the point I was sick of my allergy, pissed off at it, denied it, wanted to "fit in", wanted to "do what I want", etc. The usual teen attitude.
Even though I was reading labels at age 4 (yes, age 4) and wouldn't put anything in my mouth if I hadn't read the label, talked to friend's parents, my mom talked to friend's parents, etc...I still had reactions that were "my fault" because I didn't follow the rules. In 9th grade I had a reaction, in 10th grade I had a reaction, and in 11th grade was my very last ingestion reaction to date (I'm 31 now). The 9th and 10th grade reactions were because I ate bakery goods (one from a school cafeteria and one from a friend's house). The 11th grade reaction wasn't my fault (ground peanuts in the school caf. dinner rolls to fulfill a health requirement!!!) Mind you now, remember the times...this was late 80's/early 90's when the "may contain" label just started coming out, noone really thought of cross-x in a manufacturing facility or kitchen, and schools were definitely not peanut-free. Matter of fact, I was the only PA/TNA child in my entire grade from K-12...and I think in the entire school district there was just 1 or 2 others.
Anyhoot --- no matter how scary this may sound to you...teens test boundaries. Whether it's disobeying curfew, smoking, drinking, sex, not doing homework, etc... food allergy falls into that "how far can I take it" category. There was an article someone posted here a while ago about it...that teens and college age kids are the ones who usually break-down their comfort level and have a reaction. Further, I think it's when teens stop carrying their epis.
I know I know, it's scary...but from my experience it's the truth. I survived it, miraculously. If I could go back and tell a teen PA anything, it would be to NOT take risks, b/c hey, you CAN die. To *always* carry the epipen (usually easier to conceal for girls than guys) and *always* read ingredients and ask about food at friend's houses and restaurants. Yes, you can make it safer to eat out by asking, preparing, and carrying epipens...but really, it's never guaranteed 100% safe unless it comes from your momma's kitchen. Really, I feel like a teen-mom who goes back to schools and talks about how it is to have a baby when you are a teenage mom...telling all the other teens to practice safe sex!
I guess I would suggest a "PA talk" like how one does a "Sex talk" with a teen. Mom and dad don't want you take risks (like unprotected sex, oral or otherwise, or fooling around where diseases can be caught and girls can get pregnant) HOWEVER, mom and dad know you may 'test the waters' so you give the information/resources to keep them safe/unpregnant. Same things with PA. I think it's normal for a teen to try to test the waters and work toward their own adult PA comfort zone...however...they need to be safe and do some things (check ingredients...epis...) to be in a "safe zone".
Sorry if my thoughts above scared the bejesus out of anyone...but I'm just relaying my own experience and take on it.
Adrienne [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 4:37am
yarnwoman's picture
Joined: 10/09/2000 - 09:00

Thank you all for your responses. I guess i just wanted to know that it was a normal thing so to speak. We don't have a nut free house and there have been times when like last weekend when he has gotten hives (this time from italian green beans). We also have the fact that he has a high iq and is further different from his peers because of that as well as his allergies. Most of the time (95%) he does do what he should checking labels etc. but you never know what will set him off. I know he has more allergies than he was tested for with a skin test(at age 7-8). But other then this weekends hives the last tiem he had a reaction it was after walking by a turkey fryer. and that was 4 yrs ago. Thanks for the responses. they did make me feel more comfortable.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 4:49am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Adrienne these are wonderful guidelines, thanks from all of us.
One thing I remembered. Always make sure your teen tells you about reactions. It is not their fault even when it IS their fault, things happen.
This is a second hand story but I have a friend who I trust. She was speaking to a clergyman at her job one day and she mentioned my son and his PA.
This man started to cry and told my friend that his 21 year old daughter had died in his arms a few years earlier during a peanut reaction.
Apparently she was known to have PA and went off to college but was reluctant to tell her parents that she had a number of reactions in college.
So she has a reaction at home in the presence of her parents and dies quickly. I do not know the details, did she use/carry epi? What did she do. I do know I trust the story teller and the girl died.
The prevailing thought was since she had a number of reactions (more than her parents knew about) this last reaction came upon her more quickly and she died. Probaby before her parents or the girl were prepared to act.
I am going to assume proper procedures were not followed.
The moral here is make sure your children feel comfortable enough to share this kind of information with you. Once they hit 18 the privacy of information act takes over in the US and colleges and ERs do not have to call parents NO MATTER what condidion the person is in.
With his epi pens my son carries a folded release that says any ER has permission to call us here at home any time. He is fine with this and I would not have it any other way.
My own mother was mentally ill and my brother and I had to treat our own illnesses from a very early age. I mean 3 or 4! We learned to hide any signs of injury or illness or she went off the deep end and we always got the bad end of her ire.
Make sure your children teens or younger feel comfortable to discuss reactions with you because they might try to hide it if they think you are going to be upset or angry.
Whenever anyting happens here in our home my DH and I go into an infuriatingly calm mode. We handle everything quietly, efficiently, and calmly and we react emotionally later. It works for us.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2006 - 7:08am
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

we do keep a peanut-free home (usually includes not having may contains in the home either). i like this to be the one place the girls don't have to "think" before eating. they don't get to do that much. (i can see how this might not ready them for the real world, but it works for us and gives me and them peace of mind. i think you could argue for both situations).
i do think we've had problems in the past, when the girls were very young and i was not that well educated about PA, with the girls have lots of small exposures that have added up over time. my girls are extremely sensitive now and their systems react to the smell of pb and peanut products around them. so...we keep peanut products out of the house. no one here really misses them that much anyhow.
but, my 10 yr old PA daughter does eat at friends' homes on occasion. if the food item is a wrapped snack that she is familiar with and has an intact label she can read, she eats. she oftens phones me before doing so to get my opinion (even with a clear label and a sealed wrapper). she is very cautious. my 7 yr old PA daughter only eats in friends' homes if her sister is present and has gone through the precautions with her. neither of them has the opportunity to do more than "snack" in other homes since i do not yet allow overnights, except under very special circumstances, and real meals are not served to them. even with them only having wrapped/sealed/labeled snacks, they still always carry their meds along during visits (and all the visits are to homes on my street when i am home).
there was a time when my girls did not eat ANYTHING in anyone else's home but we have learned to trust them more over the years and they've done a good job. plus, the parents (at least the mom) in the other home is always someone we know very, very well and has a clear understanding of the girls' PA.
my 10 yr old is so cautious that she will generally not eat safe chips or other safe foods if the container/package has previously been opened. she is cautious about what hands have been dipping into them prior to hers. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] she's kind of a worry wart like her momma. a friend of mine across the street has five children and a packed pantry. she always allows bryce to have unopened items even if she already has an opened bag or box of the same food going for the other kids. if she thinks my kid is a pain, she's never mentioned it. haha.
the food my girls can eat at other peoples' homes is usually not real healthy (because it's usually wrapped junk food) but at least they can enjoy themselves to some degree. i would not want them eating other items....just the thought of all the doubledipping (ie. pb in the jelly jar, etc.) that goes on scares the heck out of me. but...wrapped and sealed safe food seems to be working for us.


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