testing younger siblings in a nut free house


my older son is PA and i'm in the process of deciding what to do about testing my younger son - he is 3 1/2 - and has grown up in a nut free house - i am tempted to wait until he is 5 - we got a skin test that was his first exposure and it seemed negative - i am awaiting RAST results - how reliable are these? my allergist wants to do a challenge but i want to wait -my son considers himself a nut free boy he is in a nut free school - we always have an epipen - i don't want to expose him too early i have heard that younger siblings are at a slighlty higher risk of allergy - has any had any experience with this decision? lego

On Feb 14, 2001

I had this same question, because my now 5 year old daughter has lived in a peanut free house and attended only peanut free nursery school and kindergarten. When she went to anyone's house she never ate anything with peanuts or peanut butter. So she made it to 5+ without any knowing exposure to peanut products. I never consumed any peanut products while pregnant, and only once unknowingly ate salad dressing with peanut butter in it while nursing.

She was skin tested at about one year and tested negative. She was recently skin-tested again and tested negative again. Then the allergist gave her peanut butter to eat and nothing happened. We waited until she was 5 to do this because I felt that it would be better to wait as long as possible to feed it to her. Then we got to the point where I wanted to know for sure because we didn't want to find out she was allergic the hard way, such as an accidental exposure at a play date.

We still don't have peanuts or peanut butter at our house, but I feel better having done the testing. Of course, being me, I'll always worry that she'll suddenly develop the allergy anyway.

On Feb 14, 2001

My oldest child (8) is airborne/casual contact, off the chart peanut allergic. Ate tons of p.b. while pregnant and nursing! Didn't with the others. I was also concerned about siblings as they have a 50% chance of having the same food allergies. I had the younger one tested (5) and she tested negative recently (RAST). However, she reacts to canteloupe (hives on face, swelling of lips). Has been diagnosised with oral allergy syndrome - which is where you react to foods that have a protein similiar to other allergen proteins. It is not considered a true allergy but indicative you have other allergies. I.e., if you react to eating cantaloupe you most likely react to ragweed (similar protein). Apples, bananas, watermelon can also cause o.a.s. all linked to ragweed. Doc. said it will be interesting to see as time goes by what other allergies develop. He thinks they might. Also had my 2 yr. old tested. They insisted on doing just a general Ige RAST count, not peanut specific, since he tested negative to all skin testing. He should have scored 4 - 6 range instead scored "21". Doc. said it is almost a sure thing that he will be developing allergies but we can possibly head them off by keeping him away from obvious allergens. Since most allergies develope by age 4 - 5, he told me to keep him nut-free, crusteous-free (no shrimp, clams, oysters, etc.), no strawberries, no cats, and even limit his egg and milk intake until the age of 6. He told me you are not born with food allergies. You are born with an inherited tendency to develop them. They develop over time with repeated exposure. If you can prevent the exposure at an early age, you are likely to prevent the allergy. Hope this info. helps.

P.S. I used to let the younger sibling eat p.b. candy at Halloween. Kicking myself now, of course. The youngest has had strict nut avoidance.

[This message has been edited by FromTheSouth (edited February 14, 2001).]

On Feb 15, 2001

I needed to know before my daughter goes to school this coming September whether she was PA or not so I could have the necessary precautions implemented should she be. Now, she ended up being tested at just over 3 years of age and from what I've read so far in this thread, perhaps I should have her re-tested at another date.

At any rate, she had a skin prick test. It was negative. Then, I really made it clear to the allergist how important this was for me to know and he did another test where he smeared what actually looked like peanut butter on her arm and pricked that. Still no reaction. So, he concluded that she was not PA.

I don't believe that she is PA. However, as long as she lives with her PA brother, she will not be ingesting any peanut/nut products. I like to think of this in a positive manner, in that when she moves away from home for whatever reason, in her late teens, early 20's, she can experience this whole new range of food products that she had been denied all of her life. Of course, she'll also probably sue me for the therapy money too, but..

No, I had wanted to know before she went to school and I think from the tests that he did, I feel fairly certain that she is not PA. And, of course, there's that little caveat in there anyway, that we're always hearing "but you can develop an allergy at any time in your life..."

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Feb 18, 2001

thanks for the replies so far! it really helped make a decision - the RAST came out negative but i am waiting to challenge him orally -because my allergist lay out the disclaimer that once we challenge him and if he comes out negative somehow i will have to keep giving him peanut butter on a regular basis so that he will avoid the allergy developing - somehow kids that only get into peanuts and nuts every few years are also prone to developing an allergy - has anyone else heard about this ? - its the exact opposite of how i deal with the allergy and my concept of child rearing so far - i'm not prepared to do that yet - they are so close in age and play that i don't want to polarize them thanks for the help