Brand new to to PA and quite honestly...scared!

Posted on: Sat, 01/30/2010 - 1:24pm
arbonnemama's picture
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Joined: 01/30/2010 - 20:01

Hello! This is a wonderful site that I have been spending the wee hours on since my son was dx with PA and cashew allergy last week. We did the prick test and he was a "4". After 3 days the rash on his back is finally gone, so I assume he is pretty severe. He has never wanted PB and the only 2 times he has had it (once Reeses and vomitted and once touched PBJ then his face and broke in hives) were not good...by the way he is only 3. I am just looking for any guidance, words of wisdom, etc. For example, do we throw away anything that says "made in a plant..." or "packaged on equipment..."? Up until last week, he has eaten M&Ms out of a bag of trail mix that has peanuts and cashew with no reaction, and my husband eats PB all the time. We will do anything it takes to make him safe, and just wondering what is the right thing to do. Thank you in advance!

Posted on: Mon, 02/01/2010 - 1:44am
BestAllergySites's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2009 - 21:46

Heather--
I know--it's confusing, frightening, overwhelming and many other things all at once. Let me just first say that you will get use to it and it will get easier.
Regarding allergens in the house. That is completely up to you. Some people keep them in the house and some do not.
We personally do not because I worry that my boys will go into the pantry and eat something they are not supposed to or that my husband will accidentally give something he shouldn't. My son is allergic from touching allergens and then touching his eyes--so I also worry that he could come into contact that way on surfaces too.
It's really a judgment call based on your comfort level and how you live.
We also do not eat may contains or processed in warning label items (M&Ms included). The reason being is that these types of items were testedin a survey and something like up to 7-10% contained actual allergens like peanut protein even though it was not listed in the ingredients.
There are substitutes for all foods. We get chocolate skippers (M&M replacement) at vermont nut free.
My website Best Allergy Sites was created specifically for people wanting to find safe foods. It's a free directory of companies that make and sell allergen free items.
Again, it's a choice you have to make yourself. Either way--just always keep your EpiPen handy!
Any other questions--feel free to ask.
Ruth

Posted on: Mon, 02/01/2010 - 2:30am
jenniferbfab's picture
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Joined: 05/04/2008 - 12:43

Hello Arbonnemama,
Your decision on whether to have foods with warnings like "made in a plant..." or "packaged on equipment..." as you describe is probably going to be a combination of your comfort level and the advice of your allergist.
Some families are comfortable letting non-allergic family members enjoy such foods while others take a more conservative approach.
I can tell you that our allergist advised me not to feed my allergic son anything made in a facility handling peanuts or tree nuts, even if those are not ingredients in the particular food he's to eat. This is to avoid--to the fullest extent possible--any chance of cross-contamination.
I'll try to save you some time by sharing some of my favorite peanut and nut allergy places to go online.
www.peanutallergy.com is a great place to find tips on safe foods and foods to avoid.
www.foodallergysupport.org Another discussion board with similar, excellent tips.
Those two sites are great because they are interactive--you can pick other PA families' brains!
There are also a few superb blogs focusing on nut allergy and peanut allergy:
www.nut-freemom.blogspot.com/
www.peanutallergykid.com/
www.peanutfree.blogspot.com/
There are so many wonderful sites, but I would recommend starting with these and then checking out their links. Of course, first stop for most people is foodallergy.org (FAAN), always a great source of basic food allergy info.
Best wishes,
Jennifer B

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