will you share your PA experience?

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 7:31pm
escturtle's picture
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Ever since a close friend of mine had a child diagnosed with peanut allergy, I've learned a lot about it. Now I'm writing an article about it (I work as a freelance writer, primarily health topics) and I'm looking for some personal experience stories from people with PA or parents of kids with the allergy (other than my one friend).
Hearing about your experiences will help me apply the scientific info I've accumulated into "real life" scenarios. If you don't mind answering a few questions (via email is fine- I won't tie up your phone lines!), I'd GREATLY appreciate it. Any questions that you'd like to answer would be great!!! I'll gladly share the finished article with you as well. Please respond to me: [email]deburack@gmail.com[/email]
My basic questions are:

How did you first discover that you or your child had peanut allergy?

Do allergies run in your family?

Do you (or does your child) feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?

Has better food labeling helped?

Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?

Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously?

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 8:30pm
KS mom's picture
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It is so great that you are trying to learn more about food allergies and share that info with others. I wish more people had this attitude. Here are my answers:
How did you first discover that you or your child had peanut allergy?
My dd had a leaning towards being an atopic child (showing signs of allergies and asthma since day 1). She had her first reaction to peanuts at age 2 when she climbed up the shelves in the fridge when I was in another room, grabbed some pb fudge that a friend had brought over and touched it to her lips. She didn't actually take a bite but she got enough into her that within 2 or 3 minutes she was lying on the floor, unconscious, not breathing. Thank goodness we had an epi pen because of our wise doc who anticipated some serious issues with allergies.
Do allergies run in your family?
I had severe asthma and enviromental allergies as a child. I still do but they are much milder. We don't have any food allergies in the family that I know of.
Do you (or does your child) feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?
I have asked my daughter this question and we have come to the conclusion that it has affected her life (actually the life of everyone in the family) but her father and I have worked hard to make sure it doesn't affect her *quality* of life. Yes, we've had to make some changes and adjustments and navigate through life with extra planning and caution but this is a burden that I try to bear alone and let my daughter be normal and carefree.
Has better food labeling helped?
Yes! I live in Canada and I find that the labelling is great. It is great to see more companies that are peanut free since the time my dd had her first reaction to peanuts over 10 years ago. My dd is truly addicted to Mars bars now!
Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?
She had the first reaction that I mentioned previously. She has also had a few other reactions but we have learned alot along the way.
Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously?
For the most part, yes. My father had difficulty understanding the severity in the beginning ("Oh, just one little peanut??) but after seeing a severe reaction he came around. For a long time, we had a no food policy when she was with her grandfather but now she is old enough to check labels and when grampy wants to but her a treat they know to stick to the Nestle favourites or Dare products, etc.

Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 8:48pm
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how did we discover the peanut allergy?
At 12 months, he didnt EAT the toast and peanut butter, just touched it.
Symptoms were mild/moderate, hives, and all exposed skin, flushing of skin, glazed eyes and listless.
Was already on antihistamine to control ezcema and improve sleep pattern.
However, according to his immunologist our son showed clear signs of food allergy before the age of three months.
As the months and years went by we discovered many more allergies, many life threatening, both food and environmental.
Allergies ,are in our family, although not food ( at the time when he had his first reaction.) My hubby has hay fever and asthma, and I have ezcema, and my extended family all have asthma.
ezcema has been in my family for three generations.
As the years have gone by, we have discoverd my uncles food allergies, to shell fish, and on my hubbys side of family his sister is allergic to wasps and bees, also neices and nephews have asthma and food intolerance.
Our quality of life?
I dont know were to start with that one!
Our son is now 11, when he was younger the years went by with us watching him in case other children put his allergen on him, watching well meaning but forgetfull adults offer him food.
Educating extended family took years to gain true understanding of the seriousness of his allergies. Grandparents understood intolerance, but had no understanding of classic food allergies.
Common were offerings of small amounts of food containing egg, to 'build up his immune system and accept it'
It took someones death in the national papers for them to get it, I printed it of and gave it to them , and told them that this man died of peanut allergy, pointed out that this was his ONLY food allergy, and that our boy had many , many more.
there have been occasions when our son was young that we avoided because we couldnt cope with it. Our son is 3 out of 4 children.BTW
I attended birthday parties for years, and juggling the other 3 childrens child care for this was difficult at times.
we found groups such as cub scouts difficult, and decided that it was hard enough to get the school safe and organised, let alone some batty old volunteer lady, who thought is was a whim, rather than a life threatening situation.
Now that our son is older things have changed, we have had the time to educate him, treding that tight rope of pressing the need to be safe, gain a comfort zone ,and live a life without fear of certain death!
The food labelling has helped with the added 'edcuation' on how food is manufactured which has given us an idea of how to move forward within our comfort zone. which is pretty tight these days.
However i must add at this point that we are from the uk and food labelling has greatly improved since our son was a baby.
twelve major allergens in europe have to be labelled. And the may contain label must only be used if there is a real risk of cross contamination.
Resturants remain a difficult path to take , and require a certain courage, to go forth in to kitchens and probe the chef!!
This is something that we as parent still find is our job, as the whole situation is diffcult for our 11 yr old boy. We are aware that this must change, and thats our aim at the moment.
We have had many reactions to food over the years, only two to peanut. When our son started school he had his first taste of peanut! This was a catalouge of mistakes by the school and we ended up in hospital. we still think that we were very lucky to have our son with us today.
Other reactions have produced differing symtoms, and we have had a big lecture from our allergy clinic that we should never leave things too long . We have taken note.
Our sons life and health has meant that family life has changed, we fought to gain medical support, and epi -pens, to keep him healthy as he is underweight, and when younger lacking in iron.
As a family he does look different, people comment on it, our other children are like us, hale , hearty, large healthy looking people with a tendancy to plumpness. However our allergic child has a whif of 'harry potter' about him, no scar or green eyes, but looks thin, pale as if i put him in the cupboard under the stairs.
For all his frail look, he is a touch lad, who has with regard to his allergies, a mature outlook. From a young age he has known that his allergies are life threatening. Hence his request when he had his big reaction to peanut, that he would rather die at home than at school or hospital.
He is happy when he can have control of his own food and has taken label reading as his own job. Currently we are now facing senior school and all the risks that a soon to be teenager will face.
So far we have been lucky, and we hope and plan that it stays that way.
curent allergies to date,
peanut
all beans
kiwi fruit
yeast extract
dog
cat
tree pollen
hay fever
has slowly grown out of egg and tree nut allergies. Peanut/bean considered life long.
sarah

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 2:50am
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How did you first discover that you or your child had peanut allergy?
My daughter was 7 months when we found out about her egg allergies, 13 months when we found out about her keflex, peanut, and milk allergies, and 2 years and 8 months when we found out about her rice allergy.
Do allergies run in your family?
Environmental yes we knew that - after she was diagnosed we did some checking and found a distant relative on each side that might have had a food allergy they outgrew.
Do you (or does your child) feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?
I feel my daughter food allergies greatly affects her and our quality of life, but we deal with a lot more then peanut allergies.
Has better food labeling helped?
The new labeling helps with the big eight, but with something not in the big eight (like rice) manufactures are terrible. For instance once customer service rep told me get your doctor to tell you what the manufacturer lists as rice and I will tell you if it is in there. So my allergist is supposed to know every possible chemical they could break every food into. FAAN is a great organization for the big eight too, but they don't help once you have an allergy to something else.
Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?
My daughter has not had a severe reaction.
Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously?
I think about 40 percent of people take it seriously. I think another 20 pretend to take it seriously because I take it so seriously. The other 40 percent just think I am a paranoid crazy person.
Cindy

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 2:52am
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How did you first discover that you or your child had peanut allergy?
Me: It took me a while to figure out that what I was experiencing was an allergic reaction to peanuts. I was reacting so many hours after eating peanuts or peanutbutter. Eventually the reactions happened closer to my eating peanuts or peanutbutter and have also started to get worse. My reaction is not the usual reaction that other people experience. No one would notice if I had a reaction.
My son: Someone ate peanuts and touched his face and he broke out in huge hives where he was touched. We had him tested and he tested positive. My son is severely allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and seeds (sesame, poppy & sunflower); light allergy to legumes.
Do allergies run in your family?
Yes mostly seasonal. My father is allergic to a type of fish and my uncle is allergic to peanuts though not severe.
Do you (or does your child) feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?
It is a change of life style. You can never be too careful. You can't be carefree. You cannot step outside without bringing wipes and epi-pens. Everything you do outside of your house you have to think about the safety of the situation. If my son meets a new friend and they want to invite us over, I'm thinking about how safe is my son at their home. Movie theaters, museums, parks, swimming pools, school. We go out but try to wipe our hands and make sure my son doesn't touch his face. You lose some freedom. You always have to pack safe snacks. I was upset because I had to get rid of my bottle of water at a concert. I have to buy their water. What if they touch nuts and then touch the bottle that I want to purchase. I have to worry about things that I never had to worry about before having peanut allergy. You don't have many friends around because you can only be with people you trust will be careful around you or your child. It's a lot more work. I make my own icecream, my own pizza (there are only 2 pizzarias my son can eat at safely), and I make my own bread. I have to prepare more for school. I don't feel comfortable having my son at school parties without me being there because mistakes happen all the time, I know from experience. When my son is in school I don't want to be too far away from the school. I appreciate life more and I appreciate my son more because I think about what can happen to him if he has another reaction. I feel like I have aged a lot from the worries and experiences that come with having a child with life threatening food allergies. I have the responsibility to teach my son how to be careful so that one day he can make the right decisions. I had a few chances to learn from my mistakes in the 10 years I've been dealing with my peanut allergy, but my son may not get a second chance if he makes a mistake since his allergies are severe.
Has better food labeling helped?
Better food labeling helps but unfortunately not all companies label correctly.
Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?
My son ingested traces of peanutbutter sitting in a chair that someone else had sat in previously that ate peanutbutter. My son did not eat any food. He must have touched the chair and then touched his mouth or eyes. He had severe hives from head to toe (it looked like hives on top of hives and they were spreading fast) and his lips swelled. Had we been sure this was an ingestion we would have given him the epi-pen. This was his first ingestion from traces. I had to overdose him on Benadryl and watch him to make sure he didn't stop breathing because he fell asleep. I was in touch with the doctor the whole time. This reaction was caused by a trace of peanutbutter we cannot see with our eyes. I can't imagine what kind of a reaction he would have if he ingested 1/4 of a peanut. He was 2 years old then.
Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously?
Some people are very understanding but some are not. I find that the allergy is easy to avoid but the people who don't understand make living with a life threatening food allergy harder. I don't mind if they don't understand as long as they respect our rules about what my son can and cannot eat. I do mind if they want my son to eat something that is not safe because they think his allergy is not serious or they don't understand how easily cross contamination can happen. In my experience it took a while for some close family members to understand it but the more educated people are about life threatening food allergies the more they understand. Adding that sometimes during holidays I will find chocolates with peanutbutter fillings or chocolate candy with almonds in my son's goodie bags. Imagine how you would feel knowing you have to trust a 4 to 6 year old not to touch or eat the candy before they show you. My son is not allowed to touch anything in his bag before showing me. Children have died this way. We need more educating on food allergies and I do believe that in the future there will be more education and understanding because of the increase in severe food allergies.
Edited to add more info.
[This message has been edited by momll70 (edited July 24, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 4:28am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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I've taken the liberty of numbering your questions for ease in answering...
Quote:
{1.} How did you first discover that you or your child had peanut allergy?
{2.} Do allergies run in your family?
{3.} Do you (or does your child) feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?
{4.} Has better food labeling helped?
{5.} Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?
{6.} Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously?
1. We discovered that our daughter had a peanut allergy when she was 11 months old. The hard way. She ate about 100 mg of peanut butter-- her first known exposure-- and within 5 minutes she was fighting for her life, swollen, terrified, covered with hives and screaming as I have [i]never[/i] heard ANY other infant cry. Ever.
Less than two weeks later, she broke out in hives from head to toe after a few bites of a pancake. [i]That[/i] was how we found out she had an egg allergy. Blood testing confirmed that-- and held some other nasty surprises. She was also allergic to dairy (which we knew about) to soy (no big surprise either) and to wheat. (WHAT???? You have [i]got[/i] to be kidding....) But no-- my child, who had been at the best of times an 'alert watcher' most of her life [i]learned to WALK within two weeks of removing them from her diet.[/i] She no longer 'spit up' after every meal. She finally had roses in her cheeks and began gaining weight. (She had weighed less than 18 lbs at 1 yo.)
2. Yes. Emphatically so. [i]Nobody[/i] in either family is unscathed from the wicked trio of asthma, eczema and allergies. About half have life-threatening conditions such as asthma or anaphylaxis risk. DH and I both have allergies ourselves that warrant epinephrine. Our daughter's case is [i]very clearly genetic.[/i] We expected some kind of atopic condition, honestly-- but never dreamed it could be so severe and life-altering, even from [i]our[/i] relatively educated perspective.
3. My daughter would [i]love[/i] to be able to go to school, try exciting, interesting food at restaurants, and to travel more extensively. She would be a [i]great[/i] world traveller and a total foodie with her personality and interests.
Her food allergies have robbed us (the entire family) of friendships, of carefree time with family, and of beloved hobbies/sporting events. The cost also includes the total transfiguration of her dad's career and mine-- which is no small thing when you consider that both of us have terminal degrees. The cost is almost immeasurable-- the only way to live with it is to paste a smile on your face and think about what you [i]haven't[/i] given up. Focus on what you have [i]gained[/i] that you wouldn't have ever slowed down for... making food for yourself, just [i]treasuring[/i] the little, 'normal' things with your child. You recognize that we are all mortal and that each day with your child is a gift, not a foregone conclusion. All in all, then, it isn't a bad trade. [i]As an adult. [/i]
My daughter has a mental toughness about this that is almost inconceivable-- but she's similar to many of the other kids with life threatening conditions in that respect. They intuitively seem capable of simply accepting what they cannot change and moving past it with a great deal of grace. This in itself is both a point of pride and also a bit heartrending as a parent. A bit of her innocence has been taken from her by the knowledge that [i]most[/i] people won't bother to understand or be trustworthy w/r to food, even if they [i]know[/i] that her life is at stake. People aren't mean-- just incredibly self-absorbed and lazy. What a harsh thing to wrap your mind around as a preschooler.
4. As in labeling laws like FALCPA? No, not really, at least in our case. My daughter is too sensitive. She doesn't need to eat something that contains intentionally-added allergens. Heck-- she doesn't need to 'eat' anything to have a severe reaction. What my child [i]needs[/i] is advisory labeling that means something. Labels like General Mills and Keebler use voluntarily, that allow us to know whether or not a food has shared production space with an allergen. Because for [i]her[/i] that [i]is[/i] frequently enough, no matter how thoroughly 'washed' the machinery is. She is, in other words, more sensitive to peanut protein than some of the best detection methods available. She is certainly more sensitive than 95% of people [i]with a peanut allergy.[/i] I wish that food manufacturers understood that people like her [i]really do exist.[/i] It isn't 'in her head.'
5. Yes, on several occasions, though the only time she has [i]knowingly[/i] ingested a product containing either eggs or peanuts was the first known exposure to both, back when she was a toddler. In other words, these were all products that were accidentally cross-contaminated during manufacturing (or handling, in restaurants). We have an emergency room trip that was [i]never[/i] explained, though she nearly died from shock and we were keeping a thorough food log at the time. She has had severe reactions from skin contact and aerosol exposures to both egg and to peanut.
6. Hmmmm. Well, what a tough question. Awareness is [i]so[/i] much better than it used to be. People generally [i]think[/i] they take it 'seriously' and I suppose that they [i]do[/i] take it more seriously than they used to.
But with that comes a 'false knowledge' sometimes... so sometimes people I meet will "just KNOW that they have to actually EAT the food to have a problem." If that makes sense. I would say that [i]MIS[/i]-education is a bigger problem than oblivion. That and the hordes of people who claim that they or their children have (airquotes) [i]""severe allergies to ________""[/i] when in truth they mean no such thing. What they mean is that they have observed that sugar (or whatever it is) leads to negative behaviors when consumed in fairly large quantities. Or that they simply don't like it, whatever 'it' is, or maybe even that they have an intolerance for the food.
But when people throw the term 'food allergy' around, it really makes life hard for people whose lives are at risk. It becomes a running joke of sorts for waitstaff, schools, camps, and other parents. But it is NO JOKE to us.
ETA: Finally, though you did not ask, I find that the hardest single thing about my daughter's food allergies is the isolation that they spawn. There is terrible pain for me as a person to know that 99% of the people I deal with [i]will never know that I am perfectly rational and logical, even skeptical and conservative. Evidence-driven, even.[/i] They all think that I am either 'totally overprotective to the point of psychosis but probably harmless' or "eccentric," depending on how much they like me. Even my friends and family. It angers and wounds me deeply to have to acknowledge that there is no way to change this impression of me. I am routinely dismissed as a 'typically emotional, neurotic woman.' All my life, my personality and self-identity have branded me as an unrepentent realist, if a diplomatic one-- courageously pragmatic, thick-skinned. "One of the guys," always, both professionally and socially. Now I'm a 'mildly hysterical girl' instead. Great-- I have zero skills in handling that perception of me on the part of other people, and it thoroughly alienates from people I fundamentally have most in common with. After almost 8 years, I am still stunned by this turn of events-- I don't know HOW to move past it, so I prefer to be alone rather than pretend to be someone I'm not.
Feel free to quote as you like or to contact me via my e-mail if you'd like additional information for quotation. I don't reveal my name on a public message board. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited July 24, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 8:31am
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To echo the others, THANK YOU for wanting to learn more about PA.
1. We were very ignorant about our dtr being allergic to PA at first. She had two very serious reactions around the age of 2, both involved vomiting to the point that I would call it violent. It lasted for hours and hours and we did not know enough at the time to recognize this as a food allergy reaction(it is actually the body's way of dealing with a restricted airway). It was only at her first allergist visit at age 3 that we asked to have her tested for PA. In both of the vomiting cases, she had eaten peanuts in chex mix and we wondered if there was a connection. She was diagnosed with severe peanut allergy at that time.
2. My husband and myself have environmental allergies, my nephew has a PA that is not severe, my father has a severe beesting allergy and environmental allergies, and my brother has severe asthma. Our other dtr only has mild environmental allergies. My PA dtr has many environmental allergies and a less severe scallops and crab allergy as well as walnuts.
3. Our quality of life has changed dramatically for the worse since this diagnosis. I have an older child w/o any serious allergies. We spent several years living such a "free" life - going to whatever restaurants we wanted, peaceful drop-offs at school, fun playdates, etc. When my younger dtr was diagnosed, our entire lifestyle changed. The battle with the schools has been a complete and total nightmare. I have not yet ruled out the option of homeschooling (she is only 5). Playdates at other children's homes do not occur because no one feels safe enough to have her visit and they don't want to learn how to use an epi-pen. There is only one restaurant in our area that we feel we can safely visit. Eating at other people's homes as guests is highly stressful and very awkward. PA is isolating, terrifying, and in our case, lifelong. We have been told that our dtr will not outgrow this allergy and as a result, we must focus our efforts on education and diligence when it comes to avoiding life threatening food allergens.
5. The food labeling has helped me tremendously and I avoid all products that have even the slightest of warnings ("may contains".
6. Since her diagnosis, she has had one reaction last summer, where I ignorantly trusted a young teenager about the type of cookie she was serving at a birthday party. It was a peanut butter cookie and my dtr reacted very strongly and we took her to the ER where she was given an epi-pen. The ER was literally two minutes from the party, although I had my epi-pen on me and should have given it to her myself. I learned so much from this incident. The most important thing I learned is to NEVER have her eat anything unless I can read the ingredients!
6. I find that the biggest challenge is to overcome the precedants that have been set by other PA families. For example, if teachers are used to dealing with families who are comfortable with "may contains" or with their child eating baked goods from other individual homes, then I am seen as "neurotic" and "unnecessarily cautious" if I don't want my dtr to eat them. It also causes teachers to be way too lenient with checking labels for my dtr, since previous PA families were not as strict as I am. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to PA and how they cope within their own family. I find that only about 30 to 40 percent of people understand the severity of PA (and other food allergies).
I would love to read what you end up writing!!!!
Lisa in Mass.

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 10:26am
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[b]ETA: Finally, though you did not ask, I find that the hardest single thing about my daughter's food allergies is the isolation that they spawn. There is terrible pain for me as a person to know that 99% of the people I deal with will never know that I am perfectly rational and logical, even skeptical and conservative. Evidence-driven, even. They all think that I am either 'totally overprotective to the point of psychosis but probably harmless' or "eccentric," depending on how much they like me. Even my friends and family. It angers and wounds me deeply to have to acknowledge that there is no way to change this impression of me. I am routinely dismissed as a 'typically emotional, neurotic woman.' All my life, my personality and self-identity have branded me as an unrepentent realist, if a diplomatic one-- courageously pragmatic, thick-skinned. "One of the guys," always, both professionally and socially. Now I'm a 'mildly hysterical girl' instead. Great-- I have zero skills in handling that perception of me on the part of other people, and it thoroughly alienates from people I fundamentally have most in common with. After almost 8 years, I am still stunned by this turn of events-- I don't know HOW to move past it, so I prefer to be alone rather than pretend to be someone I'm not.[/b]
I have voluntarily gone into seclusion from the boards as of late. Came by to lurk. Of all the things that shouldn't be passed over is the true price we pay as people for what we must do to protect our children.
My life right now is breaking me. What we have to go through with these food allergies when it comes to people is so incredibly crushing.
Corvallis Mom, you are eloquent as always. You have spoken a truth that I know as well. And I am sure we are not alone in that sentiment on these boards, it is just too bad we can't find people in our real lives that share it as well.
Thank you.

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 10:32am
Going Nuts's picture
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Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to educate yourself and others about PA!
[b]How did you first discover that you or your child had peanut allergy?[/b]
My son was 15 months old, and I was eating a peanut butter sandwich. I had been keeping him away from PB, because we already knew he had several allergies and was high risk. He grabbed it away from me, put it up to his face and a huge red ring appeared around his mouth, even though he didn't take a bite. I grabbed it away, and the rest is history.
[b]Do allergies run in your family?[/b]
Lots of seasonal allergies and asthma. My elder son had numerous food allergies as a child, but outgrew them all by age 2.
[b]Do you (or does your child) feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?[/b]
Yes and no. He does pretty much what any other kids does - plays sports, goes to baseball games, etc. The only off-limits activities are going to certain types of restaurants and the circus (which he couldn't care less about). However, even though we do anything any other family does, it's never spur of the moment. It always requires planning - phone calls, bringing our own food, etc. And I don't know about my son, but for me there's always a certain level of anxiety that doesn't go away.
[b]Has better food labeling helped?[/b]
Yes. When my son was little (he's now 13) labeling was so poor, he frequently had "mystery" reactions - we could never figure out what caused them. That is a thing of the past. However, labeling is still inconsistent, so we still have a ways to go.
[b]Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?[/b]
My son has never actually ingested peanut. All his reactions have been to smell and touch. He has accidentally ingested tree nuts, and has had reactions ranging from hives to wheezing.
[b]Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously? [/b]
Some yes, some no. There's certainly more awareness now than when he was little. Most people then looked at me like I had three heads when I spoke of his allergies. Now most people have heard of it at least, but not everyone quite believes it - or cares. And many of them certainly don't want to be inconvenienced themselves because of it.
I hope that was helpful,
Amy

Posted on: Tue, 07/24/2007 - 4:37pm
escturtle's picture
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To all of you who took the time and effort to share your thoughts and experiences with me-
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
I am planning to include an accompanying section to my article, which focuses on the ways in which you all feel that peanut allergy has effected your lives, emotionally and practically. I plan to come back here and post that supplement on this site.
I share all of your hopes that an effective means of prevention and better means of dealing with peanut allergy will be developed in the near future. It seems to me that much of the research is headed towards a *cure* of sorts.
All the best,
Debbie

Posted on: Wed, 07/25/2007 - 12:21am
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First, let me say that I am 32 years old and have anaphylaxis to peanuts and all tree nuts, plus soy bean. The soy bean started as a mild reaction and turned into anaphylaxis as an adult. I am also allergic to wheat, rice, raw vegetables, and melons
How did you first discover that you had peanut allergy?
When I first started to eat table food my mother gave me peanut butter, and I broke out in hives.
Do allergies run in your family?
My mother is allergic to many airborne allergens (as am I) but few food allergies
Do you feel it has greatly affected his or her quality of life?
No, not really. Does a blind person miss a sunset, or a deaf person miss music? No, they just have different experiences. The blind feel the warmth dissipating and the deaf feel the vibrations, I have a triple chocolate cake, instead of a German chocolate cake. I grew up eating bologna sandwiches instead of peanut butter sandwiches. Not much difference as far as I am concerned
Has better food labeling helped?
In the beginning it did. I would have small reactions to things and parents would not believe me because there was nothing in the ingredients that I was allergic to. Then companies started putting that it may contain nuts, people started to believe me again. Then it went to may contain, then processed in a facility that processes nuts, then (I am serious) "this product was shipped with product that may or may not of contained nuts"
So I went to trial and error on what I could eat, to trusting the labels, back to trial and error.
Has she ever had a severe reaction to accidental ingestion of peanuts? What happenned?
But of course...many times. The last severe reaction I had was on a date about 4 years ago. The gentleman took me to a comedy club for dinner and a show. We were starting to eat our salads when the second bite that I took had a nut in it. My mouth immediately flamed up (inflammation) and my throat turned hard as a rock. I immediately took 2 benadryls fast melts, went to the restroom got sick, then took 4 more fastmelts. Normally after regurgitating the nut and taking benadryls things start to relax but not this time. The reaction was not stopping. I told my date that we had to leave. We get to the car and I take 2 more fastmelts, and asked to go to the store to get some water. He gets me my water, I take a drink and immediately get sick again. He wanted to take me to the hospital but I told him to take me to my parents house to because I didn't remember my reactions being this bad and I wanted a second opinion by someone with experience (people with nut allergies can sometimes make it worse by reacting to the situation, even though the nut reaction is over, It can happen when you think your about to die). I get to my parents house, step in the front door, and I hear my mom coming down the hallway (turns out she could hear me trying to breathe from her bedroom). By this point the swelling was so bad I couldn't talk and was turning colors. My mom kicked my dad (who was sleeping on the floor in front of the TV) and they all rushed me to the emergency room. Some date huh?
Do you find that most people you come in contact with take peanut allergy seriously?
Growing up, no, people thought I was a hypochondriac that was picky about what I ate. No one considered cross contamination at the time. Now there is more news and information about these type of allergies and people believe it more, but they truly do not understand the seriousness of it until they observe an actual reaction. After that they become a nuisance to the afflicted one telling them what they shouldn't eat. Hey, I have been living with this for 32 years, I think I can make a wise decision on what I eat, but I appreciate the concern.
If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them.
DeAnne

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