Anxiety at lunch time... need advice!

Posted on: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 5:48am
AnnieM's picture
Joined: 06/16/2004 - 09:00

My PA/TN ds is in 1st grade and eats at a nut free table in the cafeteria. There are twin boys that also have allergies that sit with him and he is allowed to invite a few friends to eat with him as well. Up until a few weeks ago everything was fine and then suddenly he started to complain that his stomach hurt during lunch, but felt better once he left the cafeteria and went out for recess. He doesn't eat much (just picks at his food really), alot more talking and having fun! Anyhow, last night he told me that he can smell the peanut butter from the 2nd grade table behind him and that there are alot of kids at his table. He is not airborne allergic so I explained to him that just because it is there doesn't mean he will have a reaction and as long as he is not sharing food it will be ok. My heart aches that he has to worry about this all the time. Has anyone had a similar experience? I could really use some advice or encouragement and thanks in advance!!


Posted on: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 10:58am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

This sounds like our school actually. I left the lunchroom one day to run to the office and came back, the smell of peanut butter literally slapped me in the face, I never noticed it before! Luckily, so far my son hasn't said anything about it. But I am paying more attention. To be honest, when he first started eating there he complained of tummy aches a few times at lunch, but they have since gone away.
One thing that did also help, they moved out cold lunch further away from the *free* tables. I am the one with the school that divided the cold lunch to 4 tables at the north end of the lunchroom, then the hot lunch has 4 tables in the middle(I consider a buffer zone) and then the *free* tables are on the south end. The smell wasn't so noticable and it also stopped *visitors* from roaming over with sandwich in hand!! The only other option is a ban most here would support...but this set up has worked great for us, really. Try talking with your son and see if he has any ideas he thinks would work(I believe in letting them think up ideas as well, it is *their* allergy) and maybe the two of you can come up with an idea to try...then if needed, approach your principal.
Not sure if I asnwered you, or even helped...but good luck!
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 5:02am
sacena's picture
Joined: 07/31/2006 - 09:00

Hopefully the school nurse will be able to help.
My son has severe anxiety. He had 5 anaphylactic reactions in one month in school!! I may have lost count. It may have even been 6! We were blaming peanut butter residue at first, but now we are thinking he is allergic to chemicals in the school. He is out of school being tutored until we figure out what the problem is.
But anyway, the school nurse has been wonderful dealing with his anxiety. She has made as many changes as possible to help my son out.
Try talking to the nurse. She might have some ideas. Good luck. Try to take care of the anxiety as soon as possible.

Posted on: Mon, 02/12/2007 - 7:23am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

Poor kid! It so hard to get to the bottom of this kind of thing. He complained about "too many kids" - is it possible that some of the kids at the table are giving him a hard time? Could you sit in on lunch for a while and see the dynamics?
If it is the smell of peanut butter, and he can't get used to it, then would one option is to see if he could take a couple of friends and eat somewhere else? It doesn't really matter if he is airborne or not if the smell is preventing him from eating his lunch. I wouldn't do that in my son's case because he would hate it, but it's possible that it could be seen as a special treat/privilege.
Good luck, and let us know what happens!

Posted on: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 5:37am
AnnieM's picture
Joined: 06/16/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for the advice. After talking some more about the issue he finally asked "What does a deadly allergy mean and do I have one?" This is what started the anxiety and all the worry about the kids at the table and the smell of peanut butter. We had never really discussed the fact that his allergy could be deadly (felt he was too young) so now we have explained to him that it is life threatening but we are doing everything we can to keep him safe. We also tried to help him understand that at his age it is not his sole responsibility to worry about these things. We have a 504 in place and all the adults around him in school have been trained and know what to look for and what to do. This seemed to make him feel better, but he has been sick and missed school so we won't know until later this week if this has helped any.
Thanks again!

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