Christine Norman

Posted on: Tue, 03/02/1999 - 4:29am
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Evan
Age 4

My son Evan is allergic to peanuts. We found out when he was about 8 months old. He was at the daycare center when they fed him a bit of bread with some peanut butter and jelly on it. Within minutes his face broke out in hives and his eyes became red and swollen. By the time I picked him up a few hours later all traces of the reaction were gone and I never saw it personally. I called my pediatrician's office and got a nurse who told me that it was "no big deal" and that he would probably outgrow it. During my son's 9 month old check up I mentioned it to the doctor who suggested I go to an allergist for testing. It was then confirmed on a skin prick test (4+) and we also got an egg allergy discovered.

Since then, I have had good luck avoiding peanuts even though we do take minimal risks with food (I use Breyer's ice cream at times). Since he also has an egg allergy, we already avoid any baked goods which cuts down on his exposures. He has had one "accidental" exposure since the first and, again, it occurred at his daycare center. Fortunately, nothing happened!

I'd love to be a stay at home mom and watch over him but I cannot, so this allergy is a real challenge, but I guess I will be pretty prepared by the time he enters elementary school!!

My biggest concerns these days are allowing my son to have a normal existance and worrying about cross-contamination at the same time. I am lucky that he has a good appetite and want to eat well, so I try not to make him too uptight by harping on his allergies but it is certainly difficult.

I have one other child, age 7, who has no allergies whatsoever, and is the pickiest eater that you can imagine. She won't eat peanut butter--and she can!! Oh, there's no justice in the world.
Christine

Posted on: Sun, 03/14/1999 - 3:29pm
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Joined: 03/09/1999 - 09:00

Christine,
It's okay for us to post to your message, right? Sometimes I long for someone else to talk to about this allergy, but have a hard time posting to all the boards! We just found out last month that our 10 month old son is allergic to peanuts. (hives on his neck after Dad had kissed him there after Dad had peanut butter toast)So far we haven't had any scary experiences, and I dread the day it might happen. I am currently on leave from my job as a teacher (extended after maternity leave) so am currently a "stay at home mom" and I wish you could be, too - I wish I could be one for a long time, especially now, and you know why. I'm very afraid of putting my son in anyone else's care now, and my current worry is the playground in a few months. How have you handled this? Thanks for introducing yourself!

Posted on: Mon, 03/15/1999 - 7:21am
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Joined: 02/17/1999 - 09:00

Hi, it is good to be able to introduce ourselves here. I just wanted to note that I use Breyer's ice cream too. I emailed the U.S. arm of the company last year and they had the Canadian plant manager send me a letter outlining how ice cream is manufactured in their plants. Nut ice creams are run on different days than nut products and the line is completely dismantled and cleaned after nut product lines are run. I am in Hamilton, Ontario so if you are elsewhere in the country you should get information from the plant that serves you. Also, my information is almost a year old and I try to update my data at least once per year. Hope this information is useful.

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/1999 - 11:21pm
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Carolyn,
Coming to trust the daycare provider has been the hardest part. At first I didn't at all, but with education, I now feel comfortable. I think what worked best was that I printed a lot of information off the internet that was in a easily understandable format. I gave all of this to the director and she then discussed it with my son's individual teachers. I also pass along food alerts to her that I receive from FAN. Not that they serve any of these particular foods at the center, but it helps to show the staff how EASY it is for items to become cross contaminated. Cross contamination is the biggest threat and the one that seems to be so hard for the general public to understand. I don't know exactly why I feel so comfortable now with his situation. I know that mistakes can still happen. Maybe I have just learned to live with it now. I think, also, that when ANY change needs to be made it is particularly stressful at first. I know that I am already worried about my son starting Kindergarten (year 2000). You would think I would be okay with it, since he is already being cared for outside my home, but it really isn't any easier. I think I would be worse if I had never had him outside the home at all. Baby steps, you know?? That's the key. Because my son has been in daycare, he KNOWS that he is different from the other kids and knows that every food must be questioned. At least that is one thing he will be good at when he goes to the "big school."
Christine

Posted on: Thu, 03/18/1999 - 12:51pm
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Joined: 03/09/1999 - 09:00

Thanks, Christine. I know we can only take things one day at a time, but it really helps to hear from people like you how you've handled (or try to handle!) the events we'll face too soon. You're fortunate in your situation, and I'm glad of that. As a teacher of students with special needs, I never really thought my own child would have "special needs" that would warrant such great care etc., but at least I can see things from a teacher's perspective and maybe catch problems before they arise. Maybe I'll even be able to teach in his school, although I had never wanted to do that, either. (funny how minds change) Thanks again.

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