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Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, PeanutAllergy.com is answering one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

Hi there! First of all, it’s great you are reaching out to get advice from the peanut allergy community. It can be extremely overwhelming at first when your child is diagnosed.

Labeling and setting everything aside that may contain peanuts is a good idea. You never know where peanut products may show up, and you don’t want to risk accidentally contaminating safe food. Additionally, be advised that many non-food items can contain peanut. This article has more information.

A medical bracelet is another good idea. Here is some helpful information on medical ID jewelry.

It is advisable, for the time being, that your son avoid any products with peanuts in them because he is so young. Some peanut allergy sufferers are also allergic to tree nuts, so be careful if and when you give him any foods that have or may contain almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc. You may want to have him tested for this allergy beforehand if you haven’t already.

Definitely consider making your home peanut-free as that is the only way to ensure your son is safe there. Also, be aware that if your older son is eating foods with peanuts he could have residue left on his fingers, face and/or clothing. Make sure he washes up before interacting with your younger son.

We asked our Facebook fans for their suggestions, and you can read their responses here.

Hi!

My oldest was diagnosed at 13 months. It was Halloween and he grabbed a Butterfinger bar and started to eat it. Before I could grab it, I said something like: oh well, lets see if he has a peanut allergy...haha...since no one did. Well, he broke out in a rash, so I got my answer to that one.

Similar to you, just a rash when he ate peanut products. We kept the peanut butter and other nuts away from him, but kept eating things like candy and such at the office, etc. We thought we were doing ok by washing our hands, etc. I had a mom at work go on and on about how even sharing a toothbrush could cause him to go anaphylactic. Ok, I would say...thinking, whatever, he just gets a little rash. However, I did educate my son constantly about peanut butter--what it looks like, dont touch it, etc. My mom actually scolded me b/c she thought I would scare him, but I felt he needed to be educated. If a little fear came with it, hes better off...

Then, after turning 3, we went to see Santa at the mall. At the last minute, I turned to my husband and said: grab the diaper bag, we may be there for awhile. We had our second son, only a little over 1 year, with us and anticipated long lines b/c of Christmas. The Epi-Pen just happened to be in the bag, but we took the bag for diapers, not the Pen specifically.

We stopped at the candy store and it was so busy, I was just trying not to lose my son and get out of the store. We purchased a candy ladybug that we had purchased before...only I forgot it was a peanut butter chocolate bug. My son bit into and came up to me and said: Mommy, this has peanut butter in it!

I almost died right there. How did he know? How did he remember? Should we use the Pen? My husband told me we werent going to freak, b/c I did, and things would be fine. Within seconds he was grabbing at his throat, turning colors, etc. I gave him a sip of a lemonade b/c it had ice in it--a long time ago I had a reaction and a friend gave me an ice cube (I was an adult) to suck on til the paramedics got there to slow the swelling--not sure if it would work, but tried it anyway trying not to panic.

I went to go find a store to give him Benedryl, but by the time I had taken a few steps he was vomiting foam. My husband froze, my little guy was in the stroller waving my credit card I had used at the candy store, and people were walking in slow motion. I had to force myself to calm down and use the Epi-Pen and then call 911.

His reaction came back in the ambulance. He survived, but I will never, NEVER, NEVER take his allergy for granted again. On one hand, I am glad it happened the way it did b/c now I know. On the other hand, I will never forgive myself for almost killing my child.

So, now Im the parent telling people to take it seriously. I am the parent that gets the--its just a rash--speech. Its up to them whether or not they listen. But, at least I have shared my story and hope someone will take it seriously somewhere down the road.

It is manageable. It is going to be ok. It does take time to learn and research. The research never stops. You will be the empowered mom who takes on the school district and family and friends and strangers to help your little one. You can do this.

Good luck. I hope the best for you all--and hopefully it always stays just a little rash! I sure wish my sons had.

BTW, we do a team approach that if one cant have it, none can. We do it to keep each other safe, educate each other, and a one for all, all for one type approach. We want to be supportive and safe, and thats what we decided. They are almost 9 and almost 7 now, and agree with that decision. Most people I know dont do this. But, we decided that we can find safe alternatives for everyone to enjoy. As a team, we are supportive of each other regardless of a little sacrifice. Besides, none of us would ever want something to happen to the other one.

Hi, I cant offer too much advice as my son was just diagnosed at 13 months and Im still a little in shock as no one on either side of our family has ever had a food allergy. We tried giving him peanut butter for the first time 2 weeks ago and he immediately broke out in a rash and hives and vomited everything up. We took him to the ER to be safe and thankfully he is fine. We have an appointment to meet with a pediatric allergist to get him tested to see how severe his allergy is and if he is allergic to anything else. As of right now I did decide to get ride of all peanut butter and nuts in our household until we have more information. He is my only child so I didnt have to explain to an older one why we no longer have it in the house. Ive read alot of commentary on this site and its nice to see all of the support and advice people in the same situations give. I know this is going to impact our lives in some ways, but I hope to be able to navigate it and keep my son safe with as much information as I can gather to know what to do and what not to. I can say this, its a good idea to see an allergist and to get Benadryl and EPI pens to have on hand at all times to ensure your child is as safe and protected as can be in case he accidently comes in contact with it again.

My son was Dx when he was 18 months, he is now 11. We have 6 children, so I was hoping we could still keep peanuts in the house, but weve had WAY too many close calls and within a few months of Dx we went 100% peanut free in our house. There is nothing so nutritionally amazing about a peanut that it is necessary for our diets. Protein can be found in many, many other things in this country. Our close calls were: peanuts in hamster food (we didnt know it!), peanuts which were not highlighted on the side of a box of a food with LOTS of ingredients, peanut butter residue on a table at co-op. JUST NOT WORTH HAVING IT IN THE HOUSE. OUR HOUSE IS THE ONE SAFE PLACE FOR HIM. If my kids want peanuts, they eat it at someone elses house and they also have to brush their teeth and wash their hands before they come in our door.

I chose to go peanut free. I felt it was more important for my daughter to be able to eat anything I have in the house. I know she cant eat everything everywhere, but I dont want her feeling excluded at home. It also saves me (or her family members, babysitter, etc.) from giving something to her accidently which is cross contaminated. There are safe foods available. I love Sunbutter and use it instead. (which is sunflower seed butter, no nuts). Hope this is helpful.

Hi I have a 9 yr old who has allergies since she was 1yr old.my older daughter who is 13yrs old has outgrown all her allergies except cod fish n cashew nuts. I am ok with that. My 9 yr old is getting worse. She is allergic to all nuts, all fish, cocoa, egg, sesame seeds n honey. My house is totally a nut and fish free home. If she smells fish she gets sick and vomits. Its so hard and scary because we are on edge always cos she cannot come in contact with fish at all.even when we fly its so hard that they have to sit us away from most people because of the smell of the nuts. So I am very careful n cautious thats why I have a nut free home. We hardly go out for dinners unless we go to really expensive places where fish is not served and explain about the nut allergy and we get seated somewhere nice but away from those eating that stuff. 🙁

This is to protect your child. My school is great and very surportive where kids who bring tuna in go and eat in different classes n make sure they wash and clean they hands. I have 2 epi pens that I have to carry around with me for my 9 yr old. I totally understand all those with kids with allergies and I pray one day we find an answer n solution for that.

Hi there! I was diagnosed with peanut allergy at around the same age as your son is now. My mom said I broke out in hives and my lips swelled a bit. Growing up, the house was not free of peanut butter, but there were some precautions. We didnt have anything with not-obvious nuts, for example. All I had to avoid was the jar of pb as the rest of my family used separate utensils for the jelly.

Of course, this was back in the mid-70s when there was not the awareness that we have now!

My personal opinion is that while certainly precautions need to be taken, an all-out ban is often unnecessary and can sometimes lull a kid into a false sense of security. As a result of having it ""in my face"" every day and having to think about it, it was really ingrained in me that I had to ask about ingredients and I was very good about it by the time I was around 6.

Food for thought (pun intended).

Mine was diagnosed at 8 months old..... I kept peanuts and peanut butter stuff in the house for a few months until I got scolded by the pediatrician..... He said I needed to remove all traces of peanut from the house.... The risk was too great.
I ate TONS of peanut butter when I was pregnant, and when Sam was born he had a ton of eczema issues as well..... That was apparently a precursor to the allergies to come. Peanut is the only one he has ANA too.... The rest just cause some digestive issues. He still eats tree nuts with no issues, but only if they are not in contact with peanuts..... As it turns out, he has a Legume allergy, he is allergic to lentils, chick peas, peas, and most of stuff in the legume family..... I think people forget peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes.
There are peanut desensitization trials going on currently with good results, so its just a matter of time before they can figure out a solution to the peanut allergy crisis..... I have to admit..... It would be nice to not have to freak out and get nervous to the point Im sick every time we fly on a plane or go to the mall, or playground, or any other place normal people go.... Who dont have peanut allergies.

When my daughter, now 11, was 16 mos old, her daddy had waffles with peanut butter on them. He was kissing all over her neck and face and she developed welps all over. We then had her tested. She has a severe nut allergy to all nuts. Same thing happened when a child at school ate peanut butter for lunch then touched her. I also have a friend that her daughter had a reaction after drinking from the same bottled water that her daddy drank from after he had eaten peanuts. They had to take her to emergency room for steroids. Having that said, we kept all nuts out of the house. It wasnt worth it for us.

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