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Peanut Allergy
Old 05-09-2008, 05:47 PM   #1
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Peanut Allergy

2 yo daughter just tested positive for peanut allergy. I have the Epi-pens to carry around now.

Anyone know how to manage this?

It seems a bit overwhelming since lots of food now says "may be made in plant that processes peanuts" or something similar.

Are there varying degrees of reactions? Was on business trip when DW took her in to be tested so didn't get to talk to the doc. I'll probably call next week and discuss further.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:35 PM   #2
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This website may answer some of your questions.

I think you have much more control over her exposure to peanuts now, but once your daughter starts school.....it can be a real problem depending on the school's policy to allergies. Good luck....this is more common than it used to be.

Common Food Allergens
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:58 PM   #3
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My late sister's work centered around finding ways to help kids like your daughter.

Sorry I can't be more help, but apparently within 5 years they hope to have a vaccine that will in effect end this allergy.

Until then, you can't take a chance on anything that says: MAY contain nuts, including peanuts. My sister always thought that labeling was a copout for food companies, and they should take steps to clean the lines they run and not hide behind a label, but it still happens............
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:56 PM   #4
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Several years ago, I was on a flight when a small child suffered an allergic attack caused by the peanuts served on the plane! I don't know if the kid ate some of the peanuts, inhaled the residue or what but I saw first hand how serious this allergy can be. Fortunately, her mom traveling with her was a nurse and quickly administered the Epi-pen, but it was a pretty tense situation.
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Old 05-09-2008, 11:58 PM   #5
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Hi Bimmer,

I have quite a severe peanut allergy, though not as severe as some people. It will take a little while to get used to this, but it's not the end of the world and to be honest there are more and more peanut allergy kids out there everyday.

So once you know how severe it is then you can know how alert you will need to be. For me, I have a fatal allergy in that if I ate one peanut and wasn't able to get to a hospital within an hour - I'll likely be dead.

That said, I have 'survived' many mild doses of peanut exposure. Because I live overseas in China (where there apparently is no such thing as peanut allergy) I get a mild dose about once every 2 months which will leave me sick for about 36 hours.

I have never used my epi pen. I used it once accidentally, when I was a kid (it shot right through my thumb!) and what I have done in the past is if I eat something, then I will go to the hospital. I am from a small rural community, so the hospital is rarely overly busy. The treatment is to get lots of pure oxygen and also a shot of epinephrin (spelling may be wrong here) which is the same drug in the epi pens.

Check with allergy specialists because there are exposure tests they can do when the child is young to reduce or eliminate the risk of peanut allergy by repeat monitored exposure. The trick here is that the child needs to be young. I'm too old for something like this - as far as I know.

Another thing that I'm currently trying to do is use acupuncture to reduce or eliminate the allergy. I've only been for one session so far, but the Chi Gong master here is completely confident that he can get rid of it - I'm a bit skeptical, but we'll see.

A peanut allergy is not the end of the world. Personally, I have found that I am less of a 'foody' than those around me. Usually when going to a new restaurant (especially here in China) I will try a very small bit of the food before really starting to eat. Your mouth is really sensitive and should get a mild reaction within 1 minute of putting something 'bad' in your mouth. Once I have found a restaurant that I didn't get allergic at and that has a dish that I like, I will rarely stray from that dish because I know it's safe and I enjoy it. No need to be too experimental with food when the next experiment could land me sick for the next day and a half.

Whew - that's a long post - if you have more concerns etc please don't hesitate to ask. I'm not a medical expert by any means, just telling what it's like to live with this darned peanut allergy.

ps - if a candy bar says 'produced in a plant that also processes peanuts' but the ingredients do not contain peanuts, I usually don't worry about it and eat it any way. As a parent it may not be so easy to throw caution to the wind, but there's certain things that I grew up with (like Mars bars!) that I don't want to give up. So far I've never gotten sick from any product with this label.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:17 PM   #6
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Depending on how severe the allergy, you can talk to her school when she is old enough. Here we have the NO PEANUT section of the cafeteria and kids are warned on field trips and class parties not to bring anything with peanuts. A few years ago there was a child with severe allergies and they made the whole school (public school) a peanut free zone and posted BIG warning signs on all the doors so you couldn't miss it. It's pretty common now, so at least with school age groups you should be able to get accommodation if you tell people what she needs.
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:09 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info all. I will try to get a test to determine level of severity. I guess they can do a blood test to see. Not sure how useful that info will be to me, but maybe will contribute to peace of mind.

I grew up on peanut better sandwiches and feel bad DD can't enjoy them! I may try soy butter. My nephew has a peanut allergy and thats what he eats.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:19 AM   #8
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BB - see an allergy specialist to determine the severity. They will do a small 'prick' test where they put drops of the offending items on the skin and then prick it with a pin and see how quickly the reaction happens as well as how severe it is. At least that's how they did it for me, and for everyone I've talked to.

You don't necessarily have to give up your favorite peanut snacks - my dad was, and always will be a huge peanut freak - just be sure to wash your hands, and clean any items you use.

That is, unless it's a super-hyper allergy. I hope for everyone's sake involved that it isn't that bad.

cheers.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:46 AM   #9
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Go to FARRP - The Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. There's a LOT of good info on there..........
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:35 PM   #10
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Well, I called today and she is a 4+ on the 1-4 scale. We did the prick test where they jabbed a bunch of things into her back to see what she reacted to.

Got some research to do, thanks for all the links. Doc recommended a book, so gotta check it out of the library.
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:02 PM   #11
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I was doing a search on peanut allergy for myself, saw this, and joined the forum just to reply to you.

Like you, I found out my daughter had a peanut allergy when she was two. Actually, she was one month shy of two years old, and our pediatrician advised us no peanut butter before age two. So when i fed her a single peanut butter cracker at 23 months and she stopped breathing, I felt like Mommy of the Year.

She will be four in June, so we've been living and dealing with this for two years and I can promise you, it feels HUGE and overwhelming at first, and it becomes part of life very quickly.

You do become fanatical about reading labels. We don't take a chance and feed our daughter ANYTHING that says it was even processed in a plant or on equipment that also uses peanuts. I mean, what if Joe Blow is anxious to get off work at 4:50 on a Friday, pulls the wrong lever and in goes some peanut oil/flour, debris etc? The image of my baby blue in the face is enough for me to never, ever take that chance. What's been harder is how many other people are willing. I teach her Sunday school class at our church. And truly God must have led me to that role, because it is only through being there that I was able to see that our "peanut free' church is nothing of the sort. They regularly provide the plain WalMart brand animal crackers as a snack to the pre-schoolers. Those have a peanut cross-contamination warning. One day, our craft was to make "trees" using celery stalks, cream cheese and chocolate bits. The ingredients were provided to the teachers in baggies. I called the team leader to my room to ask her if I could see the label for the chocolate, since my daughter and one other boy had a peanut allergy. She said it had all been separated into baggies at her house and the bags thrown away- she had no way to check the label and it "never crossed my mind." You deal with that kind of thing ALL.THE.TIME. She went and got us raisins for the two allergy-kids to use, and since both kids (including mine) are used to being told about the allergy, they were fine with it. Still a crappy situation though.

Also, my daughter is invited to several birthday parties a year, and I always bring her her own decorated cupcake from a local bakery I know to be peanut free. Most people buy their cakes from Sams, Walmart, the grocery store, and they ALL have cross-contam warnings on them. I'll tell you, a three year old doesn't care if her cupcake is the same thing everybody else has, as long as she gets something, so it hasn't been the big deal I feared.

When I take her to church functions and other outtings where a snack is provided, I always bring her own snack. She also knows to ask grown ups to read the labels on things. She's very aware of her peanut allergy, we talk about it a lot. But, it also makes me scared of her having food issues or eating disorders later b/c of it

And, she stays home with me now. I have her enrolled in a "peanut free' pre-school for this fall, but I've already asked to give a brief presentation at meet the teacher night on the allergy, the fact that "processed in" does matter and how to use the epi pen. I'm scared to death of this transition for her. We've never used the epi pen and I hate to think it might happen b/c of someone's carelessness. And, I recently saw on Nancy Grace that two boys slipped a peanut butter cookie into a little gir's lunch box solely because they wanted to see her have to stab herself with her epi-pen. can you imagine the horror parents like you and I feel at hearing that?

I don't say any of this to scare you, but rather to share there are many of us living with this and happy to be here to guide you as you learn it. I found resources to be limited, and would be happy to share my experience if it helps.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TxMom View Post
I was doing a search on peanut allergy for myself, saw this, and joined the forum just to reply to you.

Like you, I found out my daughter had a peanut allergy when she was two. Actually, she was one month shy of two years old, and our pediatrician advised us no peanut butter before age two.
Our doctor also told us no nuts before the age of two and I've also read this in a book. Our daughter turned two last month and she had a small taste of peanut butter for the very first time a couple of weeks ago. She seemed to like it and there was no negative reaction. Keeping my fingers crossed.....
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:23 PM   #13
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My daughters face swelled up and she rubbed her eyes, but still continued breathing! What a scare that must have been! We dosed her with benydryl and she was OK. Looking back I guess I should have called the doc!

I'm most worried about others sharing their goodies. Even my mom tries to give her stuff like muffins or cookies while at parties.

How does a 2 year old kid tell you she is having a reaction? I guess that's what worries me the most. Or that she will have a reaction while we are all in bed and I'll miss it.
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:35 PM   #14
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Sorry bbill! Any food allergies just add to the already trying challenge of feeding your kids a healthy diet.

There are some kids who have to "leave the room" if a peanut has been in there they are so sensitive to it! I also saw a special on 2020 or some sort of nightly news mag about trying to dose severely allergic kids with tiny tiny doses of peanuts to get them to build a tolerance - i'm absolutely not suggesting this for you - this was done with dr. supervsion and an IV in case the kid needed immediate relief!

Anyhow - i think a lot of research is being done in this area so you will find lots of info and support online...good luck to you
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