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Old 04-22-2003, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would like some input from experienced moms on this one.

I fed dd peanut butter and strawberries yesterday for lunch (i think it was about the third time I have given her the peanut butter...the millionth time for the strawberries) and she broke out in hives and had a runny nose and a swollen eye. No trouble breathing or swallowing. I gave her benadryl and she slept for about 3 hours and when she awoke we gave her a cornstarch bath to help with the itching so we would not have to give her anymore benadryl.
Today, the hives are gone and the eye is still a little swollen which may be more a result of her rubbing it yesterday.

So, everything that I understand says that allergies get worse with each exposure. I am hesitant to take her to an allergist because of unnecessary testing but I feel like I need to know if it is a true peanut allergy. If it is just strawberries that seems like no big deal, but a peanut allergy seems to be more life altering.

Of course, I don't plan on ever giving her these two items again... But she is a year old and it freaks me out to think the reaction could be worse next time. And that she is not old enough to tell me that her chest feels tight or that her tongue is swollen if she were to accidently injest them.

I guess what I am asking is for input from some experienced moms on handling a food allergy like this and did you test and what type of testing to you have done?

Kirsten
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Old 04-23-2003, 12:39 AM
 
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Hi Kirsten... you are right to be concerned about this reaction. My dd is 5 and has severe food allergies - dairy, peanut and soy, with anaphalactic reactions. We have been through a lot with this situation and I would be happy to pass on what I have learned in hopes that it can be of help.

She started having reactions at 1 week (severe excema) and it took over two years to figure out the food allergies. (She was reacting to my diet through breastmilk.) We went through the whole spectrum of specialists, from conventional medicine to alternatives. I could write a book on it at this point, so I won't try to tell it all in this post, but I have learned a lot and would be happy to pass on anything that might help. I just don't know where to start!

It's true that reactions can get worse each time. I think you should not hesitate to take her to an allergist. I can't remember at what age they start skin testing, at one year they may just do a blood test. (Which of course is awful and traumatic but not the worst thing in the world) But I don't think you need a test to know she had a reaction. From what I know, any kind of facial swelling indicates a severe reaction, because swelling outside can mean swelling on the inside too (throat). I'm not trying to scare you, I just want to support you in taking this very seriously, as one who has been there.

One thing I have to tell you is that ALL, and I mean ALL! the important things I learned about food allergies have come not from the doctors but from knowledgeable moms who have educated themselves in order to help their children. In fact - this is off on a tangent but I just have to make the point - my dd was going to the "best" dermatologist in our area for 2 years for excema, and they NEVER suggested the possibility of food allergies. I finally made the connection thanks to an online bullitin board dealing with allergies. There are some wonderful online resources for food allergies that will save you thousands in Dr. bills. Start with www.foodallergy.org

Severe food allergies ARE a life changing condition (for the whole family, really) but better to know and be prepared than not.
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Old 04-23-2003, 01:06 AM
 
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I am a mom with pretty severe food allergies, so I can speak from a little bit of a different perspective. My allergies include peanuts, tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds, and many tree fruits. Yes, my allergies have progressively worsened with increased exposure. However, I acquired them not as a baby but as a teenager. Often, early-onset allergies disappear at a certain point (though the nut ones usually remain) and allergies that one develops later in life tend to remain. Because of my allergies, my pediatrician suggested that I wait until ds (now 2 1/2) is at least 3 years old before he is exposed to nuts of any kind. Apparently, early exposure (including that through breast milk) increases likelihood of an allergy. So of course, I've waited on the nuts with him. It is promising that he has not shown any severe allergic reactions to the other foods I am allergic to, though I am always suspicious of patchy eczema and red tushie rashes from time to time. If I were you, I think I would just choose to keep dd away from both foods- peanuts and strawberries, for a long while, like maybe until she is 3. Then, perhaps before you intend to reintroduce her, you could have the allergy tests done. I would see no need to test such a young child if you could avoid all exposure to the potentially dangerous foods. That's just my opinion, FWIW.
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Old 04-23-2003, 01:27 AM
 
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my older son is anaphylactic to nuts and we have also been thru the mill - it is hard to know where to start on what is likely a lifelong journey!

skin testing at 1 year often shows lots of positives that will be gone by 18 months or 2 years, so I believe it is not usually recommended.

I would also be looking for a reputable allergist with the proviso that he or she may have many ideas you disagree with, so seeing an allergist is only one piece of the puzzle, but an important piece

please consider avoiding not only peanuts but all nuts (including nut oils in foods and things like skin creams)as many allergic kids react to all nuts, and also consider avoiding soy as cross-reaction to soy is common

totally agree with keeksmom that you are correct in taking this very seriously

you are so right that dd is too young to tell you how she feels so you must OK everything that goes in or near her mouth - we even made a badge for ds1 saying "don't feed me" - if you can't be sure what is in something then don't atke the risk. Read labels, ask if you're eating anything prepared by someone else

but even so we have stuffed up a few times... my recent failure to notice that a lip balm I wore when I kissed ds had macadamia nut oil in it springs to mind as does an Indian meal we were assured had no nut or nut products but probably had candle nut used as a thickener in a sauce ( ds reacted the same as for any other nut )

actually I found it so much easier to tightly control what went in ds's mouth as a little chap, as he gets older and spends more time away from us at school and friends houses etc it is harder. Most ananphylactic kids get very vigilant in their own behalf though, esp if they have reactions that they can remember..

please ask away if there are more specific questions - any of us in this situation could write several tomes without covering all we know about it all!
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Old 04-24-2003, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your information. All of you...I knew i would find exactly what I needed here.
I agree that the best information is going to come from other moms...I just wish I had had another mom telling me sooner not to eat so much peanut butter...I have always been a peanut butter freak.

I was going to reply tomorrow after our appt. with the allergist, but I am highly frustrated and just really sad about this. It just seems that everything says how allergenic peanuts are and nothing says that strawberries are allergenic...and it is just overwhelming. I just got back from the grocery story and was reading labels. I rely on prepackaged sauces and breads mostly...but everything has soybean oil. Is this a problem for anyone? I know everyone's allergies are specific for them, etc. but what about sesame seeds? coconut? soybean oil?

What do you eat or feed your kids? It is quite ironic that this is happening because I was/am a big peanut butter fan because it is so easy and I am so lazy when it comes to food and so now I feel overwhelmed that I will have to put so much effort into our food. I know I can do it, but where do I even start?

I also had planned to stay away from dairy. My husband and I had really cut back on the dairy and I had no intention of giving dd dairy until she was 2 at least. This is based more on personal issues with the dairy industry.
I don't want to limit her daily diet so severely but I still feel strongly about no dairy...HELP!

Kirsten
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Old 04-24-2003, 06:24 PM
 
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annasmom, I can definitely sympathise. Both my boys are allergic to many things. But we found a treatment that is working to desensitize them. Eventually they should be able to eat everything. The treatment may seem a little weird at first, but it does work. It uses the same principles as homeopathy and acupuncture. Here's a link to the websight:

www.naet.com

I hope everything works out alright for you!
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Old 04-24-2003, 06:35 PM
 
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We do hummus spread on bread to replace the nut butters. Not as much proyein, but still pretty good! Satisfies the need for a quick and healthy lunch if you choose a good wheat bread.
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Old 04-24-2003, 06:35 PM
 
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I don't know if this will help but I am allergic to peanuts so now me and my roommate eat almond butter instead of peanut butter.
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Old 04-24-2003, 08:12 PM
 
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my ds is not allergic to almonds according to skin tests and I did give almond paste to him when he was about 3. After a while he wouldn't eat it anymore so I stopped. Over the last few years he is able to say when soemthing gives the feeling of a reaction starting (for him it's a n itchy throat and ringing in his ears, like a deep itch) and almonds do this, so we now avoid them too, though he does not get a full blown reaction to them

soy he was very sensitive to, same as dairy and eggs, but now he tolerates them though they are clearly not ideal foods for him - but as you wonder - what do you feed your kids?? sometimes the lesser of many evils

in our case this has meant that we (both dh and I had been vegetarians since our teens) started to introduce ds to fish, chicken and various meats, I see them as essential dietary supplements. He is fairly squeamish about foods and has a hair trigger gag reflex but if carefully prepared he does eat organic beef and lamb, freerange chicken and eggs and fresh fish. This is wildly preferable to protein via lots of dairy and eggs and soy for him . Legumes he can eat a little of but I never press the issue as peanuts are after all legumes and they are death to him! I do not believe he could be a vegetarian or vegan with these restrictions.

re soy oil - some who are allergic to the proteins in nuts or soy can tolerate the oils, some can't. Bought baked and prepackaged foods are very problematic

re sesame - some nut allergic people are also allergic to sesame (my ds is - so hummus containing tahini is out) who knows why?? what is the connection between sesame seeds, tree nuts and peanuts(a legume)??? beats me

sorry I have no experience with strawberry allergy
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Old 04-24-2003, 08:41 PM
 
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Hmmm...I am quite allergic to tree nuts, only moderately allergic to peanuts, but not at all to sesame. I should be thankful, I suppose- it could be worse. I do know that strawberry allergies are a common one that's often outgrown. So if that's what it turns out to be, I'd say that's the best possible news. emmaline, I totally relate to your son's eating dilemma. With all of my food allergies, it's hard to eat healthily. For a snack, I can't just grab some fruit or nuts, and I'm even allergic to many veggies before they're cooked- so I often resort to junky snacks! The whole allergy thing really complicates life.
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Old 04-24-2003, 09:21 PM
 
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My son is allergic to peanuts, strawberries, oranges and milk products. My daughter is just allergic to peanuts.

It seems very scary and daunting when first dealing with food allrgies, but it does get easier. You have to read a lot of lables for the peanut allergies, trace amount of peanuts are in a lot of things! meither of my kids has a problem with soy, so there is hope on that front.

Our allergist wasn't much help with the food allergies. I had to figure it out on my own, read a lot of books, and finally do an elimination diet and food diary to figure out what he was allergic to.

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Old 04-24-2003, 11:48 PM
 
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Quote:
The whole allergy thing really complicates life.
amen to that!

we continue to live and learn
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Old 04-29-2003, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We had dd tested for common allergies (eggs, wheat, etc) peanuts, all nuts and strawberries.

The IgE test came back "slighty reactive" for peanuts only. They said not enough to be considered systemic. I need to call back to find out what they mean by systemic and if they normalize for body size.

They requested a skin test. I said no. It would be different if the test came back negative or that the tests for everything else(other nuts and foods) were all over the place. But since she got hives after eating peanut butter and her body is producing peanut IgE;s that is enough for me...and since the current thought is that the body produces more IgE's with each exposure, dh and I see no need to purposely expose her to the allergen even in small amounts. We plan to keep peanuts out of her diet and re-evaluate the situation in a couple of years. And since she is only 1 year old...

I think it is very cut and dry but I am little shaky in saying no to the skin test. It is hard to say no to the recommendations of a physician but at the same time I feel that the skin test is just the next thing on the check list and is not being recommended based on the history. Does that make sense?

I also have a hard time accepting the skin test because it is an injection that I consider to be similar to a vaccine....therefore I question the safety....just my opinion.

thanks so much for all of you help and support

Kirsten
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Old 04-30-2003, 11:15 PM
 
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My son (now 3) is peanut allergic. I have found a great website filled with other parents in the exact same situation. It's how I've educated myself about his allergy.

www.peanutallergy.com

I would also say no to a skin test. A skin test is an actual exposure since it injects a tiny amount a peanut under the skin. There is a chance for a reaction.

My son's blood test results have shown decreasing levels of IgE in the last year. Our family has learned to adjust and actually I think we eat healthier because I'm cooking so much more from scratch. I totally understand the feeling sad part. I cried for two weeks after his first (and only) reaction. We've been dealing with this for 2 years now. I know it's overwhelming now, but he/she (i can't remember which now--sorry!!) will grow up used to the idea that there are things that will make her very sick. It's amazing to me how my son understands this at just age 3. Of course, we still have to be extremely diligent about everything he eats. Good luck. Oh, and we get retested every six months, but I think it's pretty common to get retested yearly.
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