L.W. asks from Wayne, PA on June 09, 2009
Allergic to Tree Nuts
hello... i just found out that my 3 1/2 year old daughter is allergic to tree nuts. just wondering if anyone can offer any thoughts, advice, tips on how to handle it. this is all new to me so i am just wondering if any "seasoned" moms of kids with allergies can share anything with me. thank you!
T.E. answers from Allentown on June 09, 2009
Hello, trust me you are not alone. We found out my son had a peanut allergy when I gave him peanut butter for the first time at the age of 2. He had an anaphalactic reaction and was hospitalized. He is now 3.5 years and we still take it as seriously as we did when first diagnosed. We carry 2 epipens, orapred (steroid) and benadryl if God forbid he has contact with peanuts. Through his allergist's advice, we introduced him to tree nuts to build up his immunity to them, as the last poster said, peanut/ tree nut allergies sometimes go hand in hand. He continues to test negative for tree nuts and has no problem when he eats them. Continue to thoroughly read labels. Never allow your child to eat anything from a bakery. If you have any questions regarding a product call the number on the packaging and they will help you find if the product has had any cross contamination, ... . At restaurants request to speak to a manager and explain your child has a "life threatening" allergy to tree nuts. Even if it is not life threatening, say that, people seem to take that very seriously, as they should. I typed up directions as to what to do and how to dispense the epipen to keep with his epipens, along with the necessary phone numbers. If my son is left with someone other than my husband or I, I go over the directions, along with the "sample epipen" provided in the epipen box.
You may also want to join the online groups FAAN, and Kids with Food Allergies, as they provide very helpful information. I don't know where you are located, but we are in the Allentown, PA area and my son sees allergist, Dr. Shampain, who is wonderful and was recommended by my son's ped.. I wish you luck and know you are not alone on this one!
M.F. answers from Pittsburgh on June 09, 2009
My 4 year old son has a tree nut allergy. On the advice of our doctor, we eliminated all products containing tree nuts AND peanuts. We switched to soy butter instead of peanut butter, for example. I guess it's likely that tree nut allergy sufferers can develop a peanut allergy.
Make sure you have a fabulous allergist. We LOVE our's. (Feel free to e-mail me if you want specifics.)
My best advice is to read read and read labels! We don't even give our son anything that was "manufactured on the same equipment as tree nuts."
Also, we carry two epi-pens with us at all times and also some children's benadryl. Early on in my son's diagnosis, we had to give him the benadryl a couple of times because we missed the tree nuts in the ingredients of a few things - one was some bread that a neighbor gave us which happened to have crushed walnuts in it. Since my son just broke out in a rash around his mouth, we gave him the benadryl instead of using the epi-pen. Then we just watched him to make sure he didn't have any trouble breathing, etc. It is really scary at first, but the fear subsides after a while.
The other thing we did was send out an e-mail to everyone we knew just letting them know about the allergy. I figured the more people who know, the less risk of someone bringing something over with nuts in it. Make sure your babysitter knows, too. It's a lot easier if you just remove all nuts and nut products from your home.
That's about all I can think of right now. Feel free to e-mail with any questions. Make sure you have a great allergist and get yourself stocked on epi-pens!
P.M. answers from Harrisburg on June 24, 2009
My daughter is allergic to tree nuts as well. Your daughter is young, but you need to stress to her the importance of always asking about any questionable foods...samples at the grocery store...the mall...food at friend's houses etc. The sooner SHE takes responsibility...the better off you both are. She needs to make it a habit. My daughter's allergies aren't severe (only 1 trip to the ER...most is treated w/ benedryl), but if you can avoid the foods...it's better for everyone. :)
L.G. answers from State College on June 10, 2009
Remember that each time she is exposed the reaction will be worse. A lot of items are "manufactured in a factory with tree nuts". This can be important when checking labels. Of course, you will need to do your homework. However getting other people to do theirs is another thing. Plan on educating other people about this in pre-school. You may need to send separate snacks to parties and trips because no one will be there to check the "box" on whatever cookies or other items they are handing out. Since she's younger your teachers will be able to handle this somewhat when you are not with her. My son didn't find out until he was 10 and it is tough for him at school functions with sweets or even birthday parties where almond or other nut extracts could be hiding in cake batter. Best of luck!