EpiPen For First Time Infant Nut Use?

Updated on August 25, 2011
S.S. asks from Douglasville, GA
18 answers

Should we have an EpiPen on hand for the first time our 1-year old tries nuts? Hubby is in food service and they just had a guest die after incidental consumption.

As I'm reading some of the responses below, it occurs to me that some comments are a bit "slap you in the face"... it's an honest question, I don't know, that's why I'm asking. She's 13 months old, has no allergies, nor does my husband or I or any of my siblings, his siblings, my parents or his parents. I just wondered... if she has an extreme reaction, what could I do?? If she was allergic to peanuts at 13 months old, she would be allergic to them at 2 years old too, right?

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So What Happened?

At 15 months old, we offered her a pinch of peanut butter, and she loved it!!! :) No issues. Now she has a little bit of chunky-free peanut butter every few days. She likes the little ritz crackers with peanut butter on them... yum! :)

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answers from Detroit on

YOu would need a prescription for the epi pen. and I dont think a dr would write a prescription if there was no history of severe allergy.

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answers from Atlanta on

Just FYI you can outgrow a peanut allergy. My 3 yo has already outgrown peanut, milk and egg! It happens they think in about 20 % of kids now!

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answers from Boston on

I was always under the impression, with the prevalence of allergies these days, that children under 3 years should not be given any nuts or nut products. I'd check with a pediatrician to be sure.

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you have reason to believe your child is allergic? I was feeding my kids peanut butter at a year old, before I knew of all this insanity over nut allergies. My kids were, of course, absolutely fine, but who knows. I think an epi-pen might be overkill, but that's just my opinion. Ask your pediatrician.

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answers from Denver on

I dont think they just hand out epi-pens unless there is need for one, if they do i sure would like to have one because we go out camping a lot far away from civilization and i dont know if my kids are allergic to bees or anything that might be out there.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Since you are worried, you could just take your child to your local children's hospital waiting room (or coffee shop across the street) and try out the nuts. Since there is no history of allergy, there is no reason at all to wait until age 2 to try peanuts or nuts.

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answers from Chattanooga on

I would really ask the dr on that one. I don't think you should but get professional opinion

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answers from Detroit on

Has your 1 yr old been diagnosed w/a peanut or nut allergy? Is there a family history of peanut or nut allergies? If your little one has been diagnosed then your allergist should definitely prescribe an epi & should also have benadryl on hand you should also have a food allergy action plan in place in case of exposure or injestion. If there is a family history of food allergies you should wait until your little one is 2 or 3 yrs old before introducing peanuts or nuts.

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answers from Albuquerque on

Please, no. I understand that people are truly worried about nut allergies... but all this talk about Epipens and trying nuts in the parking lot of a hospital is just too much.

Besides, an allergic reaction to nuts (or anything else, for that matter) does not show up on the first exposure. The body needs time to process the allergen and react to it -- ie, build up antibodies. So the reaction would be on the second, third, fourth, or whatever exposure.

If a child is allergic at one, they're going to be allergic at three, and vice versa. There is NO reason to postpone trying peanuts or any other nut except for the choking risk in babies. And that is per both of the pediatric allergists with whom I've met.

And yes, I know what I'm talking about. One of my daughters had an allergic reaction to peanuts on her fifth time eating peanut butter. It was scary, but not life threatening. I called the pediatrician, we went there immediately, and they gave her Benadryl, which took down all the swelling in her face within minutes. Since then we've visited two pediatric allergists, had three different kinds of testing done, and have carried an Epipen everywhere. I have done TONS of research on allergies to see what I could have differently... and in the end... I realize that I could have done nothing different. She's allergic to peanuts. She's going to continue to be allergic to peanuts. If your daughter is too, then so be it. But it's better to find out at 18 months (with Benadryl on hand preferably) then have her eat peanut butter sandwiches infrequently and have a reaction on her eighth try at preschool where no one expects it.

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answers from Boston on

Well you shouldn't give nuts and nut products to a 1 yr old they should be given at 2 the earliest later if the child has a history of food allergies.
They don't give epi pens unless a person has severe life threatening allergies they aren't cheap and they arent something meant for "just incase my child has an allergy to..." they are meant for "incase my child accidentally comes in contact with xyz because they are deathly allergic"



answers from Atlanta on

If no one has allergies it is very unlikely that your child will have allergies. It is not necessary to have an epiPen for the first time you try it. Also, you will never get a prescription for one if there is no real reason too. Doctors do not hand out medicine unless it's needed. My son who has a peanut allergies actually got hives just from touching it so maybe smear a litlle on his hand just to see what happens. Then if your still worried take a safety pin, sanitize it, make a tiny little scratch on his arm (tiny tiny tiny like less than what you would get if a cat scartched you)and put a little peanut butter on it to see what happens. I know this might sound weird, but my sons nurse and doctor told me to do this because I was worried he was allergic to a couple of herbs I use all the time. They didn't think it was necessary to make him go through another big scratch test when it was only a couple of things.
Let me explain something that my allergist explained to me when I was a kid. Think of your resistance to allergies as a cup. Every time you get exposed to an allergin it goes in the cup. With most people their cups are empty when they start, and only a little bit goes into the cup when their exposed. If you have allergies, your cup starts half-full. And a whole bunch of allergens go in it when exposed. Youll be fine until your cup gets full, the overflow is when you start having the physical symptoms of allergies. So generally speaking people don't die the first time exposed to something. If something bad happens, call 911. I can totally see where your coming from. You have first hand knowledge of the most severe allergic reactions. Its ok. It will be fine. My thought on life is, don't worry about something until you need to. Stress causes more problems than people give it credit for. It will be ok.



answers from Minneapolis on

I can understand how this incident could cause you to worry. The chances are very slim, but...

This last year, I had an allergic reaction to a common medication (Prilosec) prescribed for acid reflux. I started clearing my throat and coughing, and had "gunk" forming in my eyes. I was able to drive myself to urgent care, where I was given a steroid shot (because I'm also allergic to Benedryl). I now have an EpiPen in my medicine chest "just in case". It cost $50. I am now afraid to try any new medication, OTC or otherwise.

I had a lingering sinus infection this summer and was afraid to even take something for it. I even thought about going to the waiting room of the Urgent Care to take some sudafed....just in case... I ended up suffering through with no treatment.

I don't even remember the first time I gave my daughter, now 9, her first peanut butter. Or how old she was. If I was giving my daughter her first peanut butter now, I would be watching her closely, and be aware of how far I was from medical help. And I'm not typically a worrier - at all!



answers from Seattle on

I'd hold off until your kiddo is older - and then watch very carefully the first and *especially* the second time your child eats nut products. The second exposure is usually the more severe reaction (if there is one). Do you have nut allergies in your family? If yes, definitely wait at least another couple of years.



answers from San Diego on

Be very careful here... no one in my family or my husbands have allergies of any kind, but my daughter has a severe peanut allergy. I was aware of this after I would eat pb when she was an infant... if I didn't wash my hands properly, she would get hives where I touched her. I decided to have her blood drawn, after a massive hive attack after my step-father ate peanut butter and then played with her, and the test came back positive for peanuts only. You do need a prescription for an epi-pen, and with small children, you would use an epi-jr. But you won't get a prescription unless your tested for the allergy.

If I were you, just from my own experience of course, i would have your child tested first before any consumption. Just for peace of mind... as you know it can be lethal. My child had her blood drawn, but i believe you can have a skin test done which seems easier on mom and child. :)



answers from Chicago on

I don't think you need to have an epi pen on hand if she has no allergies. however I would suggest you not introduce nuts for at least another year. if she has an extreme reaction call 911. I am not being smart saying that. Just saying it is what you should do. my grandson is allergic. we have been through it. its pretty scary but there is no reason to give nuts to an infant



answers from Atlanta on

Please wait until she is at least two years old to give peanuts/peanut butter. Our daughter had reactions very early on & our Dr. recommended we wait until she was three to give it to her again. She accidentally got a hold of some peanut butter right before her third birthday & experienced anaphylactic shock. Just wait.



answers from Eugene on

My oldest daughter has a life threatening allergy to peanuts and nuts. We had our other kids tested by doing a food challenge after hours at the doctor's office. You can ask your pediatrician if he would do this for you. Another thing you can do is to have Benadryl liquid on hand. If your child has a reaction, giving him benadryl right away gives you time to get to the emergency room. If found to be allergic, a 1 year old would use an "epi-pen junior", not a regular epi pen, and you would need a doctor's prescription for either.



answers from Columbus on

If there's a concern that your child might have a nut allergy, have an allergist do a simple skin prick test before introducing nuts. If the skin pricks are negative, it should be safe to introduce. There's also a blood test (RAST), but that shouldn't be necessary unless the skin prick shows up as positive. (skin pricks can give false positives) It's also better to wait until 2 or 3 to introduce nuts, that way if the child does have a reaction, they will be able to tell you right away that something is wrong...and it gives their immune systems a chance to develop fully.

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