Freaking Out - Nut Allergies

Updated on June 07, 2013
S.F. asks from Ogdensburg, NY
15 answers

My toddler daughter was just diagnosed with a severe cashew and peanut allergy! She is to have an epipen with her at all times and needs to avoid all tree nuts and peanuts. My older daughter has shown signs of a possible peanut allergy since she was ever exposed to it by signs of a minor red blotchy rash on her face after eating but she 'used to' eat cashews by the handful and nothing. We are obviously going to have her tested now for the peanut thing because I know that one average reaction has no correlation to a future reaction and the next time she (my older one) is exposed and again it could be way worse than just a rash. My question is for parents who have children with these allergies or to ppl that have experience with this. Just how hard is it to live with this? I am already OCD and I have anxiety about everything especially my kids. So how do I go about living a normal life without always stressing that she will go into anaphylaxis shock? I am so stressed out and Im hoping that since we just found out that I will get better at this but as for now I feel that I need to change the entire way we have been living up to now

Thanks in advance

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answers from Columbia on

Is there a possiblity of doing allergy shots to lessen her reaction/sensitivity? I would ask about that.

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answers from Tampa on

First thing first you need to get yourself undercontrol - call your dr and talk to them NOW. You will be of no help to your girls if you are "Freaking out"
Second talk to their Dr about support groups and educate yourself

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well the first thing you should do is calm down!! Don't be so stressed out or your daughter will pick up on this, and that probably wouldn't be a good thing. You need to read the labels, every time you buy something for her. You need to figure out if she is allergic to things that say "made in a warehouse that processes nuts" or "made on machinery that processes nuts". That will be a huge thing for you to know. My son can eat those things. He was diagnosed around the age of 7 or 8. His favorite things were anything nuts or peanut buttery. We sat him down, and explained to him how dangerous it might be if he ate anything like that again. Our doctor told us that it is very rare for people to go into anaphylactic shock, so take that into consideration. Make sure you explain the severity of this to her daycare or school. Schools around here have a "peanut free" table in the lunch room if kids need it. Our schools cafeteria pulls all the food out first, for the kids with nut allergies so as not to cross contaminate. Make sure you notify all family members, especially the ones that think she will be OK having this, "just this one time". After several years with his nut allergy, my son was craving peanut butter cups one Halloween night. I took the tiniest bit about the size of a pin head, and gave it to him with our epipen in tow. He wanted to know if he was still allergic, and I did not want him to try it on his own. He found out even with that small amount that he is still allergic. Our doctor said some kids outgrow it. You may have to change lots of things depending on the severity of her case. But you may not need to change anything for your family but her. My son is in high school now and we have not had too many issues with this. Your daughter will be OK, you just have to arm yourself with information on what you are feeding her now, and make sure you are there every step of the way for her, like at school and parties and friends houses, so you can make everyone aware.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Of course you feel anxious! Who wouldn't with this diagnosis??

I don't think it will ever be easy to live with- but I do believe that people are much more educated and aware of the seriousness of these allergies.

My advice is to empower yourself and your children with knowledge. I have a boy in my class who was taught to read food labels and he knew what to look for to keep himself safe and this was an elementary school-aged child.

Until your toddler is old enough to learn, be vigilant and don't ever hesitate to ask questions about products. Learn everything you can and your anxiety should decrease. Your children will live a safe and happy life!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I know what it's like to live with a life threatening food allergy-I'm allergic to shellfish and have to carry an epi-pen with me at all times and have ti read food labels on everything I buy.

It know it's hard not to panic, I sure did when I was diagnosed at age 18. I've found this website to be particularly helpful:

It will give you some good information about allergies and how to live with them.

Check with your local hospital. They may offer classes about allergies like this, or a nurse you can talk to. Also, consult your pediatrician about this, he or she might know of support groups or other families you reach out to. Mira is right; you are not alone. there are other going through this.

Educate, educate, educate! You can and will handle this. Feel free to PM me if you want if you have some specific question, I might be able to help.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Here's one way to look at it:

You have just joined an exclusive community of wonderful people. Yes, it's a challenge to have a child with a severe allergy, but there are millions and millions of families with the same challenge. They will be kind and welcoming when you "join the club," and they'll show you all the ropes. There are even special nut-free parties, just for this community, and people plan special nut-free playdates all the time. So, I do not mean to minimize your challenge. It's as real as anything. But you don't have to go it alone.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I can't imagine the pain and fear you are going through. I have kids that live on peanut butter. I hope you can find a good support group in your area. That will help you immensely. Knowing there are other mom's right there where you are will help you have someone to talk to face to face and they'll be able to tell you how they've adapted their lives to fit this life altering allergy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It is quite overwhelming at first . Once you get a handle on it you will be fine . Our son has a severe peanut allergy. We discovered it when we gave him and his twin sister a peanut and jelly sandwich when they were 2 1/2 . He hated it and spit it out .(she loved it , no allergy) Later he was coughing , had hives , labored breathing etc. His numbers are through the roof . We do not have anything in our house that can hurt him . We as a family never eat any peanut/ nut products ever .We bring safe treats to every birthday party , holiday,etc. We never eat what someone else makes even if they say(think ) there are no nuts in it . Most people who don't have a family member with the allergy don't fully understand it . Avoid ALL Asian restaurants. Mexican restaurants too.. Disney is great with the allergies. It is our safe vacation spot . In Florida though , alot of restaurants cook in peanut oil . You have to check all restaurants ahead of time . If you do your
homework you will be fine . If you have any questions send me a pm , Really I don;t mind . Take care

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

There are some promising desensitization methods in clinical trials right now for peanut allergy. In a few years, it will probably be mainstream. One method involves a patch, and there's also an oral immunotherapy procedure in the works. It won't totally cure the allergy, but it will greatly reduce the risk of reaction to small amounts of peanut.

For now, read as much as you can about it. Join a local support group for food allergy. When the children go to school, learn about Section 504 plans. I highly recommend them for specifying accommodations in a classroom setting. Since severe food allergy is considered a disability under ADA law, you have a right not to be segregated in the classroom, even in private schools.

Learn how to read labels and contact manufacturers, esp. if it's a baked good and there's no allergy statement on the label--they don't have to list cross-contamination warnings by law, but many do.

It is stressful at first, but you get used to it. Make sure all caregivers know how to read labels, too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

it's really not that hard to live with a peanut allergy. we have no nuts in teh house, I just make sure we have allergy medicine and an epi with us at all times, and we make sure that those around us have clean hands if they've been near peanuts. The most inconvenient thing is carrying an ice pack in the summer to keep the epi cool when it's really hot outside.

Sometimes hives will pop up on my son for no apparent reason. This happens at the park all the time, since many people don't clean their kids hands when they are done eating. But as my hubby says, he got hives as a kid all the time, and his mother would just say, "you aren't dying." Yes, hives can be very serious --my son has had a few reactions that were almost deadly, but as long as he isn't eating nuts, he is usually OK.

I made sure his older sister monitored him when he was a toddler, but by 2, he would ask "does this have nuts" ---whenever anyone offered him food.You just explain the situation, tell them to be on the look out, and most importantly: YOU SHOW THEM THAT IT ISN'T A BIG DEAL.

I put that in caps because you need to be calm about this stuff or it will negatively effect your kids.

I do have moments when I start to freak, but then I remember, a hive is just a hive. There is no reason to worry until he starts scratching himself and fussing. And if I see two hives, I just give him oral medicine and we continue on with our day.

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answers from Honolulu on

Allergies can occur at any time.
Even to foods that a person previously used to eat with no problems.

You need to then, make sure than any school she attends, is a "nut free" school. My kids' school is a nut free school.
There are kids there with nut allergies, and they have EPI pens etc.
The school, as a school, has Policies and protocols in place, per allergies and if/when a child is afflicted with a reaction to any nuts etc.
The STAFF, is also trained in it and briefed. As Employees of a school, the entire school staff/Teachers, has to go through a mandatory "class" annually, about school protocols and safety etc.
And of course, schools have a Heath Room/Nurse.

Because your daughter is so young, and she cannot do the EPI pen to herself, then you must... make sure that any school she attends, that there is someone there, who WILL give it to her, if need be.
AND you need to, have a Doctor's note, to give to the school so they can keep it on file. Make several copies of these things.
Have a few EPI pens, not only one. One to give to the school, one to carry on you, one for the car, etc.
Think, ahead.

And you can also... get your child a "medical bracelet" too. To indicate to all, that she has an allergy. Look online. There are many and for kids, too.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you get a medical bracelet for your child. Saying she has a nut allergy.

My daughter is allergic to Kiwi fruit. It can potentially be, very dangerous. As dangerous as nut allergies. She has been fine. All these years. BUT we also tell ALL doctors, and she even had surgery once. And we told them. Because, botanically.... a Kiwi allergy can also mean, a potential allergic reaction, to other.... things. Which Doctors and Anesthesiologists, know about.

Also, keep sanitizing wipes with you, in the car etc. Because then, you can wipe down surfaces... that MAY have had nut residue on it. Because, out in public, you cannot control, what has been there or not.

You also have to get used to reading labels on foods.
It may say "processed on equipment that also processes nuts." Or, "contains nuts" or, "MAY contain ingredients that was processed on equipment that also processes nuts..." etc.
Just as an example.
I work at my kids' school. And everyday, we have to read the labels of EVERYTHING a kid brings to school, to eat. Even if that is a snack.
And at school, if a kid for example, brings birthday treats for the class... you cannot expect... that ALL other parents, know about your child's allergy. The general public or other parents, do not know, that. About your child. So, you need to speak up and tell the Teacher. But at times, a nut-allergy child, MAY need to sit at another table. Some schools have a "nut free" table. For example. Each school, handles it differently.

And, if your child is at someone else's home.... a friend or something, then you need to tell them. It is common. ANY time my kids go to another person's home for a play-date, the parents ask "Is your child allergic to anything?" and I tell them. Likewise if kids come to my home, I ASK the parent if their child is allergic to anything.

Also, Google search info about kids w/nut allergies.
Here's a link:
You could join these online communities for kids' allergies.

ALSO, and this is VERY important:
She is very young now, but you teach her, to speak up about it. Teach her how to say "I'm allergic to nuts..." to people. Or "Does this have nuts in it???" or, "I cannot eat anything with nuts, I am allergic."
And teach her, how to handle it. And how to use her EPI pen. When she gets older.
Don't make it all "scary" for her. MANY people are allergic to things. She is not singled out.
My daughter was 2... when we found out she was allergic to Kiwi.
And right then, at that age, I TAUGHT my daughter all about it.
And she was fine.

And, go through your kitchen, read all the labels on your foods, and toss out anything with nuts in it or that was processed on equipment that also processes nuts.
Get used to, reading food labels.

My kids, have friends who have allergies. To nuts, pet fur, dust, dust mites, shrimp, dairy, bees, bug bites, etc.
And they are all in school. And they are fine.

But also, know that it will not always be perfect. And you cannot expect everyone at your kids school, to know that etc.
Once, my daughter's classmate, had a reaction to nuts. How? Their school is nut-free. Well, one of the kids, brought a candy to school, that had nuts in it. And the boy ate it. Despite. And so he had to go to the Health Room to get treated w/his EPI pen.
So you see... even the allergic kid themselves, are not always, so careful.
And OTHER kids or parents, MAY have things with nuts in it.
At school. Even if they are not supposed to. Because, not all parents bother to read, the food labels.
Human nature.

Don't be scared. Or your daughter may get scared or get hang-ups about it.
Tell her, MANY people are allergic to nuts. And its true.
Just teach her how to read labels TOO, when she is older, and what to say and ask and how to speak up.
Because, as she gets older, you will not always be with her, everywhere she is.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just do not give her nuts. If you feel she cannot touch anyone who just picked up a peanut, homeschool. It is sad that docs started the no peanut butter until 2 rule. We all used to give our kids PBAnd J sandwiches as soon as they could handle a sandwich. Never knew anyone with a peanut allergy. Actually there was a pediatrician on recently who said because it is forbidden for so long, when a child finally has some they react. Their recommendation was the younger the better. Our kids ate eggs at six months old the latest also had milk earlier. No one ever ever had allergies, but then again we also let them play in the dirt, hell, some kids ate it. God these kids had incredible I mine systems. So if you think only eating is a problem that is pretty easy to handle. If you are fearful your. Hold will be too. So just try to relax. It is just a new normal.

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answers from Chicago on

I think one of the most important things is to educate your daughter on it. My daughter was four when we found out her allergies to tree nuts, she is consistly asking BEFORE taking any food " am I allergic" or "I am allergic to tree nuts can you check to see if there is any in that" I am not always with her and many times people forget she is allergic. Best of luck

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answers from Chicago on

Its not that hard. the hardest part is always being vigilant that your child doesn't eat anything given to them without seeing the package themselves. packing in the US is now supposed to have a list on the package with the words
contains .... xxx whatever. the thing to watch for is the next line which says
processed on equipment or in a facility that also processes tree nuts or peanuts.
my grandson is allergic like you describe we have epi pens at school, in the backpack, in the sports bags in at the grandmas (thats me) house etc.

something to know is you can't leave the epi pen in the car the heat will mess it up over long periods of time.

don't freak just read the labels and make sure she / they know not to accept food unless the labels have been read. there is usually a nut free area in the lunch room. and most classrooms are nut free now.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son just turned six and is allergic to peanuts and most tree nuts (though FINALLY starting to grow out of the tree nuts - yay!!!). He has never eaten a nut in his life, nor has he ever had an accidental exposure. I have no idea how he would react if he did eat one. We always have an epipen and benadryl with us. Always.

He's also allergic to dairy and eggs, which is why we did broader spectrum testing and found out about the nut allergies.

Anyway, if your daughter is able to eat things that are processed in the same facility or made on shared equipment, you probably won't have any problems. Ditto for if she's able to be around peanuts as long as she doesn't touch or eat them. The harder part is when you have to avoid even being in the vicinity of the nut.

You will learn to read all food labels very carefully and NEVER feed your daughter something if you haven't read the label (not counting fresh foods like fruits, vegetables and meat). But any sauce or any packaged product may very well contain nuts, or at least have shared manufacturing.

I don't let my son eat anything packaged or homemade by others (cookies, cakes, brownies, etc) if I don't know exactly what's in it.

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