Moms with Children with Peanut Allergies

Updated on November 20, 2011
A.S. asks from Canton, OH
15 answers

My son, who will be 3 next week had a severe allergic reaction to peanut butter. I had to call 911 while driving him to the ER, it was so scary. After doing a blood test, we found out he is so allergic his score was off the charts! So I have been educating myself. I had no idea what an Epipen was until now. Just curious if your child has had this reaction how many times has it happened? I have to be very careful about everything he eats. I read if someone eats a PB/Jelly and has the oils on their hands and touches my son, that could trigger a reaction. So I already know when my poor little man starts school he will most likely be sitting in another room on PB/Jelly day, which I know they serve at least once a week. Have any of you asked the school NOT to serve PB? K... I know some moms would probably be hating on me for that one. I even have an 8yr old who loves PB/Jelly, so I get it.
During his reaction, his eyes swelled, he had a red ring around his neck, he started wheezing, spit up clear mucus (sorry that was probably TMI) and was covered from scalp to waist in a red rash. The ER Dr said they were concerned he'd stop breathing when we got there by ambulance. This is something that other moms really don't think of unless of course it happens to YOUR child. What experiences have you had with it??

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I just wanted to add that you shoudl definitely keep LIQUID Benadryl on hand and give it to him at the first sign of a reaction, call the paramedics, and be ready to administer the Epi-pen.

EVERYONE should have liquid Benadryl in their home because you never know when an allergic reaction will pop up.

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answers from Rockford on

My nephew has a life threatening peanut allergy (I watch him in my daycare, so I have to be very careful too!) I check every label (and you will be surprised at some of the things he can no longer have.) Even some bread, pasta, most cereals and cookies! M&M's...most chocolate candies! On days I know my nephew will be here, I don't even make PBJ for my own kids to take to school, so there is no PB residue on my counter top. School will be much harder...while MOST teachers are wonderful, some do not pay as close of attention as they should (I have seen it happen!) So...educate your son on always asking EVERYONE if they checked the label or if he can have the snack! Even though I KNOW my nephew has an allergy, I tell him it's ok to remind me always to check labels! It helps him be more aware (he was given a cookie by another child at a cook out and ate it...911 was called...very scary!)

Once you get used to his allergy, it won't seem so bad...I have also learned that his allergy to other nuts (almonds and pecans) isn't as severe, so if someone brings a dish to a potluck, they will use those nuts instead of peanuts and we always make sure everyone knows which dishes he has to stay away from (and sis just keeps all nut type products out of her house.)

Good luck w/ this...he will be ok...just inform yourself as much as you can and ALWAYS keep an epi pen handy! And make sure to educate your son too!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Canton on

I saw you live in Canton. The Plain local school district is peanut free. Maybe you could open enroll or move into the Plain district before your son has to start kindergarten. I live in Canton, pay canton taxes, but we live in the Plain school district. Plain schools are really excellent and with them banning all nut products from ALL their schools, that could really ease your mind and be a ton safer for your son. My kids go to Taft, and since there is a kid with a severe food allergy there, I believe they keep a nurse on staff full time. My kids don't have food allergies, thankfully, and being peanut free kinda stinks since there is a lot I can't put in her lunch. But I would rather have a tough time packing a lunch than have an entire lunch room witness an allergic reaction. My daughter loves peanut butter sandwiches, but Soy butter is a pretty good substitute. Giant eagle carries it. Good luck.

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answers from Muncie on

My son was 3 when he had an allergic to cashews on Christmas Eve while visiting my former inlaws. He only ate at the most two nuts(he didn't like them) but he had the almost full body rash, had some nasal congestion and was just acting so calm it was like he was sedated. Like others have said expect another reaction to be worse so not only carry an Epi-pen Jr with you but think about carrying a twin pack. I avoid almost all restaurants and visit websites along with reading ALL labels. But, not all labels carry the information they should. Haagen-Dazs refuses to write that their factories are NOT nut-safe so please avoid that brand as I do for my son. My son is now 11 and luckily has not had another reaction. I am diligent with my son and what he eats but his father and his father's parents are not. I would advise you to have your son wear a medical alert bracelet(I can advise on cool plastic ones if you like) and notify every person he will have more than brief contact with including the school, babysitters, close friends, relatives, everyone. Most schools will make allowances such as nut-free tables and things like that. I find that holidays are worse than regular days because well meaning friends or relatives are clueless with candy being not safe(my inlaws buy things from other countries which do not have laws like here), not labeled, etc. It does get easier and for me after almost 8 years it is second nature to look at labels.

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answers from Dallas on

My son doesn't, but I do. Mine is the most severe, like your son. I have had a reaction to exposure, at my niece's elementary school. They had lunch in their classroom that day, because of the holiday party. I sat on a desk of a child who ate a peanut better sandwich. I must have wiped my face, or something. I don't know. I just thank God I had an epipen and one of the parents was a paramedic. Your concern is a very real one. If your school isn't peanut free, could your teacher possibly make sure anyone who ate peanut putter at lunch, wash their hands and face after? Your son's allergy, is covered under the disability act, they can't really ignore your request.

My reactions were pretty mild as a child, but have become worse with age. The allergist I saw said each reaction gets more severe, for some people. Make sure you read EVERY label. Anything manufactured in a facility with nuts, is a no-go. The skins of the peanuts get into the air and contaminate everything.

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answers from Seattle on

Last week there was a really moving blog/article on the seattle mama doc site about a mama with a little one with food allergies. You should read it. Google
"seattle mama doc parents and food allergies" (with a subtitle of 4 hours on a bus). It might not make you feel better, but you will see you are not alone in this.

You should have a discussion with your child's preschool about making the school a peanut free or nut free school. At least change the nut butter on PB&J day to almond or sunflower nut butter. They should understand it's a real health risk. My kiddo's preschool is nut free.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi A.,
My first response to you didn't go through, so here goes try #2! My 4 year old daughter has peanut and treenut allergies. Her only reaction so far was one year ago when I introduced her to PB for the first time. She presented with severe abdominal pain followed by vomiting, some coughing (which I think was due to her crying excessively and the fact that she has mild asthma), and skin discoloration. We now carry an epipen and benadryl tablets at all times. Although I'm a little calmer about things now (vs. a year ago when I posted my own question here), I go between being really anxious and a little bit anxious regularly). She saw an allergist shortly after her diagnosis and we now have an emergency/action plan at home and in daycare/pre-school. I plan to ask him about the necessity of a medic alert bracelet for when she goes to kindergarten.
Frankly, I'm not quite ready for that transition yet! Her school is supposedly nut-free, which gives some reassurance. Having said that, I had to educate them that many of the products they use are "manufactured in the same facility as/on the same equipment as" nut-containing products. I'm also had to ask them not to allow her to have any special treats that parents bring in for their children's b-days, even if they are well-meaning and really believe that they are nut-free. We keep special treats at school for those days. When she goes to public school, I'll have to deal with educating teacher and dealing with the lunch-room etc. I know that there are different schools of thought about whether or not putting children at allergen-free tables is doing a service or disservice for them in the long run.
Have you gone to this website yet? They have a lot of useful information.
On a personal note, I'm continuously struggling with how to educate her about her allergies in an empowering way vs. a frightening way. I just recently told her about the epi pen, but haven't gone into a lot of detail. When we go to special events (thanksgiving, b-day parties, etc.), we bring a special dessert that she loves and can share with others. I also remind her that she needs to check with me (or Grandma, etc.) before eating anything other than what we've given her). I want her to feel as included and normal as possible, but still make it clear that it's ok to ask people whether or not there are nuts in foods and to alert people that she has the allergies. At three, I bought the Bugabees (friends with food allergies) book, which we both really enjoy reading/singing along to (found on Amazon). It's perfect for young kids.
I'm also trying my best not to avoid all unfamiliar settings (where I can't completely control the food situation) since for a while, my tendancy was to not go altogether (and that's not how I want her to be as she grows up). I find that the more calm and disclosing I am (such as telling people about the allergies in advance so that we can choose a restaurant that will have more "safe" options and getting my brother NOT to put pistachios in his stuffing at Thanksgiving), the more I'm able to enjoy the outings.
I hope that you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!

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answers from Phoenix on

2 of mine were allergic and would have swollen eyes and lips. My son had his cleared with acupuncture and it worked and he eats it all the time, now. My daughter's didn't clear and she has a tight chest just by smelling it. When we went to a restaurant with peanuts all over the floor, my kids coughed the whole time we were there, I had to take them out. I became allergic to peanuts as an adult. But I had it cleared with acupuncture and now I'm fine. So out of all 5 kids, I still have one that's allergic. So scary!!

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answers from Chicago on

My son had a really bad reaction(total body turn into a hive, ears, eyes swelled up, etc.) this pass summer. I have Epipens everywhere.

With that said, my daughter eats PB and Jelly a few times a week for lunch.

My goal is to teach both of them to be careful and mindful of other people's needs and requirements. My son will be two in two weeks(yikes) and he knows what he can and cannot eat (or he is learning).

With that said, I have a friend whose son is also allergic, and when we lunch with them, my daughter does not have PB/Jelly. I know my friend has a peanutless house, so I try to respect her wishes.

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answers from Indianapolis on

My step-son also has a nut allergy, however it's not been that severe. He started when he was in kindergarten and he's now 19. Yes, it's a pain having to read everything, make sure at all restaurants you ask what kind of oil they use to cook things, alot of restaurants use peanut oil and you don't even realize it.

As for school, as long as the smell of it doesn't set him off, you can always ask the school to do a peanut-free table, meaning that no one ever sits at that table except your son or anyone else that has a nut allergy so there would never be any nut food touching this table. I would provide a note from the doc stating how severe his reaction is and that he needs a totally nut-free table.

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answers from Albuquerque on

Make sure you remove all peanut products from your house. Switch your older son over to sunbutter or almond butter. And check labels of everything you buy so that you or a babysitter don't inadvertantly give him "dad's special snack" or "mom's favorite cookies" that contain peanuts.

With an allergic reaction that severe, I would talk to the school before you send him. There's a girl with a severe peanut allergy in my daughters school and they don't allow any peanut products. Lunches brought in can't have peanut butter or peanuts. And all kids in her class wash their hands upon entering the classroom. It's extreme, but the oil from peanuts sticks to everything. It's a private school so easier to enforce the rule, but if your son is that allergic, you will probably need a school that has the same restrictions.

One of my girls has a mild peanut allergy. We do have liquid Benedryl on hand at all times (even in my purse) and carry an Epipen. Fortunately, she's only had one reaction. I'm going to have her do a food trial in a few months to see if the allergy has gone away. Fingers crossed!

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answers from Houston on

Wow, that is severe. I feel for you. That is truly a lifestyle change.

My son has a peanut allergy but I haven't had any issues. I completely understand some parents wanting a 100% peanut free environment for their child. But I also understand peanut butter is one of the main food groups for kids, so it is hard to avoid anywhere.

I walk the line on this one. If my kid's allergies were that severe, I'd make sure he was getting some sort of medication/allergy shots to alleviate the short reaction time should he come in contact w/peanuts. But I would never ask an entire school/classroom to keep a 100% peanut free environment just for my kid. If it was that severe, I'd keep him home and homeschool him or send him to a school that enforced a complete peanut free environment.

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answers from Detroit on

I began dealing w/food allergies when my daughter was about 6-7 months old she had this type of reaction from eating Gerber baby oatmeal in the can it contained whey protein (milk derivative) very scary she was gasping for air & her lips were turning bluish purple by the time we got to the ER her eyes were swollen completely shut, her lips also swelled up we had a visit w/a pediatric allergist & found out she was anaphylactic to milk & milk derivatives then at 12 months old she was diagnosed anaphylactic to eggs my daughter is now almost 7 yrs old. We have not had any "accidents" strict avoidance is the key the more times they are exposed to the allergen the more severe the next reaction could be.....I have 4 Epis (twinject) & benadryl & asthma inhaler I never leave home without them. My daughter also has food allergy induced asthma. When she was able to talk we began teaching her about her food allergies & her Epi Pen she is a great advocate for herself she knows that she is not allowed to eat or have foods that don't come from home when friends, family or who ever eat around her she automatically assumes that whatever they had is "unsafe" for her & she will tell them they have to wash their hands before they can play w/or touch her things. We are careful about cross contamination hand washing w/soap & wiping everything down w/clorox or lysol wipes. In the fridge & pantry she knows that all her "safe" foods/snacks are at her level only I bought storage containers that are red & green (red for stop "unsafe" & green for "safe" go) When I buy foods/snacks at the grocery store no matter how many times I've bought them before I read the label to make sure there are no changes. I never buy anything that says "may contain" or "manufactured in a facility that also processes"......I also have a son who will be 3 yrs old next month he is allergic to peanuts & has only had one reaction (his first) that was mild & only required a dose of benadryl. He was diagnosed this past August. We have removed all peanut & nut products from the house. I did not realize that peanuts are not actually nuts but they are legumes my son loves peas & greenbeans also legumes I haven't had to take those away but I do watch just in case. I've also had to be careful w/medications, soaps, lotions, shampoos & conditioners. We have never ordered food at a restaurant for my daughter except for one time when we were on vacation in Vegas & the chef came out to our table & met w/us to tell us what he could do. I just feel that you never know especially in a busy restaurant. My experience is that not everyone understands or gets it my biggest struggle sad to say has been w/family. We had a great experience w/my daughter's preschool I was able to provide a list of "safe" snacks & it worked for everyone she changed schools for Kindergarten also had a great year there was a designated dairy & egg free table for her (the kids have snack & lunch in their classrooms) & also a peanut & tree nut free table kids washed hands before class (bathrooms in the class) before & after snack & lunch then a custodian comes in to wipe down tables & sweeps/vacuums if necessary this year 1st grade her class is peanut/tree nut free & all the accommodations are same as last year. My daughter's teacher carries her Epis & benadryl w/her wherever she goes & the office also has extra medications. There are quite a few classrooms at my daughter's school that are peanut & tree nut free. I also keep a container in the classroom w/"special" treats so if there is a birthday she doesn't feel left out. I hope you & your little guy don't have to go through another reaction again.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I truly feel for you. I don't have this severe of allergies but I am allergic to almonds and pecans.

I feel for you but the other kids will want to have their foods they like. It is hard to deal with, I get that, but you cannot restrict what other people eat. It is their right to choose. I don't know what I would do in your case.

I wish the powers that be could figure out what the heck is doing this. There have NEVER been allergies like this before and now it's like an epidemic or something. I know of kid after kid who are reacting.

I can't take allergy shots for my many allergies, I reacted to 74 out of 80 things tested for when I did the skin prick test. The doc said my allergies were too bad and the shots could cause me to react so badly I might die.



answers from Columbus on

If your school does not have a food allergy policy, or if you'd like to request additional accomodations such as having the students wash their hands after lunch, you can request a Section 504 plan. Section 504 is a federal civil rights law which prevents disability discrimination. Life threatening food allergy is considered to be a disability under Section 504 (and ADA) because it significantly affects the life function of breathing. We had to request a 504 plan before starting Kindergarten because our district did not have any food allergy policy. You really can't force the school to stop serving PB&J, but the food allergens DO have to be kept out of the classroom, otherwise they are discriminating against your child. 504 plans also offer many other protections. A good resource is
Or, feel free to contact me for more info on how to start the process of requesting a 504 plan.

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