Peanut Allergies.....Sometimes???

Updated on July 13, 2010
C.J. asks from McKinney, TX
7 answers

Here's the scoop....

My 18 month old broke out into hives, his eyes became swollen and his nose began running profusely after snacking on a small piece of a graham cracker with a thin layer of Jiff peanut butter on it. It was his first time eating peanut butter from a jar so I made sure to watch him closely for any type of reaction. He loved the peanut butter and began using his finger to scrape it off the cracker and eat alone. 15-20 minutes later, he started rubbing his eyes (hindsight, probably with peanut butter still on his fingers and hands) and within a matter of minutes he had the breakout.

I took him to the Emergency room which is about 15 minutes from our house. I made sure he kept talking to me in case the allergic reaction started to affect his breathing. However, by the time we got to the ER, his symptoms were pretty much gone. The hives were gone, his nose stopped running and his eyes were still a little puffy, but not as bad as they were 15 minutes earlier.

The weird thing is that he's had peanut butter before in the form of Reese's peanut butter cups. He's also eaten cookies that contain peanuts, and we eat at Chick-fil-a all the time which cooks all their food in peanut oil.

So my question is, has anyone heard of this type of allergic reaction? Could the reaction have come from him rubbing his eyes with peanut butter on them? And since he is clearly allergic, why hasn't he had any type of reaction to the other foods containing peanuts?

We plan on taking him to an allergist to answer some questions, but I was just curious if other moms have seen or heard of anything like this.

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answers from Washington DC on

Allergies can be mysterious. My daughter cannot have RAW apples. Processed is fine - juice, applesauce, apples in fruit bars. It took us forever to figure out what was causing a rash on her face and bottom. So it could very well be that the peanut butter was processed differently and that's what caused the flare up. I'd bring the ingredients list to the allergist to discuss it. My sister was allergic to corn as a toddler. Yeah...corn starch, corn syrup, corn was fun. They might not have tracked that one down except they had her tested.

The other thought is, could there be anything else he might have rubbed in his face at the same time? Tis the season for kids to be exploring and get stuff on their hands and faces. Maybe he rubbed a cat hair directly into his face and that caused issues?

Certainly talk to the allergist, but I'm not surprised that it might be a sometimes/certain conditions thing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

You should call your pediatrician and see what they think. I personally, based upon your information, don't believe it's a peanut allergy.

Our son, at 7 months had a similar reaction with eggs for the first time. Our pediatrician strongly encouraged us not to stop giving him eggs as it may have been a coincidental reaction from a virus or something else.

This is also one of the reasons that the American Academy of Pediatrics has reversed their opinion on when to introduce things like peanut butter - the current thought is that exposing children later actually helps develop the allergy instead of preventing it.

Good luck. Before you give him peanut butter again, I'd call the triage nurse at your pediatrician's office just to be sure in the event there is a bad reaction the next time around.

Good luck - hoping it's just coincidental.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

See your allergist - the tests are almost painless, they'll check your child for all kinds of food allergies, and then you'll know. Treatments are painless too, even allergy shots! If your baby has one allergy, there may be more. It could have been a dye or something in that particular PB brand - ingredients vary between brands. It may not have been the PB - it could have been something else he came in contact with before, during, or after eating.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When my son was 1-2 yo he had similar reactions to dairy, but it seemed to be only on the skin. If I fed him yougurt and it dripped down his chin, the skin where the yogurt touched him would turn red. When his daycare fed him cheese crackers they tried to send him home with "pink eye" because his eyes had turned suddenly red, puffy and watery, but by the time I got there to pick him up I had to ask them which eye had been symptomatic (I am assuming he rubbed his eyes with the cracker dust on his hands, and with no other eye issues the rest of the day I had permission to bring him back the next day). Ice cream would also turn his skin red where ever it landed, on his chin, chest, leg, etc. But he never seemed to have all over hives, or any GI trouble with the ingestion of dairy. We still opted to avoid it (at least in forms that might drip or rub on him, he still had string cheese, etc) for about a year, at which time he no longer had that reaction, and is now 8 and been fine ever since.
I never had him tested for allergies, so I don't know what that would show. I thought it was very weird too, and didn't know of any other people having a similar "semi-allergic" reaction. Hopefully you will find some useful info at the allergist. Good luck.



answers from Toledo on

Allergies sometimes escalate. First response may be mild or go unnoticed, then it gets worse with subsequent exposures. I wouldn't give him peanuts of any kind until you see an allergist. The next time may be much, much worse.



answers from Columbus on

Having recently found out in a serious, frightening way that my 20 month old son is allergic to peanuts, here is what I would say:
* Call your pediatrician A.s.A.p. and let them know what happened, and take him in to see the doc to make sure he isn't having any residual problems (breathing problems can be asthma-like, and if slight, can be hard for a lay person to detect).
* Have your pediatrician give you a referral to an allergist or immunologist, preferably one that deals with kids. If they don't know one, have them contact (or you contact) the closest children's hospital. You will get in quicker if your child's doc makes the appt, though.
* Get your son allergy tested so you know what you're dealing with (how serious the peanut allergy is and if there are any other allergies to be concerned about).
* Eliminate peanuts, and all tree nuts, and sesame seeds from his diet until you get him allergy tested. This means reading every label on every box or bag of food. I was surprised at how many seeming innocuous things have peanuts or tree nuts in them.

It can take several exposures to trigger a "major event" (the facial swelling and hives on the face are SERIOUS, btw!). Allergies such as you describe are not something to mess with. The next exposure could be even more serious (look for tongue swelling or excessive salivation or trouble breathing--those are all things use an Epi-Pen for and to call 911 and not screw around.)

Peanut allergies are also not something kids "outgrow." 80% of people who have a peanut allergy have it their whole lives, and it generally never lessens, and in fact can often get worse with each exposure.

Check out for lots more info.

Please feel free to send me a private message if you'd like. It can be a scary to navigate the uncertain, hazard world of food allergies....

PS- I forgot to add:
According to the pediatric immunologist (aka allergist) we see, Chic Fil A is fine to eat at. This is because the peanut oil is cooked (heated until it breaks down) so it's safe to eat. It's the raw, uncooked oil that is dangerous to those with allergies. So, since 99% of Chinese/Thai restaurants use peanut oil uncooked in some of their foods, these types of restaurants are off limits for us for family dining. But we can eat at Chic Fil A.

Also, the majority of chocolate contains traces of peanuts, as are commercial granola bars, so those are pretty much off limits for peanut allergic people. Also, items from bakeries (like a store bought cake) can be a potential hazard.



answers from Oklahoma City on

So sorry to hear this about your son. Two of my kids have allergies, but only one of them to a food. It took us a long time to figure out what was making her so sick, even though she was only 5 months old and still only eating one new fruit/veggy at a time. She also had RSV and we were attributing the symptoms to that and not the fruit, she had anifilaxis and actually went to the hospital in an ambulance. I was also told by our prior pedi that we could give them to her again at a year old, but our new one said she should never be given that fruit again and gave a jr epi-pen. My son gets hives all the time and we usually never really know what caused them even though we had him tested. He is allergic to all kinds of trees, weeds, pollen, mold, etc. We cannot keep him away from those things, so just keep Bendryl on hand at all times for him, it almost always makes them go away and we also have some prednisone to give him if it doesn't help. I would take him and like the others said it could be something else... and I do not feel that allergy testing is painless the way my son screamed when the poked him like 32 times... Hope you figure it out and everything works out...

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