Peanut Allergy

Updated on April 06, 2008
S.L. asks from Ashburn, VA
9 answers

I just found out that my 14 month old is allergic to peanuts. He had a blood test to determine why his nose was always running and what it was that he was allergic to. Nothing came back positive except for peanuts so we still don't know what else he is allergic to. The pediatrician said it was very serious and I know it is life threatening. I am so afraid I am going to give him something with peanuts or made with peanut oil. Does anyone or anyone's child have this allergy? How do you deal with it? Do you have any advice or know off hand what restaurants use peanut oil (I know Chic Fil A and Five Guys do) or anything else I need to be aware of? Also, does anyone know how reliable blood tests are and if he could still be allergic to something else on that test? Any insight would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

I did make an appointment with a pediatric allergist as soon as I learned of his allergy. I can't get in until the 18th though. Thank you all for your advice and insight! So many things to think about and watch out for. My son's father is not the most attentive person so I am terrified and he told me he'd already been giving him peanut butter cookies!?!?!? So scary.

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T.K.

answers from Washington DC on

I would see a pediatric allergist. Peanut allergies are very dangerous. You will probably need to carry an epi-pen for accidental peanut exposure (with medical follow-up). I have a cousin with a 2 1/2 year old who has peanut, tree nut and wheat allergies (among others) and they are managing very well. You just have to be diligent every day. Eventually it will be habit for you.

Also, a friend has a 12 year old son with both peanut and tree nut allergies. As they grow, kids are so adaptive, that they get used to being on the look out for their own protection. Whenever he is at my house, he and I always carefully read labels together before he eats a packaged snack food. He also knows how to use his epi-pen.

Good luck!
T.

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter also has a peanut allergy, diagnosed at age 2 and now she's 5. You should definitely ask the Pediatrician to give you a prescription for an Epi-Pen and carry it around with you (your daycare or preschool should also have an additional Epi-Pen). My daughter had a huge reaction to a peanut butter cookie someone gave her this spring when she was out with a friend's family, and now I'm vigilant about making sure everyone knows she has a peanut allergy. She usually wears a red wristband that says "peanut allergy" and I give the Epi-Pen to whoever is taking care of her. She seems to be allergic to peanut butter vs. peanut oil (we've been eating at chinese restaurants since she was a baby and no reactions there). Five Guys uses 100% peanut oil. A great alternative to peanut butter is Soynut Butter, sold at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. It has the same consistency and look (and almost the same taste) as peanut butter, but it's not dangerous.

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R.B.

answers from Washington DC on

The blood test is called a RAST test and apparently they are notorious for false negatives but not false positives. Look up Food Allergy Network (FAN) there is tons of info on peanut allergy on there. I'm sorry to hear about your little guy. :(

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J.A.

answers from Washington DC on

My 2-year old was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when he was 5 months. He is also allergic to eggs. I found out because he had severe eczema and was referred to an Allergy/Asthma doctor who gave him a skin test. We were given an epi pen jr. just in case, but we never had to use it. Since I was nursing at the time, I had to watch my diet and did a lot of internet research on these allergies. I printed off a list with foods that always uses those items and other names that peanuts and eggs could be called. It was really helpful. I already had a habit of reading nutritional labels for calorie and fat contents, so I also started looking for peanuts and eggs. You just have to read labels and ask the waiters and waitresses in restaurants to ask the chef if they use peanut oil or peanuts in the preparation of the food. Most waitresses don't know the answer. Cheeburger Cheeburger also uses peanut oil.
Surprisingly, my 13 year old was recently diagnosed with an allergy to cats, dogs 'kentucky blue grass' and some other type of grass. We didn't find this out until we got a kitten at the request of my 6 year old. This time the pediatrician did a blood test, which seemed to be more accurate because it gave a level between 0 and 6(most severe), so that I could know the severity of his allergies.

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K.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.,

This is a very serious allergy. It is important that you be aware of not only what your son eats, but what the ingredients are in the products you use on his skin. Many soaps cremes, and lotions contain peanut oil, and it does not have to be on the ingredient list. Anything we put on our skin is absorbed into the body ~ just the same as if we put it in our mouth. Please call or email me directly, and I will give you more information. I am glad you posted this on mamasource! I am looking forward to talking with you soon - ###-###-####,or,[email protected]____.com

Kind regards,
K. Stockton

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N.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hey there. I truly feel for you. I am 30 and have a severe allergy to the entire nut family since I was a toddler. I have 2 children now, and one is not allergic (he is 10), and our daughter will be tested soon (she is 16 months). Coming from experience you and your child will have a bumpy road to begin with but as your child gets older the road will smoothen out. Being as though I am an adult now, I have a high sensitivity level to the smell of peanuts and anything that may be processed with it, so my detection helps me with not mistakenly eating something that has nuts in it. But on the other hand, whenever I am out or at friends’ houses for dinner or whatever I still have to be cautious. Recently I got sick from a piece of apple pie that had been cut with the same knife that was used to cut a pecan pie. Nothing can be near or even touch anything that was cooked with nuts. As I was a child my mom had to give very detailed instructions to my daycare providers about my allergies and I had to be aware of what I consumed. I was taught from an early age about my allergy and how to not get sick. Which meant not sharing my lunches with friends that had peanut butter sandwiches, and my mom also informed my teachers, my friend's moms, the school nurse and the principle. Back in the late 80's and 90's people were not so aware of peanut allergies so it was difficult. But now it's highly being diagnosed and a lot of attention is being brought on the peanut allergy. Things have changed drastically now, since I was a little one.
About the restaurants, you will just have to check with the manager and NOT THE STAFF!! I have found over the year that a lot of places are starting to replace their usage of Peanut Oil with either Canola or Vegetable Oil because of the peanut allergy that so many people have. But you still have to check. I have also found that some Mexican Restaurants still use peanut oil to make their taco shells and other items.
I hope this was helpful. And if you have anymore questions please do not hesitate to ask or contact me.

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D.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear S.,
My son who is now 11 has this allergy. Many children with food allergies have multiple food allergies. It seems you are skeptical about the diagnosis. If you need a second opinion go to the Baltimore pediatric allergists Alan woods or Ken Schuberth. Dr. Woods is involved in basic research to develop a vaccine for this allergy in children. A vaccine for adults should be available soon.
In the meantime,you should carry an epi-pen and know how to use it! You should read all food labels carefully. If you give your child a cookie I'd recommend that it is one you make yourself!
This takes discipline but if the diagnosis is correct it is life threatening.Each exposure to the offending ssubstance causes a more serious reaction. Look, this is a drag but this is the hand you were dealt. My son had multiple food allergies but we got through it. There are things he will never eat, well so what, he's healthy.
Good luck to you. Let me know how it turns out.
Best,
D. W.

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M.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Hello S.:
My son did not have peanut allergies, but I know many people who have children with it. I have many allergies myself but thankfully not food allergies. There are resources available to help you deal with allergies in children. I would recommend this professional society for up to date and not cultist information

http://www.aaaai.org/patients/gallery/foodallergy.asp

Because allergies are still not as well understood as infectious diseases, there are lots of people with the voodoo cures out there. I would stick to the information from professionals who treat many patients, not someone who tried some bizarre treatment. As for the blood test being accurate, in a 14 month old, skin tests may not be safe. They are definitely not pleasant. The blood tests are pretty accurate, about as accurate as can be. But, to have a better picture of the allergies, I would recommend seeing a pediatric allergist. Pediatricians are a good place to start, but the allergists have a better idea on how good the tests will be for your child and also how to diagnose the offending substance in ways not available to the pediatrician. Many times a diagnosis can be fine tuned with you keeping track of your child's exposures and finding a pattern. See an allergist.

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S.F.

answers from Washington DC on

Stay away from Chinese restaurants too. Just ask everywhere you go. Most restaurants are good about checking for you.
Blood test are not perfectly reliable but with this allergy each time you come incontact with peanuts it gets worse.
My son first broke out in a rash, the second time he came into contact with peanuts he vomited excessively. Then we had him tested. Back then 2002... they did skin prick tests and he had ana anaphylactic reaction and was in the hospital for 3 days. It took 2 epipens to revive him. Just always be cautious. Blood tests are they only safe tests at this point.

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