Saturday, August 1

Peanut Free

So, Eva has a peanut allergy. I'm still kind of stunned. I honestly expected her test to come back ambiguous or inconclusive or something not so official. Eva has never liked peanut butter so I just never gave it to her. I ate it. Audrey ate it, but Eva never wanted it. I just thought she didn't like it now but probably would at some point in her life.

However, later she ate a cookie with peanuts in it, told me it tasted yucky and that her mouth itched. I noted it, placed it carefully in the back o f my mind, but just went on. This happened another time too. Then here in Lux she bit into a peanut butter cookie, assuming it was chocolate chip and the same thing happened. She complained it made her mouth itch and then her whole affect seemed a bit droopy or tired. After that I decided to have her tested at her next well child check-up.

We saw her pediatrician during our visit to Seattle. He thought testing her would be a good idea just so we would officially know if she had an allergy. He suggested we test for almonds and cashews as well. I told him she loves Nutella and eats if happily without incidence. Nutella is made with hazelnuts. Since we were only in town for another few days she had to be tested via a blood draw versus going to see an allergist for a skin test. We made it through the blood draw thanks to a prize of bubbles and a princess sticker, and awaited the results.

I talked with her pediatrician on Friday. He said Eva had a "strong" reaction to peanuts and that she tested at a level 4 (Levels are 1-6). She was at a Level 2 for almonds and cashews indicating a mild allergy. The pediatrician said we should get an epi pen jr. to carry around and one for her classroom as well. As for prediciting what kind of reaction she would have if she ingested peanuts, he said it is impossible to tell. He said future reactions may or may NOT be as mild as the ones she's already had. Scary stuff. I'm still processing all this. We'll see an allergist next time we're in Seattle.

I'm left wondering how careful we need to be. Can we have peanut butter in the house? Can she touch peanuts? Can I eat a peanut butter sandwich and then give her a kiss? Seems best to make our house peanut free. Another perk of living in Europe - peanuts and peanut butter are a rarity here. Now, if she was allergic to hazelnuts that would be a different story.

Anybody out there with a peanut allergy?

8 comments:

...and baby makes four! said...

Wow... so much to say about that. I'll keep it brief! :) The scarest thing I have found having a child with a peanut and tree nut allergy is the not knowing if the next time he comes in contact with peanuts or tree nuts will be the "big reaction." It could be the third or seventh time... or he may never need his epi pen... you just never know.

I have learned that keeping a nut-free home is the way to go, although, now I am a bit more relaxed with the products that are made in a facility that also uses peanuts and treenuts. He doesn't eat them, but his sister and the rest of family does.

Teaching your daughter IS SO IMPORTANT! Education of friends and family is also so critical. It is amazing how ignorant people are about that kind of serious allergy... so many people just write it off as a paranoid mother.

I think as far as deciding how nut-free to make your home and the rest of the family, you'll figure that fine line out for yourself... it seems like she was doing a very good job of telling you when she was experiencing symptoms... if she doesn't seem to be bothered by being around peanuts, you and the rest of family can probably enjoy it within reason. I always am a bit more vigilant when out in public, just to be ON THE SAFE SIDE. Like in a playgroup setting and such... it makes me feel better to be a bit more obnoxious than to have something bad happen.

A wonderful website is www.kidswithfoodallergies.com. It has been so helpful for us!

Good luck and keep educated!

ksjjpalmer said...

Excellent mother-detective work! Eva has a pretty on-the-ball mommy (especially when it counts and even if you don't always think so). I'm glad you got that blood test in! There is much to learn. It must feel like a punch in the stomach right now. I'm sorry you have to worry. bummer.

katy said...

I believe Eva herself will be a help with this
now that she knows she is allergic...She will
tell people and be careful, as she is a careful
perceptive child. This grandma will also be
on the alert. I will read up on peanut allergy.
You questions are good ones. love, mom

Lisa said...

Sorry for this shocking news. Cutting out foods/ingredients can be such a pain and I am so glad my girls outgrew their issues. Luckily the nut allergies are becoming so prevalant that it gets easier and easier to deal with. Good luck with coming up with how you will deal with. Take care!

Emily said...

wow, what a surprise. it's reassuring that Eva self selected and avoided the allergins on her own. I wonder if her allergic reaction will get worse as she becomes older, or if is dissapates later in life. At least you know now. How did Eva respond to it? I agree with what mom said (did she log in on your account??)
Note to self - treats from Hawaii will not include mac nuts!

se7en said...

Join the club! We have three definite peanut allergies. I stopped testing our kids after that and assumed it was for all of them. It helps to stay away from certain other closely related products as well - soya for some of them and anything that has the mysterious ingredient "Vegetable Oils" we try to avoid... Lots of chocolate here uses peanut oil as the base, so we got really good at label reading and after much confusion (of sweet offerings of gifts) we tell outsiders that our kids cannot have chocolate - because there is nothing more devastating for an old aunt to give a gift that can not be received!

So we keep our house nut free and watch like a hawk when we are out... How many folks who don't have an allergy will happily present our kids with meal cooked with peanut oil or give our kids a jam sandwich using the same knife they just made peanut butter sandwiches for their kids with!!! So careful as our kids are we have to be very aware... Especially of those helpful folk "But it is only a little"... while your child is gasping for air!!! As their father says - only a little bullet...

You get very good at watching out for peanuts - very quickly, simply because you don't know what the reaction is going to be... Not to mention that our kids are not at all afraid to say "I cannot have that" - no matter what it is... In fact kids are far more practical and realistic than adults who try dreadfully hard to over compensate... Oh shame you can't have this chocolate, let me give you a peanut butter cookie instead - AAAAHHHH!!!

Good luck and get informed, there is not much else you can do! It is perfectly livable when you know what you are up against! Sorry this got long - a topic close to the heart!!!

Principled Parent said...

I would recommend reading Rational Jenn's blog. She's written about her son's peanut allergy. Her blog can be found at: http://rationaljenn.blogspot.com/

Here is a link to all of her posts that have the label "peanut allergy": http://rationaljenn.blogspot.com/search/label/Peanut%20Allergy

I would really recommend you visit her blog. I've learned a lot from her.

Chris said...

Hi Katy,
You know, so many kids are allergic to peanuts that both my schools are nut free! Glad you caught it!
Always thinking of you guys.
Love, Erica

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