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Talk to me about peanut allergy - please!

(19 Posts)
fifitot Wed 07-Sep-11 19:34:40

DS (13 m) grabbed his sister's peanut butter on toast this morning and ate a quarter of a slice. Within minutes he was suffering a reaction - welts on his face and neck and on his hands. His lips swelled. At the hospital he stablilised with Piriton and they gave me a steroid for 3 days and arranged a referral for testing.

In the meantime..............what to avoid? Never occured to me that there would be a peanut allergy in our house. We all love peanuts! After leaving the hospital it occured to me that other than saying avoid peanuts, wasn't given any more advice. Now I read that it is likely DS allergic to other stuff and that peanuts are around in lots of lots of foodstuffs!

I think he is OK with almonds as ate half my almond croissant in Costas last week with no probs but obviously need this confirmed.

What do I need to avoid? Are bought bakery products out? What about bread? How can you eat out?!!!!

What a nightmare.

poolet Wed 07-Sep-11 19:46:30

My DS is also allergic to peanuts (and tree nuts).

We realised this when he was 11 months old and had a similar reaction to your DS when I gave him a peanut butter sandwich thinking it was a healthy lunch.

This was nearly 30 years ago when very little was known about food allergies and the only advice we were given at the time was to avoid nuts (helpful).

Yes, you should avoid all instore bakery products as they could be contaminated by nutty foods. Also scrutinise food labels for allergy information and avoid anything with 'may contain traces of nuts' on the label.

Wrapped bread will be ok providing all the ingredients are listed, likewise other foods.

Eating out is not so easy - my DS isn't happy about it and doesn't eat away from home much - be wary of friends and family who are not familiar with this kind of allergy, it's very easy to be complacent if you're not directly involved.

Ironically one of the best places to eat from his point of view is McDonalds as they are meticulous about listing food ingredients. He avoids anywhere that doesn't give that information.

Some restaurants are excellent (At our local Mexican restaurant, he was taken into the kitchen to meet the chef who assured him that there will never be any nuts there).

Vigilance is a must, especially until you have an epipen or similar - have you been given antihistamines in case of a further reaction?

nellymoo Wed 07-Sep-11 20:02:12

Peanuts are not strictly a nut, but part of the legume family. My DD is allergic to peanuts (amongst other things) and is allergic to the whole legume family; lentils, beans and peas as well as lupin flour (most common in french-bread type products). Also worth noting is that my DD was perfectly able to eat Lentils, peas etc UNTIL she had a reaction to peanut butter, after which she was sensitised to the rest of the group. She is now anaphylactic to these foods (peas and lentils being especially bad, yet she can eat chick-peas confused).
When your referral comes through it would be worth asking to be tested for these things.
Good luck.

fifitot Wed 07-Sep-11 20:13:39

Thanks. He has been eating beans of various sorts up until now so a bit concerned about what you say nellymoo.

We have some Piriton.

Looks like eating out might be an issue. Hope our hospital referral comes through soon so I can find out more. Thanks.

shouldbeelswhere Thu 08-Sep-11 21:23:23

Eating out need not be so bad. You just get a bit bored of your own voice asking each time about nuts, nut products etc. Pizza hut are very clueded up in my experience.

In most places it's best to speak directly to the kitchen staff imo, mostly they are so fearful themselves they just show you the packaging so you can judge for yourself. It feels like a massive hassel at first but you do get used to it and it does become easier. Like poolet says my DD doesn't eat much when she's in unfamiliar places I think they get a bit of a sense of danger even though my DD is only 2.5!

take the piriton with you wherever you go would be my advise and you could keep a food diary until you have seen the specialist.

We use the same bakery all the time, DD was ok with bread from there pre allergy so we've stuck with it. I get nervous about using others though.

This is a great site for support so hang in there. You've been through a very frightening experience but there are lots of knowledgable people on here. I've found them great. smile

Beamur Thu 08-Sep-11 21:29:17

If he is really allergic, you may find that you might have to be really mindful of eating them yourself too - as the amount of allergen to trigger an attack can be small, so if it is on your hands or lips etc.
I've recently (as a grown up!) had quite a severe reaction to nuts and have been told to avoid some - not allergic to peanut, but have been told to avoid them as the protein which causes the reaction for me is very similar.
My friend has a son with a severe nut allergy and it is a bit of a PITA but it is manageable.

shouldbeelswhere Thu 08-Sep-11 21:32:07

Yes take care re kissing after eating nuts yourself!

Ingles2 Thu 08-Sep-11 21:33:15

My ds1 is allergic to peanuts....
He had an awful reaction when he was about 4/5 and we were told to avoid all nuts and carry piriton. We've done this for 6 years with no problems at all.
It really doesn't have to be a major issue. We eat out regularly with no problems you just have to be vigilant at asking and use your common sense as to what they are likely to have used nut products /oils in and avoid.
Ds1 has just had a peanut challenge as we were hoping that he may have out grown the allergy now he is nearly 12, but unfortunately he failed at the first stage so we have to wait until he is 14 to try again.
Don't panic...if his allergy is mild to moderate, it's not too bad to live with

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 08-Sep-11 21:38:28

make sure you carry an epi pen and piriton at all times.

my dd is severely allergic to peanuts, but thats it. just peanuts. she ended up in casualty aged 4 within 30 seconds of eating a half a nut she had a swollen throat, lips and tongue. if she so much as touches one she comes up in hives, but so far she has found nothing else affects her - she can eat cakes and biscuits, almonds are fine, hazel nuts are fine, its just pure peanuts she cant go near
always be on standby with piriton and an epi pen and just be careful! thats what we do. she carried them now herself as she is 14. i warn her friends and her school are aware.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 08-Sep-11 21:39:19

oh and peanuts are banned in the house. no one eats them.

fifitot Fri 09-Sep-11 15:07:44

Thanks. Not sure when I will get to see the relevant clinic to get the testing, he was only referred on Thursday so suspect will have to wait.

Obviously haven't got an epi pen but will carry Piriton as advised. Am going to avoid new foods until we find out what he is allergic to.

Thanks for all of your help.

ChocaMum Fri 09-Sep-11 21:46:15

Our DD stopped breathing after licking a tiny bit of peanut butter at 9 mo. Like your family, we all lobed peanuts and ate them all the time so it had never occurred to me about our DD having a peanut allergy too.

Peanuts, like said above, are part of the legume family. However lots of people who have one allergy end up developing other allergies, so just be watch your DS closely, even with foods he has previously been fine with, because just like nelly said, our DD starting reacting to things shed previously been fine with. In fact she had eaten a lot more peanut butter than just licking it four times previously with no reactions.

Unfortunately peanut allergy is the most unpredictable and often the most serious allergic reaction you can have, which is why most of the allergy research goes into peanut allergy. Sorry, I am not trying to scare you, but the first month is a massive learning curve and very daunting and emotional. It is unpredictable is the sense that although your DS has acted this way recently, he can still have a full on anaphylactic reaction to a tiny trace of peanut anytime in the future. You really do need to exclude anything with nuts and that includes may contain nut traces products. And we have no nut containing products in the house from advise from the specialists because even traces of nut in the air from other people having eaten nut containing products can cause a severe reaction. Especially with your DS being so young, they pick up all sorts of the floor etc, I would say it would be safer to avoid anything in the house just in case.

Your GP should really prescribe you with at least 2 epipens because of the how serious peanut reactions can be, even before you have seen the specialist. The waits are often long because there are not many allergy specialists around, and so many people have referrals to them for often non allergy related problems. So it really would make sense to have epipens and piriton on you at all times.

It does get easier once you have worked out what foods are safe, honestly the first months is a nit mare though. We threw away most of our food cupboard, fridge and freezer stock in the first week after our DD's anaphylactic reaction. And the label reading becomes a habit soon enough rather than an emotional never ending battle.

The anaphylaxis campaign website is really helpful, and so are their staff on the helpline. The workshop I found really helpful, especially when it came to our DD starting nursery.

Before finding about DD's other allergies, from just the nut point of view here are some safe toddle friendly snacks; waitrose own brand plain breasts sticks, sainsburys own brand hummus (there are lots so check each one as only one variety is nut free), waitrose own brand hummus, Plum cheese puffs, Heinz biscotti, most rice cakes, and things like fromage frais but be careful with normal yoghurts as even lots of these are packaged in a factory containing nuts.

Good luck and HTH. Mumsnet is a great place for allergy advise though you're in the right place!

mumsamilitant Fri 09-Sep-11 23:22:47

DS has nut allergy and an epi-pen. Was diagnosed at around 5, he's now 14. Don't worry, unless he's allegic in a huge way, and can't even be near nuts all should be fine. As you said, you all like them so that probably the case. Is he a fussy eater by any chance? In my DS's case, looking back it was a god send. He seemed to know, and yes, piriton is a miracle drug.

To lighten the mood (stop you worring so much) here's a funny story about how I found out (horrific really but funny now)

We were in the car and it was a bit late and DS was hungry. I gave him a bit of cashew brittle to ease the situation. DS started coughing and saying he had something stuck in his throat and then started spitting. I thought that maybe the brittle had scratched it. We stopped off at budgens to get him a drink, he slid down the wall and started kicking his legs. I told him to get up and stop showing off! Got home and put him to bed with a bucket as he said he felt sick (he feels sick when tired), I rang sis and told her this, then it sort of dawned on me that there may be something wrong. Sis said well, worry if his lips swell up. Low and behold he came up to front room looking like a botox job gone wrong!

Ambulance then called!

fifitot Sat 10-Sep-11 21:08:21

ChocaMum - feel quite terrifed now. I know that wasn't your intention but now feel a bit helpless. GP won't prescribe an epipen until a full diagnosis. The hospital didn't think it was necessary either.

I will have to hope we have an early appointment and in the meantime keep checking for stuff.

DS is not a fussy eater and eats most things.

fifitot Sat 10-Sep-11 21:13:52

Having read your post have just looked at many of DS' food and found none of it had anything about nuts on the label. Allergy advice was related to egg and milk on the things we had. I assume then that the yoghurts we buy aren't made near nuts as surely it would give that information?

In fact I have struggled to find anything in the house that says anything about nuts. I hope this means they are OK to eat.

Lilpickle08 Sat 10-Sep-11 21:38:52

Hi fifitot, please try not to be too scared - easier said than done I know. My daughter had a bad reaction to a trace of peanut at the beginning of August. We have since been prescribed epi-pens and referred to a specialist clinic - all on my insistance! I basically told the doctor what I wanted to happen and was armed with facts so he couldn't really say no! You need to go back and insist on the epi-pens for a start.

I would be careful with biscuits and cakes for starters and just make sure the labels are ok and don't say anything about traces of nuts, or made in a factory with nuts etc. Yoghurts etc tend to be ok, as dairy products are rarely made alongside nuts. Just be vigilant. We are avoiding 'may contains' at the moment until we know exactly what nuts our daughter is allergic too. We only know about peanuts at the moment and are awaiting results for other nuts.

There is loads of info available online and for me I found that the more I googled the more scary information I found - but then likewise, I did start to find some more reassuring information too. If you PM me I will happily send you some links to the 'reasssuring' stuff. It can seem incredibly scary at first, but once you wade through everything you realise that although it can be a life threatening condition, it is easily resolvable with epi-pens and as long as you always have those to hand your son will be fine.

Some children do go on to have other allergies, some don't. Some have severe reactions, some don't react for years and years.

Just do your research, educate all of those around you and always be armed with your epi-pens and Piriton.

You will feel better about this as the days and weeks pass I promise! I think I cried for about a week initially, and still have days of feeling a bit low about it all but you honestly will get used to it and start to feel a bit more 'relaxed'. We have just been to a birthday party and I don't think I really thought about my daughter's allergy the whole time we were there and that is a massive improvement!

fifitot Sat 10-Sep-11 21:43:26

Thanks Lil. TBH I wasn't initially that concerned but the more I have read the more worried I have become. Your post is really helpful thanks.

Think I will ring GP on Monday and ask about epi-pens.

ChocaMum Sun 11-Sep-11 14:27:57

Sorry fitfot, like you said that wasn't my intention, it's just we have been through so many bad experiences with healthcare professionals that I soon realised we had to do a lot of research ourselves. Obviously the Internet also has lots of misleading stories but sticking to healthcare websites and allergy organisations you can find out a lot. Like I said mums net is amazing too.

If you have been through all your food labels then that's great, you're doing so well already. The yoghurts were only plain full fat yoghurt I had trouble with, all the baby/kiddie stuff seems fine. But like lil has said I would definitely be demanding an epipe; peanuts unlike most allergens do not get deactivated/denatured through heating/cooking so that's why foods made in the same factory as nuts can cause a reaction.

Although it sounds really scary, I actually ended up finding peanut allergy less challenging in terms of adapting our diets to compared to dairy and egg where you are constantly trying to find substitutes rather than a safe alternative, which there is for practically all nut containing foods.

I hope this makes things a bit less scary than my earlier post. smile

fifitot Mon 12-Sep-11 09:07:03

It's Ok, I know it wasn't deliberate.....just my increase in anxiety about it! Your info was really helpful.

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