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Freaking out about daughter's nut allergy(19 Posts)
Hi all. First post so please be kind!
My daughter has just been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. She had a skin prick test when she was 9mo (she's now 3) which confirmed a milk and egg allergy, and showed 'borderline' for nuts (they weren't sure either way). We were encouraged to try her on nuts and just keep an eye on reactions. Over time she grew out of the milk and egg allergies (hooray!) and was eating almonds, walnuts etc with gay abandon. But a couple of months ago we were eating a dish with crushed peanuts in it (she'd had them before and been fine) and I noticed swelling and hives around her mouth. Made her spit out her food, gave her Piriton etc and after 20 mins she was fine. Made an appt with the GP just to be on the safe side, took her for a blood test, then trotted off on a 2-week holiday to South Africa where we carried Piriton but otherwise took no precautions, ate out three times a day and generally forgot all about it. However since we got home we got her results which have confirmed an allergy to peanuts (they didn't test for any tree nuts which is a bit annoying) and now that it's official, I am freaking out slightly.
On the whole I'm pretty relaxed about the whole parenting lark, and obviously I'm used to living with allergies, but her milk and egg ones seemed so much more manageable in comparison - she was a baby so I was in full control of her diet, and it was never life threatening. Peanut allergy is just - SCARY. So, just looking for some reassurance from other nut allergy parents really. Tell me it gets easier and less overwhelming?
We are waiting for an appt with the allergy clinic to discuss management but avoiding all nuts in the meantime (have we just been incredibly lucky so far? So many questions!).
Thanks so much.
(Caveat all of the above by saying that rationally I know how lucky we are, and that it could be so much worse)
I have a primary school age DS with a severe peanut allergy. It is really easy to handle. No need to panic. Everyone dealing with children knows about nut allergies. Food labels are reliable in the UK. Schools and nurseries won't allow nuts on the premises. It is actually quite easy to be safe.
DD1 has nut allergy and has made it to 24, does that help?
also we are vegetarians, so avoiding nuts has been quite a trial.
However, we have found most people take it seriously and are helpful and co-operative. She has been carrying an epipen for years and showed her friends (when she was older and not with us all the time) how to use it.
so, in conclusion, it would be better if she didn't have the allergy, but has been quite manageable.
Look into the trial they do where your child would eat a certain amount of peanuts each day in a controlled trial. My niece is now 10 (diagnosed at around 2) and has just got the all clear for nut allergy. I'm not sure whether it is available to everyone yet but it is proven to work. Good luck
I too have a son with a severe peanut allergy, on the whole it has been fine, I would suggest informing school/playgroup and any extra curricular activity providers. I've found the following website to be an invaluable source of support and information
Anaphylaxis Campaign –
In reception year the biggest problem was other parents being nervous about inviting him over for a playdate in case they accidentally gave him nuts somehow and hospitalised him or something!
When I realised this, I made extra effort to invite others round to play more often (so the non reciprocation became more obvious). I explained to the parents how easy it is to avoid giving him nuts. I even make jokes about it. It's fine now. His mates and parents are used to it.
School staff have training in the use of epipens and most schools will have more than one child with an allergy, so it becomes pretty standard to impose a nut ban. I think it will just become part of life - I had to adjust to a DC with a Coeliac diagnosis fairly recently and like you, panicked - but the reality is you have a period of adjustment and then it's become the new normal. People are so nut-allergy aware these days and as your DD gets older she'll be able to take some responsibility which will help.
We have an allergy clinic at our local hospital and I found the doctor there very reassuring - both DDs have a nut allergy. It is not terribly serious in all cases - of course it can be severe but in my DDs case it is more feeling a bit unwell than going into anaphylaxis - they know instantly if they have eaten something containing nuts and we gave them Piriton only. They manage it themselves now they are teenagers.
I have met young children with severe allergies and they are very good at knowing what they can and can't eat. Schools really look out for them as well.
I'm in my forties and life long nut allergy sufferer. Mine is pretty severe. It's very subjective though so could be more or less severe for your daughter.
I'd say avoiding all nuts in the house is sensible. If you, husband or anyone else is in close contact and you eat nuts then wash hands and brush teeth before touching your daughter.
Make sure you always have antihistamines to hand and that nursery, friends and extended family know about allergy.
Toothbrush in handbag might be good idea.
If it helps, I was a child in the 80s ,when people hadn't a clue. Despite a few emergencies I am still here!
As your child grows the biggest tool you can equip her with is self management.
It's a shock for you. I've always thought its been a bigger deal for my poor mum than me.
I have a 3 year old son with multiple allergies including nuts. It is hard at first and easy to worry about things, but that does lessen, or at least it has for me. I found focusing on being a positive role model to my child helpful, eg by making sure I don't appear anxious about it, teaching him we need to check what's in his food etc, letting him know in an age appropriate way about his allergieS. I hope showing him how I can confidently manage them and helping him to do the same means he will grow up to be confident about it and for him to be brave enough to speak up when it comes to ordering food, being with friends eating etc.
I guess 3 is a pretty easy stage to go through with allergies (once you give yourself time to get your head around it) because like you say we are still in charge of what they eat etc. I think once they start going to school and play dates etc then that's a new challenge, and then again once they are teenagers who will need to manage it themselves is another stage we will go through.
My advice is, know it gets easier, give you and your daughter time to get used to it, it's normal to be anxious at first, and lastly when you get your hospital appointment don't be scared to talk to the doctor about your fears. There might be an allergy nurse you can talk to about who can advise on practical tips and dealing with any stresses.
Hope all goes well
I'm going to be 33 tomorrow and so far have survived my nut allergy relatively unscathed ;)
I generally go with the 'if in doubt, don't eat it' rule. Some beauty products, handcreams and things have caused my to react badly before so watch out for those.
Thank you, thank you, all of you - I really appreciate the advice and support. Now that I've had a couple of days to do a bit (a lot) of reading and let it sink in, I feel a lot better - as you say, it's not ideal, but we can manage it. I think I was just overwhelmed with questions, and also slightly thrown by how small and vulnerable she suddenly felt (I have a 6-month-old too - she's always seemed to big and capable in comparison).
snooksbury thank you for articulating what I've been feeling about how to balance being cautious with making sure she keeps her confidence - I'll do my best to follow in your footsteps
So glad to have come across this thread. DS was diagnosed with a peanut allergy yesterday. I am completely at sea, I'm so scared so its really good to read that its ok.
I remember feeling completely overwhelmed when DS was first diagnosed - I just couldn't imagine how I could possibly get him to adulthood. But it does get easier. I think it's one of the easier allergies to manage as everyone is so aware of it and it makes everyone mega careful.
I remember feeling completely overwhelmed when DS was first diagnosed - I just couldn't imagine how I could possibly get him to adulthood.
Yes Cerealchanger - exactly this!
ThisIsMrsNicola, if it helps, I already feel more capable of managing this than I did a week ago. Good job really as we came face-to-face with my friend's daughter eating peanut butter on toast when we went round for a play date the other day! (Shows the importance of making sure everyone knows I guess). Are you seeing an allergy specialist? It really helped me to write down everything I wanted to ask...
My DD also already understands that being allergic to nuts means mummy/daddy needs to check some foods before she eats them and that she needs to tell us if she ever feels itchy or funny - so far it doesn't seem to have fazed her at all, which is a huge relief.
Thanks, Inanut, it's getting easier. We are seeing a specialist but the only contact so far was for the diagnosis. I just panicked and didn't ask anything. We've been in contact again and are going back in with a huge list of questions.
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