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Frightened of nuts and seeds

(9 Posts)
WorryAndFret Tue 14-Oct-08 19:16:57

Following on from the recent Nutella thread...

I suffer with obsessive compulsive disorder. This is quite debilitating and frightening. I am also very worried that my DD will pick up on my obsessions, and this is one that I really need to nip in the bud.

I have namechanged because lots of people don't understand OCD and judge me, and I like posting generally on MN without having that baggage. It gives me an escape.

Anyway, I hope you can help me. I am posting in allergies rather than mental health because I know a lot of you folks will be able to advise me on how rational/irrational I am being and hopefully help me get stuff in perspective.

One of the things currently freaking me out is around nuts and an obsession that I am going to accidently cause anaphylactic shock in someone because I have been careless. (btw - I'm not aware of any particular person with a nut allergy - my worry is about putting nuts "out there" and it affecting a random person...)

Things that I worry about include:

My husband eats a lot of peanut butter. He will invariably leave the peanut buttery knife in a sink of water with the dish cloth and other dishes. I keep worrying that this might be contaminating the sink and the dish cloth with nut oils. My DD likes playing at the sink and splashing in the water - I panic that the water she splashes in will contain traces of nut oils which will get on her clothes, and then when she plays with toys at toddler group etc that it will contaminate the toys there. Also, if I have been washing up, will my hands become contaminated with nuts?

DD isn't old enough to eat any nuts yet, but when she is, I am nervous about giving her peanut butter sandwiches and the like because I worry about food getting on her clothes and then contaminating stuff around us.

I worry if my DD grabs a bag of nuts in a shop in case it causes contamination.

I worry that stuff around the house might be contaminated with nuts if my DH has been eating peanut butter sandwiches and not washed his hands, and that I might inadvertently get nut oils on my hands and spread it around.

I don't dare eat peanut butter or any nuts anymore because if I have done so and I cough, I end up endlessly washing my hands because I'll worry that I've got nuts on my hands through coughing. I feel stressed out about all the chocolates that people will eat with nuts in around Christmas and nut oils getting on stuff that I will touch and pass around. Also, up until recently, even if I've had something containg nuts or sesame in a restaurant, I've had to wash my hands straight away and have had the panic of not touching the doorknobs on the way to the loos or the taps on the sink!

There is more, but I had better stop here. I am aware that I will probably sound crazy to lots of people and I really hope you don't think I'm trolling or taking the mick. I promise you I am not. I got more freaked out by the nutella thread because there was stuff on there about allergic people reacting even if they were near someone with nuts on their breath.

When my dd is 3, I want to let her try nuts. I don't want to find myself neurotically changing her clothes or washing her hands all the time. I don't want her to become a victim of my mental health problem It's just with OCD it is difficult to find the line of what is reasonable precaution and what is - well - nuts I suppose!

Also, in future I would like to start cooking with nuts again, I stopped when I had DD but when she is old enough I don't want to deprive her of a food because of my neurosis.

I also have the same panic over sesame and no longer buy hummous because I can't handle all the OCD stuff around it.

Thank you if you have got this far. I really would appreciate some wise words about what reasonable precautions you would expect people to take and what is just silly

angrypixie Tue 14-Oct-08 19:36:11

Have no advice as I don't know anyone with allergies but didn't want you to feel ignored. I think this is a brave post as you obviously suffer enormously from this really debilitating condition.

As an aside, I gave all my children a smear of peanut butter on bread at 1 year because I wanted them to first have nuts in a controlled way ie my own home, early in the morning, so I could monitor closely for any reaction.

Am sure you will get some proper advice soon.

wb Tue 14-Oct-08 19:38:56

Thanks for your post. My son (age 2.11) has peanut allergy.

The precautions I ask people to take are:

1. Not to bring any nuts into our house/car.
2. Not to have nuts or things with nuts in them lying around when we come over.
3. Not to eat peanuts around him.
4. Not to offer him food that is unsafe for him, and to check with me if they are not sure.

If, when your daughter starts school/preschool they are asked not to bring in nuts then I think it would be reasonable to comply with that.

So, as you see, I think precautions are only necessary if you know someone with a nut/seed allergy and then only when you are around them.

I'm sorry that your OCD has taken this turn but I think most of your fears are a symptom of the OCD rather than 'necessary' iyswim precautions. It must be very hard for you sad

tatt Tue 14-Oct-08 21:00:47

Not everyone with nut allergy reacts to contamination, there are degrees of sensitivity. Although water alone doesn't remove traces of nut soapy water should do so.

I have a child with nut allergy and would be happy if everyone followed wb's precautions.

You are being very sensible in trying to ensure your fears are not passed on to your child. For most people peanuts are a good source of protein.

xApx Tue 13-Nov-12 11:37:31

My daughter and i have a nut allergy which can cause a reaction through contamination.
We live with my in laws and they all know not to bring nuts to the house and i also have an epi pen.
Wb's precautions are very reassuring.

Maz007 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:20:44

worryandfret you don't sound crazy at all. You sound very worried.
Hope the above posts have reassured you a little. The thing I would add is that as a parent of an allergic child I would not expect you to take responsibility for my child's health. I have responsibility for making sure that I inform people who are going to be in contact with her / caring for her of what her needs are which is what the other posters have said too. I also accept that despite the best precautions, there may be situations in which she is unavoidably exposed to things - we can't control everything... the only alternative to accepting some element of risk for my LO would be to keep her under lock and key which is not an option so I take responsibility for exposing her to some risk (which I have weighed up, not expected others to weigh up) - the responsibility is not anybody else's whom she might come into contact. All I would expect is that they do their best to follow any instructions they have been explictly given by me to minimise risk. They should certainly not be having to second guess what's safe and what isn't.

I hope this helps. I also hope that you are getting the support you need for the OCD. You are obviously keen to keep it at bay and not let it get in the way of things and I hope that you have been able to access therapies to help you do this. I know that this isn't what you're asking about here but do message me if you would like some more information.

greenbananas Tue 13-Nov-12 19:59:37

OP, bless you so much for thinking about people with allergies!! So many people don't bother with the simplest precautions. However, as the parent of a highly allergic child, I would never expect you to take as much care as you are taking - especially in your own home when there is nobody with a nut allergy about.

If somebody you meet has a nut allergy so severe that they might react on skin contact with tiny traces on people's clothes and hands, then they will tell you if they need you to take any special precautions - and they will already be used to being very careful when out and about, so you really don't need to feel this huge sense responsibility all the time.

My DS is allergic to nuts but has many other allergies as well, which are just as serious. He gets hives and sometimes swelling on skin contact with his other allergens (I'm not going to tell you what they are, in case you start worrying about those as well!) Concentrating on nuts is understandable, given the emphasis on nut allergies in the media, but really this is not the whole story when it comes to allergies.

Your OCD sounds very difficult to live with, and you come across as a lovely person with a huge sense of social responsibility. Please don't worry about the nuts and seeds so much - but of course I know this is probably easier said than done...

liveinazoo Tue 13-Nov-12 21:56:59

i totally agree withmaz007 regarding you are not responsible for the health of another child.

my eldest has severe nut and sesame allergies tht require adrenaline pens to be carried at all times

she not 17 and lives with her dad

she visits us and a while back we discussed how she felt about me having nuts in the house as i have 3 other children<dif dad> and we are vegetarians

she is acute with peanuts and i would never have them in the house.end of
however she has just mild allergies with other nuts<its quite rare to have both types as peanuts are in fact a legume,not a tree nut>

i was advised if i wanted to give the others nuts to start with almond and cashew as these as least alergic and just rub the nut inside elbows and leave 24 hr.repeat a week can buy almond/cashew nut butter at health food shops

my eldest has her own cutlery everything else we "share " when she eats here is scrupulously washed

i understand the ocd element-i have it toosmile

Nuttyprofessor Tue 13-Nov-12 22:09:45

I think you need to get your OCD treated. I can relate to it as I have OCD and an anaphylactic DS.

You need to get your assessment of risk to a more realistic level. I know that is easier said than done.

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