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Allergies and intolerances

Just had a positive reaction to peanuts - what happens next?

28 replies

Litchick · 03/10/2008 12:55

My DD, aged 9, has just had a positive skin prick test to peanuts, though no other nuts (phew). There was quite a big lump on her arm which has now gone down.
I was told I would be given another appointment to receive a treatment plan but am just wondering what will happen now.
Will she need an epi pen? Will I have to ban peanuts from the house?
Am a bit wobbly to be honest.

OP posts:
JuneBugJen · 03/10/2008 13:00

I'm allergic (severe) to nuts.

Don't let them in the house in any form, make sure no-one has eaten them all day or handled them before touching dd (I have had a reaction just from someone eating them a few hours before then kissing me on the cheek)

Don't panic, it is worth though keeping piriton tablets (or similar) to hand and ask GP about if an epipen is needed.

She will be fine, just check EVERY lable and be wary of choc especially the European kind as has lots of peanuty bits even if it isnt on the label. Its a good time to be allergic as most things have warnings on them now. She is going to have to learn to check for herself and take responsiblity (9 is young but I was handling my allergies very well at that age.)

Think there is a thread about a mum who's dd was being desensitised to nuts at John Radcliffe in Oxford which you may want to have a look at.

SuperSillyus · 03/10/2008 13:03

Yes you will have to keep peanuts away. My dd has a peanut allergy and we have to carry epipens. She is 5 now and it is 3 years since whe had a bad reaction, we have managed not to have any accidents so far.
It took me a while to come to terms with the allergy.
I am just hoping that in the future there will be a cure found.

thebutlerdidit · 03/10/2008 13:07

You will be able to find out what grade she is from her results. Grade 1 is mild and Grade 6 severe. My ds is grade 3 and doesn't have an epipen. We don't have peanuts at home but dh eats them at work. Most labels only say 'may contain nuts' but you can get more detailed info from individual companies. Lots of cadbury stuff is fine. You have to be careful if things are made in different factories though eg galaxy is made in 2 factories, 1 is peanut free and the other isn't. Digestives are ok but mini digestives aren't. mini Jaffa cakes in orange pods ok, but not ok in blue bags.
You will quickly get used to all the label checking and there is some very encouraging research into a treatment going on.

Litchick · 03/10/2008 13:10

Thank you very much.
I will chuck out the peanut butter and stuff.
Her school is already nut free so that's okay.
A quick look on some biscuit packets tells me that some say they don't contain nuts but the manufacturer can't promise that the factory is nut free. Should I avoid those too?

OP posts:
JuneBugJen · 03/10/2008 13:13

Not sure about that...i often ignore the 'made in a factory which has nuts' and take heed of 'may contain nuts'! otherwise wouldn't be able to eat so many things. But that is me as an adult. I think if it were my dd and I wasn't used to it I would probably play it safe!

TheButlers advice is good.

Don't worry and dd will be fine but it must be very frightening if you aren't used to it.

cariboo · 03/10/2008 13:13

I'm rushing to your rescue! Chandra (does she still post on MN?) is another peanut expert. Yes, your dd will need an epipen & yes, you'll have to ban peanuts from the house. I've been allergic to peanuts all my life - I must be the oldest peanut allergy person in the world at 45 - and my allergy is so severe that, when I'm on a plane, if someone eats a packet of peanuts, I have to be put on oxygen & have my epipen, antihists, prednisone, etc. This has only happened once, mind.

So, it's going to be a hassle for you & esp for your poor dd but you learn to be careful really quickly. Things like reading labels before eating packaged/processed food, staying away from restaurants where peanuts are likely to be on the menu (Thai, for example)...

There is no safe or effective desensitisation for food allergies, peanuts in particular. It's far too dangerous, or so my allergist tells me. Please don't take any risks!

Soapbox · 03/10/2008 13:16

It might be worth searching the posts of the poster whose DD has been pretty successfully desensitised as part of a new research project. I'm sure if you search the allergy threads you will find it!

It sounds pretty groundbreaking stuff - with light at the end of the tunnel for those people who have severe allergies

SuperSillyus · 03/10/2008 13:22

Yes it is brilliant to hear about the research but important to leave that to the professionals and not to try it at home.

Litchick · 03/10/2008 13:26

Thanks again.
I'm sure we'll get into the swing of it - worse things happen at sea and all that - I was just a bit when the response was so quick.
I think I've probably been in denial about this for some time.

OP posts:
thebutlerdidit · 03/10/2008 13:26

this is quite interesting. There is a human study starting at Mt Sinai. I will look into desensitisation if ds doesn't outgrow his allergy. He is quite a good candidate as he has no other allergies or asthma. Egg desensitization studies have been successful although you are much more likely to outgrow egg allergy than peanut anyway.

cariboo · 03/10/2008 13:40

Peanuts aren't nuts, by the way. They're legumes, like peas.

cariboo · 03/10/2008 13:49

I hate to sound like a know-it-all but please, please don't try to treat a peanut allergy with "alternative therapy"! The reason it's so dangerous is that you can never calculate the precise reaction that a person may have to peanuts because the body's (incorrect) immune response is unpredictable. So if you were to try desensitisation, it would have to be in a hospital & monitored for 24hrs after the dose of the allergen in case of anaphylaxis.

I was also allergic to egg white and milk, but never had an anaphylactic reaction to them. I eventually outgrew those two food allergies but the peanut allergy has only worsened with every accidental exposure. It's so dangerous! Please, please be careful.

Litchick · 03/10/2008 14:07

It's funny you should say that, Cboo, as my DD used to have all sorts of worsening of her excema with eggs and beans and oranges etc...they all went away...but the peanut thing has got worse and worse until in the summer even the smell of a peanut butter smoothie made her tongue itch.
How is it that other allergies lessen and the peanut one gets worse?
Will it continue to get worse?

OP posts:
BlueBumedFly · 03/10/2008 14:11

Hello - it might be me you are being advised to try and find.

My DD has (had) a severe nut allergy. RAST was over 150, diagnosed at 18 months. She is not only allergic to peanuts but all nuts. Until we found Addenbrookes Hospital.

DD is currently in the STOP study which is an excellently run, medically sound desinsitization programme. This was first run at Duke Univercity in the US and is now being run by Dr Andrew Clark in the UK.

DD has been on the programme since February. She was started with a nasal spray and slowly but surely worked her way up taking daily doses of peanut protein in the form of peanut flour. This was all VERY closely monitored by the hospital and her health was no way put at risk.

Yesterday after 7 months she had her first nut challenge, she had a spoonful of peanut butter which was the equivalent of 5 peanuts. She has also had a tree nut challenge and she is no longer allergic to any of them apart from cashew nuts.

This is amazing, we are blown away. The hospital programme is giving DD a chance at an allergy-free life. She is now on a 6 month programme of having a spoonful of peanut butter a day which is the equiv of 8oomg of peanut protein. Seeing as she started on half a mg 7 months ago you can see how far she has come.

When the Dr presented his results at conference not so long ago many members of the medical profession were blown away at his results. So far just 8 kids have done the whole programme and more are joining every day.

There is hope, there is a way to break through this terribly scary allergy.

Litchick · 03/10/2008 14:37

Hi there.
Am very glad to hear you are mAking progress.
Can I be an arse and ask what RAS is?

OP posts:
BlueBumedFly · 03/10/2008 14:41

Don't be daft, you are not being an arse, you get so caught up in it all one forgets that most of the docs talk in code.

A RAST test is a blood test which is far more accurate than a skin prick test. The RAST will tell you how severe the allergy is an whether EpiPens are necessary or not although I agree with a lot of what cariboo was saying, each exposure an make the allergy worse so EpiPens should be a must for all levels.

When you go for your next appointment make sure they give you all the facts. If you are not making any headway and want to talk to me further about my DD then email me at mellie and min at aol dot com.

tatt · 03/10/2008 14:42

Doctors differ on whether they will prescribe an epipen - more likely if they have asthma. Personally I wouldn't b without one, I'm convinced it has saved my child's life although most of their reactions have responded to antihistamine.

Yes you need to avoid peanuts. Eating them outside the house means not kissing your child afterwards. They are banned in our house or car.

She may also develop allergies to tree nuts and lupine flour.

It will get easier, it is very scary at first.

BlueBumedFly · 03/10/2008 14:46

BBF rudely interupts the thread to wave at tatt< Hi Tatt, hope things are good with you and DD.

GivePeasAChance · 03/10/2008 14:54

My DS1 has also just been diagnosed with peanut allergy after crunchy nut cornflake episode( vomiting and "scratchy throat").

Hijack Alert but can I ask what your school's policies are on epi-pens?

After much deliberation I have decided that he should have one at school for emergencies, but they are saying that they need to have a staff member take it everywhere with him e.g. if he goes to the mobile classrooms they need to take it with him, if he goes in the playground, the dinner lady needs to have it........

I know this is excellent that they are taking it seriously but I just want it in the office/first aid room and it not to be a total hassle for all concerned - him AND them. If they were on the outer boundaries of the school, the office is max. 5 minutes away. AIBU?

BlueBumedFly · 03/10/2008 14:58

How old is your DS Peas?

At the junior school we have one set in the office/sick room and one set in the classroom. DD is in a very small school though.

Next year she goes to the Senior school and she will be expected to carry the EpiPens around herself.

However, as you will see from my previous posts we may not have EpiPens forever.

As cariboo said, peanut allergies get worse with accidental exposure do I would want the EpiPens to be as close to DS as possible. Also, for my DD 5 mins would have been too late.

GivePeasAChance · 03/10/2008 15:42

He is Year 2

Maybe I haven't quite digested seriousness of it cos I thought you had a fair while or at least 5 mins if you have anaphalaxia and need epi-pen. (He has had one - to Penicillin!! - and ambulance arrived after 5 minutes of being unconscious)

This is horrible.

Litchick · 03/10/2008 15:51

My DD has never gone into shock or anything like that - just itchy mouth and hives.
Do you think we'll end up with one of those pens.

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BlueBumedFly · 03/10/2008 17:15

Hi Peas and Litchick

Just dealing with v hungry toddler, will post about 7ish. Don't worry, you will cope and it will be fine. Back soon...

BlueBumedFly · 03/10/2008 20:13

Right, I am back with a glass of wine in hand.

Peas - every child is different. Your DS may have a low grade allergy and only get itchy throat etc. However, this is not an allergy to be taking chances with. If the teachers are willing to cart the pens around then let them, as long as they can guarantee that they will always know where the pens are at one given time. If they cannot give you this guarantee then they need to be kept in one place and all the teaching staff need to know where. Did you know that some ambulance trusts allow you to flag your house up as an 'anaphylactic' house? We are in Berks and they know if our number comes up they need to move double quick - perhaps give them a call to find out? It is just one more safety to put in place. As long as you are not putting him in any food danger which I know you would not then it is up to the school to make sure he sits at lunch with the right kids. In Marlow (berks) some forward thinking Mums have set up Lunch Buddies, this is a system whereby parents contact other parents and ask them to ensure their child's pack lunch is allergen free. Most parents are only to happy to do this and that means your DS has friends to sit with at lunch instead of having to be sat elsewhere. Teachers panic, there is no need and steps can be easily taken to ensure your DS is safe. Let me know if you want to chat more off post, happy to give you my email address.

Litchick - If you do end up with a pen then it is just a safeguard. You will be trained and the staff at school will be trained. If you have any questions at all or feel you are not adequately briefed you need to make a big noise to your allergist and they need to make sure you are happy.

If you want to practice (it is always a good idea to practice with old out of date pens) then the best thing to work on is an orange, apparently that is the most realistic thing.

But please please keep in mind my DD, she is now eating peanuts. She is not becoming more allergic she is beating it. Medical science is working in our favour, please keep in touch.

Like I said, I am happy to provide me email address if anyone wants to keep in touch that way. I am a member of a couple or really great Mums groups for allergic kids if anyone is in Berks or Bucks or close by?

BosworthBear · 03/10/2008 20:27

In my DD school we are nut free, no packed lunches allowed. Teachers are trained to use Epipen, DD's picture is in her class room area (yr3), the ref and the sports hall. It lists her allergies (chashew nuts and pistachio nuts)contact numbers for us, common foods to avoid that might be bought into class (i.e. chinese new year. In addition the chef also has one.

Her epipen is kept in Sisters office, which is in the centre of the school, it is deemed safer there than anywhere else, since she can't be more than about 3 mins away unless on the sports fields.
On school trips it is taken with them, i always send one in her bag "just in case". This is their standard approach to allergies.

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