The little guy finally went to the allergist ...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by donna723, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    ... my three year old grand-dude, Ethan, I mean. They already knew that he was allergic to peanuts. When he was just little he nibbled one tiny bite of a french fry that had been cooked in peanut oil (the restaurant didn't post anything that said they cooked in peanut oil) and in just a few minutes his whole little face swelled upand he had a trip to the emergency room! They had been very careful not to ever give him any kind of nuts at his age but didn't really think about restaurant foods that might be cooked in peanut oil because most places don't use it any more. Since then, they've had to read every label in the grocery store and ask in every restaurant if any peanut products are used. And ever since he was little, he's had a constant snotty nose all year long.

    So a few days ago he went for allergy testing, the full panel including both food and environmental allergies. Allison said he was very brave, didn't even cry! I was surprised at the results, considering that both his mom and his uncle are pretty much allergic to EVERYTHING ... dust mites, mold, pollen, grass, trees, and certain animals, but no food allergies. Turns out that the ONLY things Ethan is allergic to are peanuts and grass, which accounts for the constant snotty nose! He's NOT allergic to any other kids of nuts, just peanuts. He got a huge reaction from the test for the peanut allergy which the doctor says probably means that his allergy is severe. He will have to take Zyrtec for the grass allergy and a nasal spray ... she has to chase him through the house and pin him down to spray it up his nose but it's already helping! The doctor prescribed an epi-pen and they got four of them ... one for her house, one for his daddys house, one for daycare, and another one for her purse or the car. Even with insurance , their co-pay was over $200! But at least they have them now and I feel a little better about it. It will be trickier when he starts school but I think the schools are all very mindful about allergies now, especially peanut allergies.

    I know I've posted about this before but it's still so confusing to me. When I was a kid the schools got tons of government surplus peanut butter and we had it for lunch in one form or another almost every day, and nobody was allergic! Allison (my daughter - Ethan's mom) is 36 now and when she and her brother were kids, I never heard of children having peanut allergies. There may have been a few, but nothing like there is today! And now, in just one generation, there are all these little kids running around with severe, even deadly peanut allergies? Very strange!
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    My brother was allergic to peanut butter, and a lot of other things. Both of my brothers were deadly allergic to grass and pollens and dust - my oldest brother went into anaphylactic shock when he was tested for grass. When his number was called for Viet Nam, he didn't have to go because the jungle would literally have killed him. (It probably wouldn't be a good idea to give him an automatic weapon, either.)
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    donna, you have to think about all the biomodifying and new pesticides ad nauseum they're doing to food these days for higher yields and longer shelf life. Odds are, back when we were kids, your little grand dude wouldn't have been allergic. Peanut allergy was rare back then.

    My grandsons, easy child's two youngest, have had issues with their skin since birth. husband did too but not quite as bad. I suspected allergies. When easy child decided to go more natural and be more careful about what the boys were putting into their mouths......there has been a change, a rather big change. It's not gone completely, but then she's not in a position to go totally organic either. All the boys have been ones with runny stuffy noses, but that too has improved.

    I never thought I'd be one of those organic folks, until I did some real research and found out some rather disturbing things, which linked with more disturbing things which really caused me to start thinking.

    I don't go organic other than what I can grow and pick up at a good price because I just can't afford it. Prices on most of that stuff is sky high. But I do my best. At the very least, the darn stuff tastes better by about 10 times as much.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator


    The safest way to handle the Epipen is to carry two at all times because they only work for about 20 minutes each. Ethan needs to have a cool little bag to carry it in (Duckie had a small Hello Kitty bag). All adults that care for Ethan need to be Epipen trained, your daughter can order training materials by going to the website and requesting it. Also, Epipens should not be out in the heat or freezing cold for very long as they will lose effectiveness... do not store in the car. Truly, the most effective thing is to have a twin pack that goes wherever Ethan goes and back-ups at home in case they are lost or rendered ineffective.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, TM. I was hoping you'd see this because I knew you had experience with the epi pens. Allison is a nurse so I'm assuming that she knows how to use them. I'm assuming too that she will be able to instruct Ethan's dad and the people at his daycare on what to do too. We were just assuming that she would keep one with her all the time, maybe in her purse, and the others where they could be gotten to easily if they ever needed them. I worry about when he starts school (in two years) and hopefully the school will be on top of it but I'm not expecting any miracles. It's a scary thing, isn't it!
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    It's a leap of faith...
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's also a link between lack of prenatal exposure and peanut allergy - not true of most allergies, but seems to be with peanuts. Perhaps a combo of genetics plus exposure, not sure. They didn't want me eating peanut butter while I was nursing difficult child... until I explained that I'd been "living on it" for years including right through the pregnancy. By the time K2 was expected, they were actively encouraging "exposure" by non-allergic pg moms, to build up tolerance in the child. Mine have no food allergies. But if you have a mom with the allergy to start with, exposure isn't possible, and the combo of genetics and lack of exposure really increases the risk of peanut allergy.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Since he's already had an allergic reaction and epi has worked I think he's safe with that treatment. My first thought is GET HIM A MEDIC ALERT ID - And make sure that wherever he goes? There is EPI - it has a shelf life - so make notes on your calendar for replacements. Carry that wont work, a back up and one for the second treatment. In case one of them doesn't work.

    My medication alert says I am allergic to EPI - it's rare - but it happens......just FYI -

    I'm glad Ethan had his testing done young. He was very brave. I'm curious - I took shots for 10 years - is there something available for him like that?
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Star, I asked Allison and she said there are no allergy shots that they can give for food allergies, you just have to avoid that food. Allison and her brother both had lots of environmental allergies when they were kids - dust mites, pollen, molds, grass, etc. - and they both took allergy shots for several years which really helped a lot. But food allergies are different.

    And Ethan has not used the epi pens yet. What happened was that when he was about 18 months old, Allison got off work late, picked Ethan up at day care and headed home, but he was fussing and whiney because he was hungry. So she stopped at a place near their house and bought hamburgers and fries for a quick dinner and to keep him quiet on the way home, she gave him one little french fry to chew on while she drove the rest of the way home - less than a mile. There were no signs up in the restaurant and she had no idea that they still used peanut oil to make their fries! It only took her a few minutes to get home and when she went to get him out of the car seat she saw that his whole little face had swelled up in just that short time and he had only taken one tiny bite off the french fry! So she just buckled him back up and headed straight for the emergency room! I'm not sure what they gave him in the ER but it's probably the same thing that's in the epi pens.

    Since then, they have just been super careful not to let him have anything with peanuts, anything cooked in peanut oil, or any other kinds of nuts. And according to this allergist, his allergy to peanuts is pretty severe. What upsets me is that this is not the only popular restaurant chain that still cooks food in peanut oil! Many of them still do! And despite the fact that millions of little kids have severe, even life threatening allergies to peanuts, these places do not post warning signs that they use peanut oil for cooking and that small children should not eat those foods. As severe as Ethan's reaction was, had Allison not acted so quickly to get him to the ER and had that ER been further away than it was, his first reaction could have been his last! Like most parents of toddlers, they were always very careful not to give him anything with peanuts in it just as a matter of course, but it really never occurred to them that some restaurants still use the peanut oil to fry foods with. As many little kids as there are with peanut allergies now, restaurants should be REQUIRED to give warnings that they cook with peanut oil and that those foods should not be eaten by small children. It's a very scary thing!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Warnings about peanut oil ARE required, and they are on the nutrition info that almost no one reads. Usually in tiny print, posted somewhere hidden by newspaper or napkin dispenser. I am glad he doesn't have many allergies, grass and peanuts are tough enough to manage! I am just surprised that they tested him at 3. We have a top allergy researcher in our state and they won't test anyone under 5 because the tests are not very reliable until age 5. Seems they can add new ones fast until then and they can also have them just disappear or change until age five. Plus if you move more than 15 miles the tests have to be redone if you are on allergy shots or you won't be getting the right things.

    Or so we were told by this allergy doctor. He really is fabulous, but I don't know if he was right about the age thing. thank you's sure didn't change then. He can tolerate some of the things he was allergic to now, but he doesn't like them so he still avoids them.

    If daycare is good, they will make sure that whomever is in charge is trained in epipen use. it isn't hard, and the company will send a training video and materials that are very clear. You also get a trainer in the packs with the epipens so that you can train for use. Our school requires the school secretary, the teacher and the principal and any vice principals to all undergo yearly epipen training. One of them MUST be in the building at all times if there is even ONE student with an epipen.

    His mom will have to go to the school nurse and work out an action plan for what to do to manage his allergies and how to handle emergencies. Kids who have bee allergies in our district ride the sp ed bus with a driver and aide trained to use epipens and they are carried on the bus at all times - it has a refrigerator on it, not just a cool bag. I know here these allergies are taken as seriously as any other medical crisis. If a child in hte class has an allergy to peanuts, they are banned from the classroom. If enough kids are sensistive, the school will ban peanut products from the lunchroom. This was a problem with thank you because the only thing he would eat for lunch was peanut butter crackers or a pbj sandwich. But he learned to adapt.

    I am sorry that Ethan has a peanut allergy, but it sounds like his mom is on top of it. TM and Star have great ideas for handling the epipens.

    We even trained Jess and Wiz to use the epipens just in case it was needed - they both ASKED to learn so they could keep thank you safe. Which I thought was pretty cool of them.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Donna. None of the kids/gkids had mega allergies just respiratory problems. I know there are a zillion things running thru your mind but thought I'd add that daycare/school/church environments are also potential dangers. Parents often "pop up" with cookies, cupcakes or other treats and frequently include nuts, chocolate etc. It's awfully difficult for a little boy or girl to know that "they can't have" what other kids are having. When they are older they understand but toddlers are just so vulnerable. Recently I have seen a commercial with darling children sharing their allergies. I hope it increases awareness. DDD
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Donna, unfortunately, Ethan is in good company. This is a growing issue.
    I like the idea that he was a medicalert bracelet, either ankle, wrist, or necklace.
    Also, traditional allergy tests tend NOT to show food allergies or sensitivities, so if it showed up for him, he must be quite severe.
    Much luck, many hugs.
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Yes, Allison said he got a HUGE reaction to the test for peanut allergy so it's pretty severe. Ethan just turned three in May but he already knows that peanuts are very bad for him and that he's not to eat them or any other kind of nuts. But if they were mixed in with something else, like with peanut butter cookies, he would have no way of knowing. It's a worry for sure.
  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I'm sorry for your little grand dude and for his parents and grandparents. It's scary.
    I agree, I didn't know anyone who was allergic to nuts. Hayfever was common, asthma but no one with peanut allergies.
    I actually was on a plane with a woman who had a small dog who detected latex. She was my age(mid 50's) but she had a severe allergy to latex. Who knew that you needed a special pet to detect latex?
    It's confusing that's for sure.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It is hard on kids when other parents bring in treats and they cannot have them. I always bought a separate thing for any child with a food allergy or diabetes but most don't. I kept some indiv wrapped snacks and the tofutti cream cheese and his fave crackers at school so that if a treat was brought in (pizza was very popular that year and he couldn't have it) then he would have a favorite thing to enjoy also. I made sure that school didn't run out and I know it was a lifesaver a few times for the teacher.