Friday, October 28, 2011

Discovery of Peanut Allergy

A few people are curious about how we discovered that my little guy had an allergy. Over the summer, when he was about 14-15 months old, I gave him some Jif With a Touch of Honey Peanut Butter on crackers as a snack. I did this about three times and he didn't react. We ran out of the PB and a few weeks later while I was in Whole Foods, I picked up a jar of their organic brand. Once again, I gave it to him as a snack on crackers. This time around he reacted. His eyes became red and itchy, he broke out in pimples, and his face turned red and splotchy. He couldn't stop rubbing his eyes. I made the decision to give him Benedryl which he had never been given before and the only reason we had it in the house was because our dog had a reaction to shots the year prior. It did the trick. In the meantime, we had called our Pediatrician but when they called back it went straight to voicemail and because we had his symptoms under control we never called them back. I just figured we would avoid peanut butter.

During his 18 month check up, I added this to my list of questions. I wasn't sure if it was a brand issue or an overall allergy issue. She said it had nothing to do with the brand. She suggested blood work to see if he would test positive and he did.

The Allergist said that because he was exposed and reacted at a young age (<2), there's a likelihood that he can outgrow it. I'm not sure what the theory is behind that but in the meantime, we plan to just stay clear of nuts. He also said that there is a significant increase in peanut allergies among children compared to years ago when we were younger.

We stopped off at Whole Foods today and it was one of my first times shopping since learning of the allergy. A lot of packages indicate if the product contains nuts or is processed in a plant where products containing peanuts and tree nuts are processed. I ended up putting a lot of things back. It's a really difficult decision to make. Do you put the items back or do you get them? For example, I've bought Preston Nutrigrain bars before. Whole Foods had their own brand on sale today but the package said it was processed in the same plant as other nuts so I put it back. The rational part of me wanted to buy it thinking he's had a similar product before but the other part of me said, if he gets sick, I will be ridden with guilt because I knew the warning on the package. On my way home, I decided that I'm going to live by the rule that if he's had it in the past, I will buy it.

I'm starting to see how it may be easier to make my own goodies for him. At least I'll be more aware of what's going in to it. I've been inspired to make my own pumpkin pancakes from scratch this weekend. We will see how that goes!!!


anofferingoflove said...

very interesting, thanks for sharing! i was SO worried the first time i gave Bird PB. it was in the evening and i must have gone back into her room a dozen times that night to make sure she wasn't swollen up and was still breathing! im already nervous about giving it to the twins. did your doc say why the rate of PB allergies has increased??

Anonymous said...

our oldest was diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergies a few years ago. he has since outgrown the peanut allergy (he is 7). one thing i learned while researching what to and what not to feed him was that companies are not required to say if something is made in a plant or on equipment that also processes nuts - they only have to tell you if there are nuts in the product. so just because the package doesn't say it does not negate it. confusing i know! hope your little guy stays healthy!