What I’d Like For You To Know: Dealing with Food Allergies in a Child

Whatidlike_4Welcome to another edition of the What I’d Like For You To Know series.  If you’re new here, the idea behind this series to is to ask women to share something about a specific life challenge or circumstance, addressing some of the misconceptions and (most importantly) telling us all how we can reach out better.

Today’s guest poster is Jane Anne from Gravity of Motion–she’s the mom of a child with a serious food allergy.  I really learned something reading her story, and I think you will too…

I had an eventful morning at church this past Sunday. Our church has a “Children’s Time” where the children go down front and are presented with a quick lesson. After the lesson, they go to another room for a children’s program. This week the pastor decided to use a Trick-or-Treat illustration to talk about sharing. He began by handing out paper bags to the kids. Then he pulled out a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups. That’s the moment I stopped paying attention to the story. My husband jumped up and got our son out of the group. I bolted out the door. All I could think was, “I have to get the antibacterial wipes out of the car!” It wasn’t entirely rational but I was in protection mode. I didn’t know if the kids already had the candy or not and in a matter of seconds I was imagining trying wash (or at least wipe) the hands of about 20 kids. I flew to my car in a frenzy, found the wipes and located a bag of Dum Dum lollipops. I bounded back up the church steps 2 or 3 at a time, breezed down the aisle and plopped the bag of lollipops on the podium. When I sat down in my seat, I was shaking. I felt a bit like Superwoman and a lot like a crazy woman. From behind me, I heard someone say: “Someone has a peanut allergy.”  I quickly found out that several people in the congregation had stopped the pastor from handing out the peanut butter candy. 

My 5-year-old son, David, has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts.  If you are not familiar with food allergies, it may sound strange to hear that a food can be life threatening. It can be and it is for my son.

I want everyone to know: A true food allergy is a very serious condition. A food allergy is extremely different from a food intolerance (such as lactose intolerance) or a food sensitivity. A true food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. The body creates antibodies to the food. When a severely food-allergic person eats even a tiny amount of the food to which he is allergic his immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals and histamines. Symptoms, which can begin within seconds of exposure to the allergen, can range from mild (such as a few hives on the face) to an extreme, potentially fatal reaction known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can make one or more bodily systems go haywire. The biggest danger is that the person’s throat can swell shut, his blood pressure can drop rapidly, and he can literally “drop dead” – all within minutes of ingesting even the smallest amount of allergen. There currently is no cure for this type of food allergy, and the only course of action is complete avoidance of the offending foods.

When I first found out David had food allergies, I did not realize what it meant for my son, for myself and my family. In the beginning, David was allergic to fish, wheat, eggs, and peanuts. The allergist told us he appeared to be outgrowing the wheat, egg and fish allergies. By age 2, he had outgrown those allergies. I did not realize the seriousness of his peanut allergy. I still had peanut butter in the house. I still made peanut butter sandwiches for my older child. I did not grasp the chance I was taking. When I look back, I am grateful that nothing happened during that time.

Let me tell you a bit about our day-to-day battle with my son’s peanut allergy. Our home is now peanut-free. I read food labels constantly. Grocery shopping requires reading labels. I must always check the ingredients. Some products have allergy warnings and some just list the ingredients. I cannot think “once safe, always safe.” Companies change food production. One of David’s worst experiences was when he had some crackers that had previously been safe. He had hives for 4 days because they “contained traces of peanuts.” Just knowing an item doesn’t contain nuts is not enough. Food that is made on the same equipment where nuts have been processed posses a risk. We cannot get anything from a grocery store bakery (or any bakery). Going to a birthday party usually means bringing an individual cupcake for David. He cannot have store bought cake. Even if it is homemade, he cannot have the cake if I don’t know if the mix has a peanut warning. Eating out is challenging, to say the least.

I appreciate efforts by friends and family to keep David safe. There are times when I know that people have tried to avoid peanut products but I still don’t feel comfortable letting David eat the food. Without knowing the ingredients first-hand, I cannot trust that an item does not contain nuts or contain a product that has a peanut warning. I am gracious and appreciative but I cannot take any chances. When his allergy is forgotten (like at church), I do not feel angry. I do not expect other people to protect him. I may appear panicked or emotional, but I am not upset with anyone.

I want you to know that parents of allergic children do not have all the answers about food allergies and protecting their children. We are constantly learning.

I ask you not to share frightening stories. (I have had people at different times tell me they knew someone that died from a peanut allergy.) Parents of allergic children do not need to be reminded of the worst-case scenario.

Please be understanding if you try to make something allergen free and the allergic person is still not comfortable eating the item. Above all, an allergic person has to be safe and cannot take risks.

I want you to understand that we do not want to inconvenience anyone; we only want to protect our child.

It has been impossible to protect my son from all peanut contact. He has been exposed to peanuts through physical contact. He was exposed from a child booster seat (at a restaurant that served PB&J to kids). He was exposed at an airport (touched something that someone who had eaten peanuts had touched and then rubbed his eye). He was exposed in a kid cart at Wal-Mart. He has been exposed at a friend’s house. Contact exposure (except when rubbed in his eye) has so far caused hives.

My son has not had a life-threatening reaction. But that does not mean that he does not have a life-threatening allergy. He has only ingested a tiny amount of a peanut product (peanut butter) once. With every exposure to an allergen, a body is going to fight the allergen more. One mild reaction does not guarantee another mild reaction. There is no way to know the intensity of the next reaction. David has had allergy tests yearly. The tests indicate his allergy is only getting more intense. He is required to have an EpiPen (an auto-injector of epinephrine used to treat anaphylactic shock) with him at all times.

Before I found out about my son’s peanut allergy, food allergies didn’t mean anything to me. Now, I am constantly aware of the possible danger. I do all I can to education myself. I pray for my son’s safety and I pray not to be overwhelmed with fear.

I hope that this glimpse of our struggle with a food allergy makes you more aware. If you want to do something helpful, one simple thing you can do this time of year is provide “safe” items for Halloween. Two great candy options are Dum Dum lollipops or Smarties. Another idea is to provide stickers or something non-edible.

If you’d like to read more of Jane Anne’s posts, you can check out Gravity of Motion here.

153 thoughts on “What I’d Like For You To Know: Dealing with Food Allergies in a Child

  1. Loving Mom 2 Boys says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us – I have several friends with children who have food allergies. The tip for Halloween and handing out stickers is a great one – its not like they need more sugar/fat anyway!!

  2. Mrs. Q says:

    Wow,I cannot imagine having to go through all that! Thanks for the insight into food allergies. I knew about the dangers, but it was nice to hear it from a parent’s perspective.

  3. TRS says:

    Nicely done.
    I am an adult with a litany of allergies! It a little easier as an adult because at least I can watch out for myself. I was only allergic to eggs for a small portion of my childhood so adult onset was a surprise.
    I have a list of fairly benign foods to avoid – and the worst part is ending up explaining it over dinner with grown ups! I’m a freak!
    Watching out for the trigger foods is just a habit for me – until I have to inconvenience someone else with my ‘problem’.
    Yesterday – a friend wanted to pick me up something for breakfast. I usually know the ONE thing I have at each chain restaurant – but I told her it was too much trouble to make her order for me. She insisted.
    Okay… I’ll have the Spinach and Bacon pannini but it comes with eggs – and that throws them off because the spinach is already in the scrambled egg. Just tell them no egg – it’ll just be a spinach, bacon and cheese pannini – oh and I can’t have the tomato paste they spread on it either.
    Sigh. I hate being a pain in the @$$!
    So coming from an adult with various food allergies – trust me when I say you don’t want hear about it. And trust me when I tell you I can’t have celery, carrots, tomatoes or chicken. Yeah chicken. I know you’ve never heard of anyone being allergic to any of those things before. Let it go. I’m not lying. It’s not interesting.
    Oh and one more thing. At a buffet or a salad bar – don’t use the tongs or server from one food item on another food item.
    I’m dying to have that cheese and mushroom something – but you just used the server from the tuna something and now you’ve contaminated it. That was the ONE thing on the buffet I could have and now it’s contaminated. And I want to poke your eyes out with the food server!!!

  4. Jenny in Ca says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I think it is something many of us do not understand fully- It scares me when people (I’ve run into several from my parent’s generation) do not take food allergies seriously, hinting that they think the parent is over-reacting.
    Many of us with no experience with a real food allergy, just never have thought it all through. Until we had a child in a playgroup with a severe peanut allergy, I just never even thought about the danger of just “contact” with someone who had peanut butter on their hands.
    thanks for sharing

  5. Dee says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am an adult over 40 who has had severe allergies all my life to food, other things like soap, and medicines since I was a baby.
    I am glad that people are finally realizing that childhood allergies are serious and not an excuse for picky eaters. I hate it when someone says oh don’t be picky a little won’t hurt you. My response is now to smile & say you’re right a it will only kill me.
    One issue that you didn’t address many adults assume that children use allergies as an excuse to not eat something. I always ask the child what happens when they eat ___. Children even young children with allergies know exactly what happens. If a child tells me they are allergic I prefer to believe them & then check with parents.
    Question for anyone out there. I’m allergic to most laundry detergents and the one Wisk I have been able to use for the past 20+ yrs is no longer available in our area. I am allergic to Tide, Cheer, Gain and so many I don’t remember. Any suggestions on what to do?

  6. Rhonda says:

    This is a great article. My 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with food allergies about a year ago. She’s allergic to fruit (yes, all of them), nuts, peanuts, and latex. We had the testing done when she told us fruit made her face itch. She has never liked peanuts or peanut butter, which I believe is why the allergies did not show up earlier.
    We have an epi-pen, but thankfully have never had to use it. So far, her most severe reaction was breaking out in hives after eating 3 peanut m&ms (she did not know they had peanuts in them). However, I am always aware that could change. In an instant, it could change to a life-threatening condition. It is so incredibly scary.
    About the detergent – try Melaleuca’s unscented detergent. Melaleuca.com. It is the only detergent that my daughter’s skin can completely tolerate.

  7. Tonggu Momma says:

    Thank you so much for this. My daughter’s best friends (twins) have a severe peanut allergy. I am one of four people other than their parents trusted to feed them. It’s so frustrating when others don’t take this seriously.
    I have severe food sensitivities and one food allergy (sulfites and various other preservatives). It used to be much easier, but now our mechanized food industry makes things very difficult for me. It is awkward to say the least when I have to question people about jarred versus homemade, brand names, etc. I’ve given up. We rarely eat with friends, or in restaurants. It’s just not worth it.

  8. Helen says:

    Yet another great subject for “What I’d like for you to know”!!!
    My daughter’s friend has a severe nut allergy and it took a while for some people to get it. At school we had parents asking why their darling had to go without their PB&J just because of him. We just asked them how they would feel if they knew that thier child could die at school ecause someone else had that attitude.
    S is really good about his allergy. Sometimes to the extreme, he even asks his mother if he can read ingredient lists on foods if it’s a first time!!! He generally prefers to carry his own food with him wherever he goes & his own wipes to wipe down movie theatre seats etc.
    Great series, keep it up!!!!
    Helen in Australia

  9. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Oh, I can relate. This is an excellent post. My middle son Carter grew out of his life-threatening peanut allergy, praise God, and my youngest son Gray is allergic to dairy, eggs, & nuts. I nursed him for over 2 years so I was also off all those foods, too. We really have to keep it all out of the house anyway to protect him, and are constantly reminding family about it when we go to their homes… there is a lot to think about- always thinking ahead!
    Steph

  10. Susan G. says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. Two of my children are in peanut free classrooms this year and it does help me to hear about dealing with allergies from a parent’s perspective.

  11. Renee says:

    Thanks you so much! It’ so good to know that other people are experiencing the same thing! My son was diagnosed with wheat, egg, and peanut allergies at 5 months old! Now he is three years old. Thankfully he has outgrown the wheat allergy, but the egg and peanut allergies can still be so difficult to deal with outside the home. We, too, carry an epipen. So far we have never needed to use it, but he has broken out in hives on several occasions. I’m always glad to hear about people becoming more aware to these problems. I, too, hate coming off like I’m a “picky” parent or just a plain old pain-in-the-butt, but when it comes to protecting my child I find that I have to go on the offensive because many people do seem to just brush it off.
    Thanks again!
    I love this series, Shannon!

  12. Jenni says:

    Great topic.
    I get very annoyed when people take food allergies lightly, or even get angry or “put-out” because they’ve been asked to not bring certain foods into the classroom (or wherever).

  13. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. Sometimes it is just good to hear a reminder about the seriousness of a food allergy, especially when its not part of your own life.
    May God bless your efforts!
    Cindy

  14. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. Sometimes it is just good to hear a reminder about the seriousness of a food allergy, especially when its not part of your own life.
    May God bless your efforts!
    Cindy

  15. April says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing this. I’ve always heard about people with peanut allergies, but hearing about it from the words of a parent really brought it home for me.
    I will never look at it the same way again.

  16. April says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing this. I’ve always heard about people with peanut allergies, but hearing about it from the words of a parent really brought it home for me.
    I will never look at it the same way again.

  17. April says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing this. I’ve always heard about people with peanut allergies, but hearing about it from the words of a parent really brought it home for me.
    I will never look at it the same way again.

  18. Harmony says:

    It would be scary to have a child with a serious allergy like that. You have to always be on guard. My children’s school is very good with this. Our whole school is peanut free. They can’t have anything that even has traces, it has to say “nut free”. They can’t even have the stuff that isn’t peanut butter but looks like it, just in case. Oh and a teacher this year has a citrus allergy so no citrus fruits allowed. I do hear parents complain about it but it is for safety, how can we complain about that?

  19. Harmony says:

    It would be scary to have a child with a serious allergy like that. You have to always be on guard. My children’s school is very good with this. Our whole school is peanut free. They can’t have anything that even has traces, it has to say “nut free”. They can’t even have the stuff that isn’t peanut butter but looks like it, just in case. Oh and a teacher this year has a citrus allergy so no citrus fruits allowed. I do hear parents complain about it but it is for safety, how can we complain about that?

  20. chocolatechic says:

    My daughter has food allergies too.
    The list is longer of what she is allergic to, that what she isn’t.
    We can not go out to eat.
    I must fix 2 separate meals…every single meal.
    It is difficult.

  21. Harmony says:

    It would be scary to have a child with a serious allergy like that. You have to always be on guard. My children’s school is very good with this. Our whole school is peanut free. They can’t have anything that even has traces, it has to say “nut free”. They can’t even have the stuff that isn’t peanut butter but looks like it, just in case. Oh and a teacher this year has a citrus allergy so no citrus fruits allowed. I do hear parents complain about it but it is for safety, how can we complain about that?

  22. Harmony says:

    It would be scary to have a child with a serious allergy like that. You have to always be on guard. My children’s school is very good with this. Our whole school is peanut free. They can’t have anything that even has traces, it has to say “nut free”. They can’t even have the stuff that isn’t peanut butter but looks like it, just in case. Oh and a teacher this year has a citrus allergy so no citrus fruits allowed. I do hear parents complain about it but it is for safety, how can we complain about that?

  23. Tara says:

    My girlfriend has a little guy with a peanut allergy. The first time she used a clorox type spray on my kitchen table I was only mildly offended. When I realized that she was only doing it because she was protecting her child and not that she wasn’t trusting that my house was clean I relaxed! 😉 I, too, am on the short list of people who she trusts to take care of Ian. I also found a homemade recipe for the clorox spray and saved her a ton of money!
    How is it for you when someone bakes something and saves the boxes for you so you can check them? I do that usually. In my experience it’s appreciated, but can people go overboard in telling you the precautions they’ve taken to help you protect your little guy?

  24. Tara says:

    My girlfriend has a little guy with a peanut allergy. The first time she used a clorox type spray on my kitchen table I was only mildly offended. When I realized that she was only doing it because she was protecting her child and not that she wasn’t trusting that my house was clean I relaxed! 😉 I, too, am on the short list of people who she trusts to take care of Ian. I also found a homemade recipe for the clorox spray and saved her a ton of money!
    How is it for you when someone bakes something and saves the boxes for you so you can check them? I do that usually. In my experience it’s appreciated, but can people go overboard in telling you the precautions they’ve taken to help you protect your little guy?

  25. Tara says:

    My girlfriend has a little guy with a peanut allergy. The first time she used a clorox type spray on my kitchen table I was only mildly offended. When I realized that she was only doing it because she was protecting her child and not that she wasn’t trusting that my house was clean I relaxed! 😉 I, too, am on the short list of people who she trusts to take care of Ian. I also found a homemade recipe for the clorox spray and saved her a ton of money!
    How is it for you when someone bakes something and saves the boxes for you so you can check them? I do that usually. In my experience it’s appreciated, but can people go overboard in telling you the precautions they’ve taken to help you protect your little guy?

  26. Sue D says:

    Thank you for this post! My son has a peanut allergy and it’s so frustrating when well-meaning people- even his own grandparents- don’t take it seriously. The more people hear about it, the better.
    Thanks again and thank you, Shannon, for this great series!

  27. Linds says:

    Thank you for this post! I have a son who is anaphalactic to nuts and we also avoid several other foods due to Celiac, allergies and intolerances.
    It is a whole new world thta I didn’t even now existed and I admit I misunderstood before we had food allergies.
    Many times I feel very misunderstood and overprotective, thanks for this post and helping spread understanding.

  28. Linds says:

    Thank you for this post! I have a son who is anaphalactic to nuts and we also avoid several other foods due to Celiac, allergies and intolerances.
    It is a whole new world thta I didn’t even now existed and I admit I misunderstood before we had food allergies.
    Many times I feel very misunderstood and overprotective, thanks for this post and helping spread understanding.

  29. Lesley says:

    Yep, two of my sons also have severe food allergies. I’ve been known to open a bottle of benadryl in Target and dispense while he was in the buggy.
    One of my sons is allergic to tree nuts (nuts grown on trees — pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.) He cannot even get the oil on his hands from a nut while in its shell or it will affect his breathing.
    We were at a party once where someone made brownies but took all the nuts out of the mix so as not to make him sick. Thank goodness they told me because he definitely could not have had it.
    The pediatrician told me once that they will get ahold of their allergen at some point. Just be ready with epipen when it happens.

  30. pam says:

    Thanks so much for such an informative article, Jane Anne. You did a great job explaining things that many of us overlook. My prayers are with you and David.

  31. Pennie says:

    My daughter’s school is 100% peanut free. They even sent a list of acceptable snacks home, because kids aren’t even allowed to pack those things in their lunches. Thank you for spreading awareness.

  32. Maggie says:

    Good Job!! More people need to speak up about the seriousness of real food allergies! My MIL is so severely allergic to peanuts that she can’t even tolerate the smell. two weeks before she visits us, I ban all peanut items from the house, shove the jelly to the back of the fridge (cross-contamination) and do a top to bottom scrub of my kitchen and pantry. My children are learning that loving someone sometimes means they will do without something that they like. A good lesson for all of us, I think.

  33. Maggie says:

    Good Job!! More people need to speak up about the seriousness of real food allergies! My MIL is so severely allergic to peanuts that she can’t even tolerate the smell. two weeks before she visits us, I ban all peanut items from the house, shove the jelly to the back of the fridge (cross-contamination) and do a top to bottom scrub of my kitchen and pantry. My children are learning that loving someone sometimes means they will do without something that they like. A good lesson for all of us, I think.

  34. Kimberly says:

    For those of us without true allergies (occasional sniffles when the pollen is out doesn’t count) it is hard to imagine the difficulty that can occur.
    We have all heard stories of a reaction in “someone else”. But when it happens close to you, it brings it home. My good friend’s daughter is very allergic, like David. It has been enlightening to me to learn about it.
    I do have a question, though. Does it bother you when food “sensitivities” are lumped in with true “allergies”? Or is it more of a spectrum? I can imagine when someone says that they have a milk “allergy” because they get gassy when they drink milk, that such a statement might send you over the edge.

  35. Maggie says:

    Good Job!! More people need to speak up about the seriousness of real food allergies! My MIL is so severely allergic to peanuts that she can’t even tolerate the smell. two weeks before she visits us, I ban all peanut items from the house, shove the jelly to the back of the fridge (cross-contamination) and do a top to bottom scrub of my kitchen and pantry. My children are learning that loving someone sometimes means they will do without something that they like. A good lesson for all of us, I think.

  36. Kimberly says:

    For those of us without true allergies (occasional sniffles when the pollen is out doesn’t count) it is hard to imagine the difficulty that can occur.
    We have all heard stories of a reaction in “someone else”. But when it happens close to you, it brings it home. My good friend’s daughter is very allergic, like David. It has been enlightening to me to learn about it.
    I do have a question, though. Does it bother you when food “sensitivities” are lumped in with true “allergies”? Or is it more of a spectrum? I can imagine when someone says that they have a milk “allergy” because they get gassy when they drink milk, that such a statement might send you over the edge.

  37. Kimberly says:

    For those of us without true allergies (occasional sniffles when the pollen is out doesn’t count) it is hard to imagine the difficulty that can occur.
    We have all heard stories of a reaction in “someone else”. But when it happens close to you, it brings it home. My good friend’s daughter is very allergic, like David. It has been enlightening to me to learn about it.
    I do have a question, though. Does it bother you when food “sensitivities” are lumped in with true “allergies”? Or is it more of a spectrum? I can imagine when someone says that they have a milk “allergy” because they get gassy when they drink milk, that such a statement might send you over the edge.

  38. Ruth Ann says:

    A little girl in my SS class has an allergy to high fructose corn syrup. Another little boy is highly allergic to peanuts. We have found that it is best to keep all food out of our classroom. We don’t give food for prizes – we give stickers. We don’t use food as part of the lesson – we find a something to take its place. This change has eased parents’ fears – and made our lives a bit easier, too. Do you know how difficult it is to find a processed food that does not contain peanuts OR high fructose corn syrup!! 🙂
    To be on the safe side – I’m looking for non-food items to pass out at Halloween. I’m sure it sounds like I’m a bad sport – all kids want candy, right?!

  39. Ruth Ann says:

    A little girl in my SS class has an allergy to high fructose corn syrup. Another little boy is highly allergic to peanuts. We have found that it is best to keep all food out of our classroom. We don’t give food for prizes – we give stickers. We don’t use food as part of the lesson – we find a something to take its place. This change has eased parents’ fears – and made our lives a bit easier, too. Do you know how difficult it is to find a processed food that does not contain peanuts OR high fructose corn syrup!! 🙂
    To be on the safe side – I’m looking for non-food items to pass out at Halloween. I’m sure it sounds like I’m a bad sport – all kids want candy, right?!

  40. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. This series has been amazing for me, and today’s posting showed me so much about the other side of allergies that I have never really thought about. Thanks!

  41. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. This series has been amazing for me, and today’s posting showed me so much about the other side of allergies that I have never really thought about. Thanks!

  42. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for this well written article. I have such a hard time sometimes conveying the severity of my son’s peanut allergy. A lot of people think it just means he can’t have peanuts. One lady, after being told he was allergic to peanuts, asked me if he was allowed to have peanut butter?!?
    This is in response to Kimberly. I see her post above mine and I have to say that it bothers me immensely when someone says they are “allergic” to milk because it gives them gas or a belly ache. This is one of the biggest misconceptions with food allergies. There is a huge, gigantic difference between sensitivity and allergy. I thank you for noticing the difference. Not many people do.

  43. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for this well written article. I have such a hard time sometimes conveying the severity of my son’s peanut allergy. A lot of people think it just means he can’t have peanuts. One lady, after being told he was allergic to peanuts, asked me if he was allowed to have peanut butter?!?
    This is in response to Kimberly. I see her post above mine and I have to say that it bothers me immensely when someone says they are “allergic” to milk because it gives them gas or a belly ache. This is one of the biggest misconceptions with food allergies. There is a huge, gigantic difference between sensitivity and allergy. I thank you for noticing the difference. Not many people do.

  44. rrmama says:

    Great post! Everyone needs to be aware of things that can be very harmful to children, such as food allergies. Not everyone has had exposure to this. Thank you so much for your insight and for teaching others to ask first, not assume everyone can eat the same thing. Bless you! And once again Shannon, kudos to you for sharing this with all of us. This series has been wonderful.

  45. rrmama says:

    Great post! Everyone needs to be aware of things that can be very harmful to children, such as food allergies. Not everyone has had exposure to this. Thank you so much for your insight and for teaching others to ask first, not assume everyone can eat the same thing. Bless you! And once again Shannon, kudos to you for sharing this with all of us. This series has been wonderful.

  46. Lynnet says:

    Very well done! Thank you so much for sharing this. We know a few kids that have peanut allergies, but our son is allergic to chocolate of all things! Fortunately for him, the most he’s gotten was hives, but we found this out when I was nursing him. Our two older kids had APPLE allergies when they were little, but thankfully grew out of that. Thank you for giving an awesome insight to the ever present dangers out there for people with food allergies.

  47. brandi says:

    I feel your pain…my son has a milk allergy and trying to plan a bithday party is challenging to say the least.
    I don`t want my kid to grow up in a bubble, but everytime he comes in contact with milk, cheese or anything of the like, he starts weezing and breaks out in hives :O Everyone keeps telling me he`ll grow out of it, but I`m not really sure that`s true…

  48. bmommy says:

    I feel your pain…my son has a milk allergy and trying to plan a bithday party is challenging to say the least.
    I don`t want my kid to grow up in a bubble, but everytime he comes in contact with milk, cheese or anything of the like, he starts weezing and breaks out in hives :O Everyone keeps telling me he`ll grow out of it, but I`m not really sure that`s true…

  49. Lynnet says:

    Very well done! Thank you so much for sharing this. We know a few kids that have peanut allergies, but our son is allergic to chocolate of all things! Fortunately for him, the most he’s gotten was hives, but we found this out when I was nursing him. Our two older kids had APPLE allergies when they were little, but thankfully grew out of that. Thank you for giving an awesome insight to the ever present dangers out there for people with food allergies.

  50. bmommy says:

    I feel your pain…my son has a milk allergy and trying to plan a bithday party is challenging to say the least.
    I don`t want my kid to grow up in a bubble, but everytime he comes in contact with milk, cheese or anything of the like, he starts weezing and breaks out in hives :O Everyone keeps telling me he`ll grow out of it, but I`m not really sure that`s true…

  51. Elaine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Very well said. I have a two year old highly allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts. It is so nice to see information being passed on.

  52. Kassi says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I will have to admit to being mildly annoyed that my children’s school does not allow us to pack them peanut butter sandwiches or anything that has peanuts for thier lunches. It seems like such a staple for the non allergic population. However, after reading this I understand making the environment safe for another child is more important that sending my kids to school with an easy to make lunch option. I hope that awareness continues to grow.

  53. Whitney @ Baby Tunnel Exodus says:

    When my daughter was a baby she reacted (hives, fever, vomiting and diaper issues) to every single food we tried. I nursed her every 2 hours for a Year, and continued to nurse her to 18 months because she was even allergic to Hypoallergenic formula. I was restricted to a diet of pretty much dry cheerios and beef jerky; it was a tough time for us.
    In the past year she has outgrown every allergy and intolerance but the cow’s milk. We’re grateful for God’s grace and her progress, but it remains a constant struggle to find foods she can eat. Reading labels is a fine art. Not everything says MILK. It can say butter, whey, dairy protein, Natural Flavorings – that one’s the worst. I have called plenty a 1-800 number on a package to ask for details.
    Shannon your “What I’d Like You To Know” series is invaluable; Thank You!
    Blessings, Whitney

  54. patois says:

    This should be required reading for the parents at every elementary school. Too often, I hear other parents “pooh-pooh” the big notice of “Peanut Free Classroom.” There’s a reason for that diligence. You describe it very well.

  55. Celia says:

    Thank you for the article. My younger son is allergic to eggs, dairy, strawberries (!) and nuts (peanuts and tree nuts), plus he has seasonal allergies. I am constantly searching for new recipes we can eat.
    We figured it out when he was 3 months old – he got pneumonia (I’m so thankful for that!). While he was in the hospital, on steroids and not eating, the rash he had on his face (pretty much since I brought him home for the first time) disappeared. As soon as he came home, it came back. A friend suggested eliminating milk, which made it better, and then while researching, I found that soy allergy is correlated with milk allergies. What an eye opener – soy is in EVERYTHING!!! But that made it a bit better too… The doctor suggested eliminating everything else (egg, nuts, wheat, citrus fruits) and slowly adding them back individually to see what he could tolerate. I found that it wasn’t a rash, it was eczema, and it was exacerbated by the allergies.
    The hardest part, so far, was those first few months. I was eliminating everything from my diet, since I was feeding him, while still trying to cook some “regular” foods for my husband and older son – using separate pots and so on. The doctors couldn’t do a test on him since he was too young. He was finally tested at about a year, and we will test him again next month.
    Most people and restaurants are very supportive and helpful, but it’s not their child, so sometimes things slip. I constantly carry Benadryl, and thank God, that’s all we’ve needed so far.

  56. Joanna @ Grace in the Home says:

    Thanks so much for getting this information out there. My daughter is highly allergic to eggs, and we are ever mindful of foods that she is given at home, church, restaurants, friend’s houses, etc. When she is not under our direct supervision (church nursery, etc.), she wears an allergy alert identification bracelet to reinforce the danger of her allergy. We had hopes that she would outgrow the allergy, but she is almost four years old and it seems to be getting worse. I’m sure it will be more difficult when she starts school, and I’m sure the key is to educate her caretakers and keep in close contact with the school nurse by developing an allergy emergency medical plan of action.

  57. Sarah at themommylogues says:

    Great post! I have a friend who is allergic to peanuts, and everything in the celery family (celery, carrots, parsley, etc). Having gone out to eat with her, I wish they would give restaurant servers training in dealing with allergies. It’s not enough that you don’t THINK the broccoli cheese soup has no celery in it, you need to go look at the ingredients. And now my father-in-law found out he’s allergic to wheat. There’s a challenge!
    I’ve had a few people ask me lately if my kids have any allergies before they give them a cookie or something. Something for all of us to keep in mind and be sensitive to!

  58. Erin says:

    My husband’s best friend in high school died because she ate a caramel Twix candy bar, which was made in the same factory as the peanut butter candy bars. The wrapper didn’t say anything about possibly being contaminated. My husband was devastated. We are very considerate of allergies around here. (If my husband even sees me eating a Twix he gets mad at me!)

  59. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says:

    As an adult who doesn’t have food allergies but does have definite food sensitivities, I can understand, at least a little bit, how difficult it must be. My issues are not life-threatening but are certainly challenging as I have a very strict diet and it is quite difficult eating out or eating at people’s homes. While the consequences are not the same, the problem is still there, which is trying to protect oneself against unknown ingredients. My heart goes out to you and all other parents/adults who deal with this issue on a daily basis.

  60. Crystal says:

    Unfortunately, this subject is something I am quite familiar with as my oldest son also has a nut allergy. Thankfully, he has only ever had “mild” reactions to peanuts such as vomiting and having flu-like symptoms for a couple of hours afterward, but we always carry an epi-pen and are always aware of the potential risks lurking about.
    I also want to mention something very important – JUST THE SMELL OF PEANUTS CAN TRIGGER A SEVERE REACTION! I once heard that most severe reactions from peanuts/nuts such as anaphylactic shock come from only the smelling of the offending allergen (not sure of the source of this info). My son will display the same reaction to nuts whether he ingests it or simply smells it. So please don’t assume that reactions can only occur through ingestion or contact. Thank you for a great article!

  61. laska says:

    My mom is a nurse practitioner and I still have to check everything she give my PA son. She “just doesn’t think about it”. The school didn’t think about it for field trips, until he touched a peanut butter sandwich on one. Luckily he only broke out in hives. They said they didn’t see anything wrong with him when he left school, but 2 hours after the exposure I’m calling them because I can see it? Things changed quickly after that.

  62. MamaHenClucks says:

    What a great reminder that we never know what someone else is going through. Until we discovered that my daughter has a severe latex allergy, I was always a bit ‘annoyed’ at the whole allergy thing. Having a kid who breaks out in severe hives from a band aid, or when being touched on the arm with a latex glove causes blistering hives, causes one to reconsider the biases once held. I’m thankful that for us it means simply that I carry latex free band aids and provide them to her teachers. It makes me very concious of cleaning them up well after eating PB&J at home and never packing it in their lunches.

  63. Tricia says:

    My dd has an anaphylactic allergy to dairy. It is tough, especially since so many are intolerant and most people think it’s the same thing.
    Those that are intolerant get a tummy ache. My dd could die by touching it.
    It is a rough road to walk, and even though we have had several ER trips and Epi-Pin uses due to accidental exposure in the last 9 years, the Lord has kept her safe.
    Thank you for sharing your story. The more people that understand about fatal food allergies the safer the world will be for our allergic children.
    And Thank you Shannon for having Jane Anne guest post on your site about this serious, and ofter overlooked issue.

  64. Sarah @ Short Stop says:

    One of my dear friends has a child with a severe peanut allergy. I never understood all the “fuss” until I was directly exposed to it through our friends. I was ignorant – that’s for sure.
    Now that we personally know a child who suffers with this, we are SO careful and thoughtful about everything she might be exposed to when with us/at our house. It is a privelege to love and serve her by protecting her.
    Jane Anne – I love how gracious you are! It comes through in every word.

  65. Misty says:

    I understand about the constantly learning…my son has (and I do too) asthma and we are always learning.I am always tempted to say that he has “mild” asthma however I am reminded daily that he takes 2 medications because he doesn’t HAVE to have wheezing or coughing to be having an “attack”. It’s scary, but we deal. We also don’t know what triggers it – except a severe cat allergy for one. Prayers for you and your challenges and thank you for a wonderfully written piece.

  66. Mandi says:

    Thank you for this well-written post. My daughter was allergic to milk. She has outgrown her milk allergy, but when she was a baby it was difficult to convince people that when I said she was allergic to milk I meant that she would break out in hives and scream if she ingested it, and that I meant she couldn’t have cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or any other milk products. Most people assumed that she would just get fussy if she had milk. Several times after she turned 1 I had to take cheese that someone had given her as a snack away from her, and usually the comment I got was “she can’t have cheese, either?”

  67. Cathy | Mommy Motivation says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Jane Anne. we have a wheat “allergy” in this house, actually it is celiac disease, which is an auto-immune illness too. And it is quite frustrating that people will just “dust off” the croutons from the salad. Even on a molecular level, it is THERE. Gosh, people! I still find it quite frustrating, but fortunately it is my hubby so he has to look after it himself.
    Bless you for protecting your child. I pray that you will always have enough grace and compassion to handle others’ ignorance on the topic.
    Hugs,
    Cathy

  68. AF says:

    I didn’t even think about Halloween! And I bought the Reese’s Lover package of candy to hand out! Guess we’ll rethink that.

  69. Harmony says:

    It would be scary to have a child with a serious allergy like that. You have to always be on guard. My children’s school is very good with this. Our whole school is peanut free. They can’t have anything that even has traces, it has to say “peanut free”. They can’t even have the stuff that isn’t peanut butter but looks like it, just in case. Oh and a teacher this year has a citrus allergy so no citrus fruits allowed. I do hear parents complain about it but it is for safety, how can we complain about that?

  70. Kelly says:

    Great job! I’m also a parent of a severe nut allergy child. The beginning of every school year is hard having to “re-educate” the teachers and staff, but it is simply something we live with. I live daily with faith that when I can not be with my son, he has someone else watching over him. If I did not have faith I would likely keep him locked up at home. This is NOT to mean that we are not vigilant. Peanut allergies have more than doubled in the last 5 years, it is a scary, scary mystery!

  71. A&EMom says:

    I just love these posts. You have found wonderfully kind and educated women to bravely share about their unique experiences and I find myself touched by their stories and a better person for having read them. Thanks, Shannon and to these amazing women!

  72. Peter says:

    I’m the culprit! The pastor who served the peanut butter cups.
    It’s interesting how having a casual knowledge about David’s allergy slipped my mind. I can see how parents of kids with food allergies could be suspect of food served by well-meaning people. We forget too easily. I’m hoping, though, that the fiasco of last Sunday will help not just me, but others in our church community to be more than just casually aware of what for David could very well be a life-threatening issue.

  73. Andrea@Under Grace & Over Coffee says:

    Thank you for sharing! My daughter has a peanut allergy, and while we have it under control at our house, I still get a bit scared sending her to birthday parties – I try not to feel bad for the parents when I tell them about her allergy, but I always end up apologizing and feeling guilty about it.
    As a concerned parent, I do appreciate when others make adjustments for my child. I do get frustrated, though, when close relatives don’t. I didn’t choose to have my child have life threatening allergy, and I didn’t choose to have to ask them to please keep nuts away from my child. And yet I still am battling with them (graciously, of course!) to please keep the nuts out of the house. Sometimes I feel like they don’t take it seriously, so I really appreciate that you were able to share your story. Just because a child hasn’t had a life-threatening reaction, does not mean they never will. The more people that understand, the better.
    One positive thing that has come out of my daughter’s allergy – it has made me be proactive in making sure community events in my town are peanut/nut free, as much as possible. We can make a difference in making our children’s schools and places of recreation safe for them, because other parents don’t think of it. I know I didn’t when we were free of this. And parents who don’t have kids with allergies, please don’t feel bad for not thinking of it! We really do understand!

  74. Ashley says:

    Thank you for this post. My son has severe food allergies to peanuts, eggs, dairy, soy, and wheat. It can be extremely frustrating at times because so many people are unaware and uneducated about the seriousness of some food allergies. My son is only 16 months and the past 8 months or so have been such a learning process for our family. Learning what foods to buy, reading labels, and trying to educate our friends and family have just been a few things. Anyway, thank you for putting this out there and helping to educate those that are unaware.

  75. Tiff@Three Peas says:

    I have not had to deal with this on a personal basis but that has to be scary. Thanks so much for posting this. I have always asked people if they are allergic to peanuts but i never realized that even not washing your hands after youv’ handled them can cause a reaction!

  76. Andrea@Under Grace & Over Coffee says:

    Oh, one more thing! About Halloween – you know what, it’s my job as a parent to check over my kids’ candy to make sure it is safe for them to eat. While I appreciate when other families go and buy peanut-free candy, I realize that not everyone will. My kids understand that anything with peanuts is off limits for everyone in our house – my husband takes all the offending ones to work to share there. Honestly, they get so much anyways, it really doesn’t make a difference if they don’t get to have those ones.

  77. Callista says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been reading lots about food allergies lately. I can’t imagine having to go through what you have to go through daily. I know that lots of people minimize food allergies and I hope that they realize their error soon. As a Girl Guide Leader, we try to make our group peanut free, even if none of our girls have peanut allergies because siblings could or they might have one and not know it.

  78. Gabrielle says:

    Great post! I think the majority of folks, once they know why parents of allergic kids are so vigilant, are gracious and accomodating. Thanks for bringing up a more and more common (unfortunately) issue among children!

  79. Gabrielle says:

    Oh, and one more thing – if you are handing out candy this year for Halloween, might you all consider having a bowl of nut free candy (check the packaging for any warnings) set aside from your nutty candy? I’m handing out hershey bars for non allergic kids and chocoboom bars (from enjoy life) for any allergic kids that stop by our place.

  80. Queen B says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My daughter has a friend with a peanut allergy, and I am always a nervous wreck for her to visit our home. I really appreciate your explanation…it will make me a better friend!

  81. Lori says:

    Thank you for posting this. Food allergies are serious. Even if it is just a mild reaction or severe. My son is allergic to something and I say “something” because the doctors are not able to pinpoint what it is. He had a serum allergy test and he’s not allergic to ‘the basics’ – wheat, eggs, dairy, peanuts, strawberries, etc. But his right cheek and ear get swollen, red and hot if he eats certain foods containing food colorings/preservatives/additives…like sodas, kool-aid, jello, candy, mustard (of all things!) – the list goes on. Doctors just can’t pinpoint the ingredients that are causing it. So between preschool and church I am constantly remindeing teachers/parents…Micah can’t have anything with artificial ingredients/colors. Which really limits what he can have these days. Even though it’s not life threatening – you know your child is not comfortable and something is going on inside their body that you can’t explain and it’s a little scary. So there is definitely a side to food-allergies that moms must cope with – wanting to protect our kids and be superwoman without seeming like crazy woman. Thanks again for this blog. :o)

  82. Polka Dot Mommy says:

    Thanks for sharing this! One of my children has allergies galore and Celiac, so many foods pose serious risk to her health. It is a hard world, especially when others don’t take it seriously. We are really struggling with Halloween, because like all kids, she wants to trick or treat. I am making some home made caramels, maple candy and adding in a few store bought “safe” candies so we can trade her bag out for them when we get home!
    I’m seeing more and more schools and church groups go peanut free. Some parents don’t understand and get upset. For now, our kids wear stickers on their clothing when going somewhere new and I always pack all of their food!

  83. Dee says:

    I am glad to hear so many schools are concerned and proactive about food allergies. I can remember my mom sending “safe” punch to school for parties. My punch being mixed with the other punch and having adults tell me if you don’t like it drink water. Or even being forced to sit in a corner and watch the party because I was being “difficult”.
    Does it bother you when food “sensitivities” are lumped in with true “allergies”? Or is it more of a spectrum? In response to Kim’s question not really. I have a food allergy to shellfish that causes my throat to swell if I’m even around shellfish being cooked while my allergy to strawberries causes me to have a rash and get sick. My allergy to oranges has been labeled an intolerance and I can’t even come in contact with oranges. I my throat swells and I get very, very sick. Due to asthma/respiratory problems I have problems with diary especially milk. It causes me to have breathing problems. So personally, they are all a pain.
    As, for outgrowing allergies mine have only gotten worse. The hidden things like cross-contamination from ice-scoops etc are very much a pain.

  84. Jane Anne Owen says:

    One comment about Halloween- We have a special bowl of “safe” candy at home. We go through David’s candy and take out the unsafe items (anything questionable). He gets to “trade in” those items for his favorites, which are safe.

  85. Wanda says:

    Great post! I’m a mom of a peanut allergy daughter. She’ 15 and has lived watching every single thing for nuts. Hubby’s a pastor so imagine all the church dinner’s we’ve had to go around asking people “what’s” in their dish.
    Folks do not always understand food allergies, especially dangerous ones like nuts.
    In elementary school (aka peanut butter haven)…she had to eat lunch at the “quiet” table (that’s the table you sit at if you are BAD)…this was how they wanted to protect her from exposure at the regular lunch table. Many times she was mistreated by teacher’s or janitors all because they assumed she was there for trouble!
    It can be really frustrating! People think you’re exxagerating!

  86. Jackie says:

    Great Job. My son has allergies to Yellow food coloring (yes it’s in everything from toothpaste to hand cream and prescriptions) He gets so hyper he can not contol himself. He is also allergic to milk, it makes him super super mean. His eyes gets glazed over and he thinks no one can stop him.

  87. Jo-Anne says:

    Great post – thank you so much. As a mother to a 4 year old anaphylactic allergy sufferer you have absolutely echoed all of my sentiments. I want to point out however that smarties is now producing a line of peanut butter smarties. Very frustrating and scary. My motto – if I don’t know the ingredients then we don’t serve it. Bottom line.

  88. megan says:

    Wow, that was a very enlightening post. I know several children who have a peanut allergy, but it didn’t even cross my mind when I baught this years halloween candy! Thank you for the reminder!

  89. Jeanne says:

    Thank, THANK YOU for posting this. As a mom of a Peanut and egg allergic son, this is very much appreciated! Education is the key to preventing reactions. I completely understand where this mom is coming from! I’m linking over to this on my blog as we speak! TY!!!

  90. RLR says:

    Thanks, Jane Anne, for sharing! I’m a parent of a nut- and egg-allergic preschooler, and an older child with no food allergies. Since “our” diagnosis, we have all adopted my daughter’s allergen-free diet. It has been learning experience, for sure – label-reading, educating others, etc – and I appreciate you sharing your experience with others. While I’ve blogged about it, I’m going to be linking to Rocks In My Dryer as a refresher for my readers!
    I’ve found that other people (family, friends) really do not understand that a shared equipment warning means a food is off limits in our home, and my daughter has had reactions to food where someone has ‘read the label’ but missed that important warning. Halloween is especially nerve-wracking for me. This year, we’ll be attending a costume party at a friend’s home, and I’m providing all of the candy. It’s a great arrangement for me, and the kids still get to have a good time!
    Thanks again for the great post!

  91. Elizabeth says:

    Our dd is lactose intolerant (ALL dairy: milk, cheese, ice cream — just the slight bit of milk used to make a box of mac & cheese makes her miserable) with several food (red dye) and environmental allergies (VERY allergic to dogs). I’m always on alert and reading labels, and also find it difficult to make school staff and other parents understand that a little extra care can save us a world of grief. Her daycare is nut-free and latex-free, but no further courtesy to the rest of us and lots of grumbling when telling parents that class treats cannot be red (or pink, or orange, or purple – since those are all made from red). Excellent post and best wishes to your family!

  92. Pam says:

    Thanks for writing this post! I got tears in my eyes because I can all too well relate to your story. And Shannon, thanks for posting this!!!

  93. Ewokgirl says:

    Thank you for this post.
    I wanted to respond as someone with one mild food allergy and several food sensitivities. I get horrible migraines from several foods. I realize that these are just food sensitivities; however, I do refer to them as allergies because I find that people do not take the word sensitivity seriously. While I’m not going to die from ingesting pineapple, for example, I will be beset with excruciating pain within moments. I have to read food labels religiously because some of my trigger foods are hidden in items in which you’d never expect to find them.
    Oddly enough, the one food I’m truly allergic to (milk) doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the things that trigger migraines. My histamine response is purely sinus-related and hardly life-threatening. I can even eat milk products in moderation, as the allergy is extremely mild. (And yes, allergy testing proved it; I’m not making it up.) But those foods I’m merely sensitive to cannot be touched because the response is swift and painful.
    I’m just throwing this out there because those of us with sensitivities often have to use the allergy word in order for others to actually take it seriously. As I said, I won’t die from ingesting those foods, but I will be quite sick. Food sensitivities need to be taken seriously, too.

  94. MommaChelle says:

    My son has a peanut allergy and attends a school that is not peanut free. I’m always surprised at how little adults understand about peanut allergies, especially with the growing number of children who have food allergies. The great thing is we are educating an entire new generation. My son’s classmates (for the most part) are extremely protective of him, and I have been told countless stories by parents that have had their children ask not to have peanut products placed in their lunches because of him. Now, if only the school would catch on and stop serving celery stuffed with peanut butter!!!
    And in agreement with some other comments…my son has had a reaction just from being in the same room with peanut butter. We hadn’t realized, at the time, that he could react just by smelling it. We learn something new every day.

  95. Amy in West TX says:

    I am an adult with a food allergy, to shellfish. I am the rude party guest who asks what every thing being served is. I don’t like seeming to be rude, but my life depends upon it. I do not eat anything that came from the sea because that fish might have had a shrimp for lunch. I carry an Epi-pen with me at all times. My children know what to do with the Epi-pen, should I need it. The last time I had a reaction was after having fried chicken from a restaurant chain that also serves fried shrimp. Fortunately the reaction was mild enough that benadryl took care of it. It is still scary.

  96. Jennifer says:

    thank you for posting your story. My dd has food allergies – milk, eggs and beef. they are not life threatening at this point. The milk seems to actually be getting better finally after 8 years. The egg and beef however keep getting worse. At what point will it be a life threatening reaction? I don’t know and I don’t want to find out. I too have to be obsessive about it. That was actually one of the reasons why we decided to homeschool our children. I can keep her safer at home than I could at school. You never know when something will happen.

  97. se7en says:

    This is brilliant, I have to send this post to a couple of friends. I feel so heated on this topic… how many times have people (who really seem to care and go the extra mile to accommodate our nut allergy) surely if its just a trace it will be ok… As my husband says – it doesn’t matter if a bullet is big or small you still avoid them.

  98. Kathryn says:

    As someone who loves to cook, I’m always concerned about how I should deal with this situation. I’m quite happy to make any adjustments, but I’m equally happy to host someone eating their own food and try to avoid contact triggers in the other food I prepare. However, as someone who isn’t educated on the particulars of every allergy (i.e all of the names for egg or dairy in packaged food) I don’t think this is the place for my pride or ignorance to shine through. Is it appropriate to offer to adjust, request a list and also mention that I won’t be hurt if they bring their own? Its difficult to know the most gracious way to show my willingness to try, but also my acceptance that they may just feel more comfortable with their own food. Do people with allergies have lists they can give out? Thus far I’ve only encountered people with intolerances or strict diets and I do my best and try to be transparent!

  99. Katie (Perfectly Cloudy) says:

    I am a teacher and I have 2 kids with severe peanut allergies. I have to carry epi pens on me all the time. I wish that the other parents in my class would understand how serious it is. They are always sending in treats with pb even though I have sent notices home. I try so hard to keep these kids safe, I can’t even imagine how it is for the parents!

  100. Audra says:

    I had the exact same experience as Whitney at Baby Tunnel Exodus. Breastfed my baby every 1.5 hours, 24 hours a day and could never put him on formula. He too, eventually outgrew all his allergies and now just has a milk sensitivity. I however, was diagnosed with severe food allergies only 5 years ago. I am allergic to peanuts and highly allergic to soy, which is in the peanut family and like someone said above, is literally in everything. I once had hives for three weeks straight because of soymilk. I think it’s important for parents of children with peanut allergies to consider soy also, since they are so closely related and limit the child’s intake of soy. It seems like it could only help.

  101. Tanya says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article. My daughter is 21 months old is allergic to nuts & eggs. Tonight my son is having a soccer party at a local restaurant and my daughter and I are staying home once again …. it just isn’t worth the risk.

  102. Loni says:

    Shannon, I have enjoyed these guest posts, but this one really touched me since I have a daughter with a tree nut and peanut allergy. Thank you so much for sharing these amazing women and their stories with us.

  103. Char @ DigiScrapChat says:

    Thank you for today’s post, Shannon!
    My daughter is 19 months old, and is allergic to milk, wheat, eggs, and peanuts. We found out earlier this summer, and it has been difficult to say the least, and I’m still adjusting to the new “normal”.
    This is our first Halloween to deal with it, and I’m just not sure yet how we’ll be handling trick or treating. Our daughter is not really old enough to know what she’s missing, but her big brothers of course want to go, and we’re trying to come up with a plan for keeping the unsafe candy out of our home.
    Thanks again! It’s a help and comfort to read the words of someone else dealing with this too…

  104. sarah says:

    on the other hand sometimes people who dont know all the facts (and even those who do) over exagerate. my father delights in telling anyone who’ll listen that my son will DIE INSTANTLY if he eats anything with even the smallest trace of egg in it. no, he wont. we are lucky to only have a very mild allergy, and he’ll feel a bit ill for a while and get a rash. (pistachios and hazelnuts however..)
    everyone should of course assume the worst in every situation, to be on the safe side, because you never know when someone is downplaying their allergy… but it can still be frustrating.

  105. Maggie says:

    Good Job!! More people need to speak up about the seriousness of real food allergies! My MIL is so severely allergic to peanuts that she can’t even tolerate the smell (Crystal is right). two weeks before she visits us, I ban all peanut items from the house, shove the jelly to the back of the fridge (cross-contamination) and do a top to bottom scrub of my kitchen and pantry. My children are learning that loving someone sometimes means they will do without something that they like. A good lesson for all of us, I think.

  106. Carrie of Ceaseless Praises says:

    Thanks for sharing this- it was so good for me to read! I work at a summer camp where we have to deal with kids who have food allergies sometimes- none as severe as this, at least in the years I’ve worked here..
    There is a mom at my church whose son is allergic to dairy & wheat, and she won’t send him to camp although I know he’d really enjoy it, and I’ve offered to oversee his food for the week, but she wasn’t comfortable with that. This post helped me understand even better what she’s going through. Thanks for sharing!

  107. Ann G says:

    Thanks for sharing with us your struggles. I totally understand what you go through. My almost 5 year old son is HIGHLY allergic to EGGS and MILK…so it is a constant battle to feed him. Fortunately, he has food challenged out of wheat, soy and peanuts, so he can eat ALOT more than he could this time last year! Thanks for spreading the word!

  108. halfmoon girl says:

    Really appreciated reading this. Our 5 year old son has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts as well. I can relate to everything mentioned here, especially church situations-seems that a lot of candy can be used for rewards. It is amazing how good our son is about checking to make sure food is safe when we are not at home. He knows to show people his bracelet too. I too try to show grace to others who do not realize the seriousness of his condition.

  109. Kristen Schiffman says:

    I’m in my 20’s and about two months ago I developed a severe allergic reaction to tree nuts. Though that is rare it does happen. I was in the hospital, unable to breathe about three weeks ago after eating a “familiar” food that I didn’t know had nuts in it — even after checking labels for weeks before hand!
    I said to my husband how I could not imagine a child having to deal with this allergy or how a parent must feel. I, at least, have the ability to speak up for myself and read everything I eat. If I had to, I could administer my Epi-Pen…but a child? My goodness.
    I am SHOCKED at the amount of foods made with and/or around nuts. It is disheartening to say the least. I’ve had a hard time eating over the last few months because of the fear of another reaction. I’m coming around…slowly but surely!
    I think it is so important for others to grasp the severity of these allergies and how serious they can be for those of us suffering.
    Thanks so much for this.

  110. jenni says:

    BIHK (Before I Had Kids), I taught 2nd grade and once had a CRAZY MOM who would rush into the room, frazzled and upset because her food-allergic son had traded snacks with someone and HadISeenIt?WhatWasIt?WhatWasInIt?CouldIKeepAnEyeOnThisFromNowOn (during my recess break)? I mentally rolled my eyes and thought, “this poor woman must have NOTHING to do…”
    Of course, I now have a severely-FA son and am that Crazy Mom; nuts, shellfish, eggs are Class 5, but also allergic to wheat, soy, barley, corn, etc. etc. He once brushed a bin of peanuts IN PASSING at the grocery store and got hives up to his elbows. I don’t care who calls me crazy, I am vigilant about what he eats. Praying he outgrows them as he has many others.

  111. Terri says:

    Thank you for sharing! My daughter, 9 is allergic to peanuts, walnuts, dairy, eggs and sesame seeds. She has had an anaphylactic reaction to these and it’s horrible to go through this. People don’t always understand the severity of it and it’s good that you are making them aware. Thank you!
    Terri

  112. Amy says:

    How funny that this was posted yesterday and I received it when I got home from dinner where we discussed nut allergies over a piece of peanut butter pie.
    I have a question. My daughter’s entire pre-school is nutfree. It’s not that big an inconvenience to me, and I don’t mind, but it got me thinking – if there are kids out there who are SO allergic that they can die if they’re exposed to air that contains peanuts, how do you (as the parent) ever take them anywhere? Can you seriously never go to a restaurant (because of the PB pie) or the circus or the grocery store (especially ones with delis)? How do you manage basic, everyday chores if you don’t/can’t know what’s in the air?
    My other question is a little more personal. I have a completely unscientific theory that the uptick in food allergies that we’ve seen in the past 5 or 10 years is because a generation of women who weren’t breastfed are having another generation of children who aren’t being breastfed… I think (again, completely unscientifically) that breastfeeding exposes the baby to micronutrients, and gets them used to foods before they’re eating them, themselves. Did you breastfeed your allergic child? Were you breastfed yourself as a baby? Please understand that I am not looking to blame you or anyone – I just think it would be good for everyone if we knew why allergies were increasing, and had the ability to do something about it.
    Thanks for this article – very timely!

  113. kcjayhawk says:

    i never realized how serious peanut allergies could be until i was a flight attendant. the majority of the medical emergencies that we had on-board were related to them. very scary.

  114. Amblin says:

    Great post! One of my sons has lifethreatening food allergies to milk, egg, and peanuts. It is a daily thing for us as well. Thanks for writing about this and for doing your part to educate others.

  115. Emily says:

    Thank you!!!! My daughter has the same peanut allergy and we go through the same problems. It is so frustrating when people think that you are overreacting when the truth is they just don’t get it. I understand that other parents don’t have to memorize ingredient lists and food – I don’t expect them to be as obsessive as me. I just want them to be obsessive when they watch her. I hope this post educates more people on the seriousness of food allergies.

  116. Laura says:

    A great post! Thank you for writing this. My 9 year old has food allergies to dairy, wheat, soy, eggs and fish and the more awareness we can get out there the better.
    Thank you!!

  117. Lucretia says:

    Oh brother can I relate – but it isn’t my kids (thank God!) – its my beloved husband. He has the severest form of allergic reaction to WALNUTS. There is an epi pen at work, at home, in the cars. ALWAYS. We don’t eat bakery goods, deserts in restaurants (even if there aren’t walnuts in the desert you order, the same knife may have been used on the chocolate walnut torte). He’s had reactions from “whole grain” breads that contained walnut flour and scented candles that used walnut oil as a scent. If the company makes a product that uses walnuts in any form, we just don’t buy any of their stuff. I don’t do cookie exchanges or buy prepared foods from school fundraisers – too much risk. We don’t accept food gifts of any kind from ANYBODY.
    You would not believe how many people don’t take this seriously – HR at his job actually had to threaten a co-worker with disciplinary action because he kept bringing in walnuts to “snack” on and of course everything he touched got a layer of walnut oil residue. Despite repeated explanations this guy just couldn’t believe that walnuts could be “a problem”. Another co-worker kept bringing in baked goods and telling him “those are pecans”, because she thought that food allergies were all in the head, and once he’d eaten walnuts he’d get over it. Thankfully his allergies are so intense that smelling the baked goods let him know there were walnuts(his nose goes numb within 15 seconds) and she left for another job.
    For anyone who has never witnessed anaphylactic shock – its an experience you really can do without. The doctor at the emergency room did tell us that short of drinking walnuts in some form of liquid, his mouth would go numb before he swallowed – oh, did I mention that certain beers…”nut brown ales” contain…walnuts. Yeah – I even read beer labels – its gotta be love.

  118. Brandi says:

    Thank you for this post!! My 6 yr. old son has a severe peanut allergy as well, so I know exactly how you feel!!! Sometimes I get the impression that family gets frustrated with me b/c I ALWAYS ask over and over again “Does that contain nuts, Can I read the label?” Plus every single time I leave my son in someone else’s care, even family, I remind them about the Peanut allergy. I know I must sound paranoid, but in a way I am. I don’t want my child to die. Our family has lived with this knowledge now for 4 years, so we have learned to deal with it and some of the fear has subsided. I know his life is in God’s hands, but I am a Mama and I can’t help but worry. And this is something that will most likely be a part of his life forever, so I will still worry even when he is no longer a child, in fact, I will probably worry even more.

  119. Brandi says:

    I am just writing again in response to Amy’s questions.
    I was not breastfed as a child but I did breastfeed all 3 of mine. My second born, the one with the peanut allergy, was nursed exclusively for the first 6 months before I even added any solid foods to his diet. He never had formula, and he was nursed until he was 18 months old.
    I thought by breast feeding, my kids would be healthier, but then I ended up with a child who is severely allergic to peanuts, and I think he is probably allergic to some other non food things, too. He also had eczema as a child and sometimes has mild breakouts every now and then.
    I, too, wonder why the peanut allergy is on the rise. In all the research I have done, I can’t seem to find any answers to that question.

  120. Amy says:

    This is in response to Amy’s comment. I think that making the kind of comment that you did was completely inappropriate. Peanut allergy can happen to anyone whether they were breastfed or not. I was breastfed but my son wasn’t and he has a peanut allergy. I know a woman who is allergic to peanuts so has never eaten them, breastfed her children and they are fine. Clearly they were never exposed to peanuts through breastmilk.
    One (lay public) cannot rationalize why more children are ending up with peanut/food allergies, autism and any number of medical problems. Could it be pollution? Contaminents? Genetics? Many doctors have found allergies to be hereditary. For instance, my daughter has a 40% higher than any other child of having a peanut allergy just because her brother has one.
    I just feel that doctors should be left to do the theorizing.

  121. Seth says:

    In response to Amy’s post:
    There are some doctors who have done extensive research on the reasons that peanut allergies in children occur more than twice as much now as they did in 1997 and they have arrived at several different reasons. The truth is that no one knows why. Thank you Jane Anne for so eloquently telling our story.

  122. Fiddledeedee says:

    Very well written indeed. I have a son with a long long list of food allergies. It has changed our lives. I pray he outgrows them. And in the meantime, I don’t feel so alone, because there are so many “allergy moms” out there going through the same trials that I am.
    I learn something new everyday because of other moms who have been down this road before me. Thank you.

  123. Nickey says:

    Regarding Dee’s question about detergents…
    “I am allergic to Tide, Cheer, Gain and so many I don’t remember. Any suggestions on what to do?”
    I also can not use many detergents. Coming into contact with clothes that have been washed in Tide or others similar causes me to have severe breakouts of hives and breathing problems. Also have daughter with eczema. We started using Biokleen (http://biokleenhome.com/) about two years ago and now use nothing else. Neither one of us has any reaction to it.

  124. Joanne Basile says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am a mother of two boys who both have multiple, severe allergies. Its really so hard as so many people don’t understand. I know when I’m getting that “Oh, over protective mom” look but to be honest, I don’t care. I’d rather get the look than take a risk. Thank you so much for such a well written article….

  125. Kathy says:

    Amen. I have two peanut allergic teenagers. It does get easier as they get older (though no less scary). One of the hardest things for us as moms is knowing that that have to deal with this forever…

  126. yippee says:

    my sister when out to a restaurant to celebrate her best friends birthday who had a bad peanut allergy. her parents had called the restaurant multiple times to make sure they got rid of all traces of peanut in the pans and everything. however somehow the girl still ate something with peanuts in it. she called to her mom to use the epipen but the mom was so panicked she stabbed her own leg by accident. luckily the girl had and extra one in her purse and managed to administer it herself. she still had to be taken to the hospital in the middle of her own party.

  127. Jamie says:

    This is my first time commenting on your sight but wanted to say I love these posts. What a wonderful idea to give everyone insight into others lives. The post today really touched my heart because my son too has severe allergies.
    My son is severely allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, barley, oats, as well as a ton of external allergens and chemicals. My son was diagnosed as a baby to these allergies.
    Thank you for writing about contact reactions! People are constantly wanting to touch a baby and are not aware that having just touched one of my sons allergens and then touching my sons face could be a life threatening event.
    Also, just wanted to say it was so great that you mentioned handing out safe Halloween candy. These kids are already left out of so many events it is really nice when people make a special attempt to include them!

  128. Dani says:

    I too, deal with many food allergies. My 7 year old daughter has many. I am thankful for mama’s like you that can help keep people aware by writing.

  129. Jessica says:

    My 4 year-old daughter is severely allergic to peanuts as well. She is in preschool now and I work very closely with the teacher on their snack options. I am terrified about regular kindergarten next year. Thanks for expressing the fact that we do not wish to be irritating with all our food requirements. It is literally life or death with my daughter. No room for politely eating something you’re not 100% sure about.

  130. Em says:

    Thank you for this incredible post!! What I find the most frustrating about my son’s peanut allergy is that some people want concrete facts and black/white rules. It’s not that easy folks. Believe me. My son’s first reaction was scary enough (top lip swelled to his nose, he “felt tired” and wanted to lay down – drop in blood pressure). That was at the age of 3 – he’s now 6. We don’t know for sure what his next reaction may be. He may not have another one. His next might be the worse case scenario.
    We just don’t know. Food allergy monitoring is an art, NOT a science!
    Em

  131. Cori says:

    My oldest daughter (of 3) has celiac, dairy sensitivities and a true egg allergy. Until she was diagnosed I never knew why she was sick all the time. I missed day after day of work because the daycare wouldn’t take her if she had vomited within 24 hours – which was all the time! I knew she wasn’t “sick” in a viral way, so eventually I just sent her anyway. Poor thing – the doctors were clueless too.
    Finally, I met a mom in the park and we started talking about our kids. She told me about a local naturopath who could blood test for food issues (we had tried prick testing and it all came back negative). Well, she had severe sensitivities to everything you could imagine, from lettuce to soy to gluten to watermelon – about 30 foods in all. We eliminated everything after the poor 5 year old was told no more of any of her favorite foods – no milk, no peanut butter, no bread, no cereals, no oats, no watermelon, no pears, no cookies…
    After slowly discovering the new world of foods she could eat, her sensitivities got less and less. Now, after more than a year, she can eat everything except cow dairy, chicken eggs, and gluten. The only one she has ever had a severe (meaning scared for her life) reaction to is chicken eggs. Celiac is a disaster too though. The other day she ate 3 elbow noodles off a serving spoon at a friend’s house (on purpose)and came home with a severe tummy ache and nausea. Some activated charcoal helped a bit, but she also had intestinal issues from those 3 tiny noodles later on.
    The best way to reach out is to ask what you can feed the child well in advance if you are ever in that position. Sunday School is an issue for us too because they often have snacks. Even communion is bad for my daughter. They decided to keep rice crackers for her to eat instead of the bread, but they are so crunchy that she is too embarassed to eat it while everyone else silently chews their bread! So think ahead, and always offer to let allergic people bring their own food – it’s not an insult. It’s much more comforting to eat a cupcake from home knowing you won’t end up in the hospital than having a slice of nice-looking birthday cake at a friend’s party.
    It can also be eye-opening to talk more about what allergic people can eat than what they avoid. For instance, we now buy Juwar flour from the local African grocer, sweet rice flour from Amazon.com, raw goat milk from a farm near my mom’s house, and we started raising ducks because she can eat duck eggs. So avoiding grocery store milk and wheat bread isn’t the end of the world. In our case it’s begun a whole new one.

  132. Jen C. says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! My 3-year-old son has PA and I am in tears relating to the story. I have sent this to my extended family so they can better understand; and I plan to send it to anyone involved with my son. These will be our first holidays with PA, so I am very nervous. I plan on sending this to everyone in the family, so maybe I can relax a little on Thanksgiving and Christmas!

  133. veereg says:

    Yhanks you for this post and Thank Jane your article is very insightful.Just made me more empathetic to people with allergies..Thanks

  134. Nancy says:

    Well said! My oldest son has egg and peanut allergies, and the most difficult thing has been entrusting him to the school for in-class treats and the lunch room. People have made insensitive comments to me about how inconvenient it is for them (!) to provide a snack (we provide our own anyway), so I’m sure they have no idea how deadly it can be. Thanks for sharing the reality so more people know what it’s like.

  135. Tabetha says:

    My mom has very serious allergic reactions and is actually allergic to more food than she isn’t allergic to. I also have 3 children with food allergies, with 2 of them being allergic to peanuts. Thankfully none of them have ever had anything besides hives, but it is true that a milk reaction could suddenly become serious with no warning, I take food seriously.
    I saw in the comments that several people said that their children “outgrew” allergies (although I did not read ALL the comments). I would like to mention that the allergy in those cases may actually still be there.
    My daughter used to break out in hives every time she ate peanut or drank out of the same cup as someone who had eaten peanuts. One day we accidentally gave her peanut, and she had no reaction at all. We found out later, when she was old enough to tell us, that it makes her throat itch. I believe she is still allergic and have begun to keep her off peanuts again.
    I was allergic to milk as a child and “outgrew” it. Now I am discovering that, even though I do not have a major reaction to milk, it does cause problems for me.
    This leads me to believe that those “intolerances” that were mentioned above, may actually be allergies. They are just serious allergens. They don’t cause major stress and fear that your child is going to die, but they are still considered allergies. It is kind of like a fender bender. A fender bender is not nearly as scary as a head on collision, but it is still an automobile crash. One is just way scarier than the other. (Hope this doesn’t offend anyone).
    I know from experience that allergens can cause very mild symptoms that you may not be aware of as allergy. When I took my son to be tested (allergic to egg, milk, & peanuts), I was given a list of signs of allergy to look for. A few of the things on the list are red face, constipation, diarrhea, behavioral changes, itchy throat, and headache.
    I have discovered that when I take out the foods that cause problems for me, I feel more energetic and naturally lose weight that I thought I would never lose. Chances are that if you continue to avoid foods you used to be allergic to, you will feel more energetic and all around healthy!

  136. MM says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post! I have major issues with a gluten intolerance and a dairy allergy. My father has them, as well as several people on his side of the family tree. We don’t deal with life-threatening, but eating the wrong thing can have dramatic health problems for WEEKS. I’ve had a hard time with some folks thinking I’m just a picky eater. They don’t understand that nobody would CHOOSE to be allergic to dairy or have a gluten-intolerance. It’s an expensive diet! LOL!
    Anytime I prepare a meal for someone, I ask if there are any type of diet restrictions I need to consider. I only wish more were aware. So thank you for bringing this awareness about. As soon as I read the title, I was breathing a sigh of relief!

  137. Caron says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My son, age 2, has peanut allergy. It was discovered just over a year ago when he took a bite of his big sister’s peanut butter sandwich. His eyes were so swollen, he could barely see. Luckily, he did not have an anaphylactic reaction. My question is, how do you know the allergy is getting more intense? His allergist told me there is only a test to determine if the allergy exists, but there is nothing to determine the intensity. Please let me know what this test it, so I can have him tested. Thanks! and Thank you for the great article!

  138. Jamie says:

    I work in a very large church in the Children’s Ministry. I know we have about 10 kids with life-threatening peanut allergies and they are quite serious. We even have an adult on staff that has it too.
    We have a “safe snack” list that we give to all of our classes so none of these angels are affected by an “oops.”
    I keep dum dum suckers and smarties in my desk for all of the little kiddies!!!
    By the way, I L-O-V-E your blog!!!

  139. Jane Anne Owen says:

    In response to Caron’s question- At his first skin prick test when he was an infant, after the standard 15 minutes, he had a raised, red bump (that looked like a mosquito bite). Based on the size of the bump, the allergiest determined he had a significant allergy. By the time he was tested last year (at 4), he started screaming and pointing to the prick for peanuts (he was being tested for numerous allergens) before there was a visible reaction. It started hurting him within a minute. It was very painful for him in that one spot, whereas the other items he turned up to be allergic to didn’t bother him (just produced the small red bump). In no way does an allergy test determine what kind of allergic reaction he might have, but his test results indicate that his body is much more sensitive to the allergen than it was when he was smaller.
    The Mayo Clinic website says: “A positive skin test means that you may be allergic to a particular substance. Bigger bumps usually indicate a greater degree of sensitivity.”

  140. Caron says:

    Ok. Thanks for the info. My son was tested right about when he turned 2. The allergist said he was very allergic because it almost immediately turned red and ended up with a pretty big bump. Thanks again! I am glad I found your blog. Sometimes I think I am being overly protective, and then I read something like this and I think I should even more protective. I have let him eat cakes and cupcakes from Wal-Mart and other grocery stores. Thankfully nothing happened, but I know now it could. I will have to start making his at home now.

  141. MountainLamb says:

    I’ve battled this for over 12 years now with my oldest and 10 years with my youngest daughters. Kendra has a milk allergy – though since I breastfed her as a baby – I didn’t figure this out right away … I would give her a taste of cheese or ice cream, and 2 days later she would have the worlds worst diaper rash. Then after her first birthday we gave her a bottle of milk. She didn’t care much for it – only drank a few ounces. And 2 days later her bottom looked like raw hamberger with huge blisters that would pop and ooze and bleed and terrible diarriah which would last exactly 3 days. Then in 24 hours the whole thing cleared up and the scabs rapidly healed. But because the reaction was not immediate – I didn’t make the connection. Then the third try I put her into the bath and the rash was up to her neck, down both arms, and down both legs, and creeping around to her stomach … that is SOME diaper rash. A month later I gave her just a mouthful of milk and got this reaction 2 days later. As a side note – she also became highly aggitated, uncooperative, bouced around and off the walls and slept very little over those 3 days. This erradic behavior would usually start approxamately 12 hours before the rash showed up.
    Do you know people refuse to believe she is allergic to milk – a mouthful won’t hurt her and NO FOOD can change a child’s behavior? I could have screamed.
    Then when Vannan was not quite 2, she was hopitalized with difficulty breathing. 3 hospital bills later, they diagnosed her with severe asthma caused by animals (especially cats# and pollens and molds. Now every person we knew had cats – even us. They don’t think a few minutes will hurt her – or that petting a cat can cause a reaction.
    Now at almost 14 and 11, they manage their own symptoms. Kendra handles milk in tiny quantities without a rash #if she doesn’t get it more than once a week) and Vannan can walk across the yard where the cats live without gasping for breath. But we had some very scary moments when they were very small.
    Allergies are serious stuff. I always ask my Cubbies and try to be very careful with any child I come in contact with to make sure I know if they have any and what they are allergic to.

  142. MountainLamb says:

    When we had Vannan’s first skin test done, the nurse forgot to rub antihistamine cream on her back. That night she began screaming and crying about her back. She had 1 full rack of tests plus 3 extra pricks. She now had 5 new spots that were ugly red bumps and were itching and hurting. They had not shown up in the 15 minute test.
    I asked the doctor about them the next visit (one week later). She was very surprised, but hastily checked her chart and marked the 5 new items. All were trees in the area.
    So the skin prick test will not catch everything. Kendra does not react at all to milk with one – although her reaction 36 hours later use to be very severe.
    If you suspect an allergy – keep charts of what they eat – limit the foods for 2 weeks and then introduce a new food once every 2 weeks and wait 3 days for any reaction. It’s very time consuming – but you will catch stuff that doesn’t show up with a skin prick test.

  143. A says:

    If a school insists on going entirely peanut-free (or whatever-free, be it wheat or citrus, etc), then the school should be responsible for providing free meals/snacks to every child who does not have an allergy who would otherwise have brought their own from home. And they’d damn well better have good vegetarian and vegan meals in the cafeteria, if peanuts, legumes and soy aren’t allowed.
    I don’t know how I would have survived in school otherwise. all I could eat for breakfast and lunch was peanut and jelly in the school cafeteria. There was no other option, and I was not allowed to bring food from home because we could not afford it (breakfast/lunch were provided for free).

  144. A says:

    If a school insists on going entirely peanut-free (or whatever-free, be it wheat or citrus, etc), then the school should be responsible for providing free meals/snacks to every child who does not have an allergy who would otherwise have brought their own from home. And they’d damn well better have good vegetarian and vegan meals in the cafeteria, if peanuts, legumes and soy aren’t allowed.
    I don’t know how I would have survived in school otherwise. all I could eat for breakfast and lunch was peanut and jelly in the school cafeteria. There was no other option, and I was not allowed to bring food from home because we could not afford it (breakfast/lunch were provided for free).

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