Do we really need to carry the Epi Pen everywhere we go? Even if
we aren't going to be eating?
Absolutely! Two reasons:
Bits of peanuts or peanut butter can be anywhere. Even if you are simply
going to the park, another group may have had peanut butter
sandwiches for their park snack. Those children may have got it on their
hands and transferred it on the playground equipment. If your child
comes into contact with it, it could put him or her in real danger. .
Second, while anaphylactic shock usually occurs within minutes of coming
into contact with the allergen, it can also happen hours
afterwards. So, even if you won't be eating, you child could suffer a reaction
for something he or she came into contact with a few hours ago.
I have read a news story about a small boy who passed away after another
child at his school consumed a peanut butter sandwich. It happened after
lunch, on the playground. He did not eat the sandwich and I do not believe
the teacher had the Epi Pen with her.
How much of a piece of peanut is enough to cause anaphylactic
I have read many articles from 1/200 of a piece to 1/1000 of a piece. Either
way, its a trace amount with the possibility of causing
anaphylactic shock in even airborne particles.
What precautions should we take if we need to fly?
Let the airline know that you will be traveling with a child with a life threatening peanut allergy. There are some that have stopped serving
peanuts on flights totally, some that will not serve them on the flight if an allergic person will be on board, and some that will continue to
serve them even though they know they are putting someone in danger. I say, don't fly those of course! If its the cheapest flight, pay the
extra. You can't replace your child. Also, I have learned that you should fly the first flight of the day . The planes are usually cleaned nightly so
there is less chance of peanut crumbs on the plane.
But, even if the airline agrees not to serve peanuts on your flight, there is still a chance though that a person sitting near you may have
brought their own peanuts for their in flight snack! Ugh! This again puts peanuts in the air in a closed environment. You could ask them
nicely not to - most people will understand.
Bring your Benadryl and 2 Epi-Pens with 2 shots each so you have enough for two hours in case your child does go into anaphylactic shock
for the plane to land.
Any ideas for making carrying the Epi Pen and Benadryl easier?
I know it isn't easy but seriously, is your child's life worth the risk? I never have a problem b/c I carry everything in my purse. My criteria for
buying a new purse is to see if the Emergency Pack fits in it! No more small purses for me! But, my ex likes to carry things in his pocket. So
he carries the Epi Pen and one of the Perfect Measure Benadryl spoons in his pocket. It is about as uncomfortable as a wallet - so not at
all! The Benadryl Perfect Measure spoons have been a lifesaver! I do hope they start making them for adults soon too! It would be great for
adults with peanut allergies to be able to have this!
Do you allow foods that your child cannot eat in your house?
I do not. I truly believe that your home should be a safe haven for everyone that lives there. If I allowed peanuts in it, that would not make it
so for my son. Now, if you have several children with several different food allergies, this will not be the case, I know. But, personally, I have
one child with a peanut allergy. I read the labels of anything that enters my house. I am not going to put him at additional risk.
What about reading labels? Can we have things that may contain peanuts or are processed in a plant with peanuts? I mean the
chances are slim, right?
The chances are slim. But for something that can kill your child - are you willing to risk it? Remember 1/200 -1/1000 of a piece of a peanut
is enough to cause harm. The warnings are there for a reason: Lets say for example, a Milky Way Bar (which doesn't contain peanuts) is
made next to Snickers Bar (which does). A piece of peanut from the Snickers line flies off and lands on the Milky Way line (or maybe a
worker unknowingly transfers it). This will end up in your food and could cause a reaction. I use this example because Milky Way does
actually state a warning. There was a college student who had been eating the same brand of cookies for years. It said it "may contain
peanuts". He felt safe - he had has this cookie before. Well, he was at the vending machine, got the same cookie and that one was
contaminated. He died within minutes.
Also, remember that any type of food can be contaminated with peanuts. I have even seen fruit snacks and white bread list the warning. It is
imperative that we as parents read the labels on every single thing we buy - every time we buy it. Companies change their manufacturing
processes from time to time. They may decide to outsource a brand. So, even if you have bought the same brand of something, such as
fruit snacks for years, read the label every time you buy them. They could have added something with peanuts to their plant. You won't know
it unless you read the labels every single time.
What about chocolate? Is there any my child can have?
Last time I read, Junior Mints were safe as well as Andes Mints. Hershey's makes some of their regular sized bars and kisses on their own
line so some of those are free from cross contamination. Hershey's will also list if a product is cross contaminated, so if it doesn't say it, it
is supposed to be safe. I would say call the customer service number the first time you decide to try it. I have only used their cocoa to make
our own chocolate fudge at home. Their cocoa is safe, but again, read it every time you buy it to make sure nothing has changed.
Also, Nestle has a peanut free plant in Canada where some different chocolates are manufactured. You can search the Internet to buy
them. They aren't available in the United States stores.
My school is peanut free. I have nothing to worry about, right?
Peanut Free schools, in my opinion, provide a false sense of security. They are safer than regular schools because you don't have the
danger of concentrated peanuts or peanut butter there, but it does take teachers and parents off their guard. There is still a real risk that a
child brings something that has been cross contaminated and will share it with your child. If the teacher hasn't been trained on cross
contamination and feels that the allergy kids are fully safe because he or she works in a "peanut free school", he or she may not stop it. So,
even if your school is peanut free (lucky you - ours isn't), train the teachers on the risks of anything being contaminated and definitely teach
your child to only eat his or her own food.
What types of restaurants are most risky?
Asian Restaurants and Bakeries - we do neither. I also won't do buffets - you have every single person cross contaminating food. Anything
with a lot of spices, such as chili is also a danger (see Mark Nicholson story in News Articles).
What precautions should we take when eating out?
Always let the waiter know your child has a peanut allergy. Even if your child is ordering the macaroni and cheese which is almost always
safe, let them know. The chef should take extra precautions when preparing your child's food. He or she should use fresh utensils and
clean the cooking area to ensure nothing with peanuts gets in your child's food. I say SHOULD rather than WILL - because well, people are
people. You can't be sure. Most food allergies deaths occur when eating out versus in. So, be nice and firm and let them know - and let
them know how serious it is. Many times we have had the owner or the manager come out and tell us that they have taken measures and
our food will be safe.
How can I ensure my child always has peanut free snacks at school and isn't left out when other kids bring cupcakes of cakes for
birthdays or holidays?
Ask the teachers to let you know when that will take place so you can pack your child his own special fun snack. I know many times this is
unpredictable. So, personally, I am considering bringing a few every Monday for them to keep in the refrigerator to last through the week. Its
a small investment so he doesn't feel left out - just a few bucks a month.
Why, in the Jude The Dude cartoon, does Jude say he brings his own cupcakes to parties? No one serves peanut butter cake! Most
Baked goods are usually cross contaminated with peanuts as are many cake mixes. There are a few that are safe. We tend to just bake our
own from scratch or use a yellow cake mix in which we have read the ingredients. The yellow pre-made mixes are usually made on their
own line since they are the most popular. But again, read the ingredients.
Are there things I should worry about other than food we eat?
Bird Seed and Animal Food may contain peanuts so read the labels before buying those as well. They wont' list the allergens at the end
like human food does, so you have to read the entire label. Lots of hamster food has peanuts in it. Your child won't be eating it, but you don't
want him or her handling it!
My child has never had a life threatening reaction. He or she only developed a rash last time coming in contact with peanuts. I don't need to worry
since it isn't that serious, right?
Nope. Peanut Allergies are the most fatal of all food allergies. They are the leading cause of food allergy deaths. There is no "slightly
allergic" to peanuts. If you are allergic to peanuts every single reaction has the potential to go anaphylactic. Take precautions all the time.
How many people suffer from peanut allergies in the Unites States?
One in 200.
What is the chance a peanut allergy sufferer will suffer anaphylactic shock in their lifetime.
It has been stated that 1/3 of all peanut allergy sufferers will suffer a severe reaction (either near fatal or fatal) to peanuts. There are
approximately 150 deaths per year due to peanut allergies.