Hi Jude! When did you first learn about your peanut allergy?

I was one. I had a piece of a cookie, threw it up, started turning red, and had
to be rushed to the ER. A special doctor, called an allergist, tested me for
allergies a few days later and told me I was allergic to peanuts.

What is an allergy test like? Do they hurt?

There are two types of allergy tests. In one, the doctor or nurse will poke
you (but it only hurts for a second!) and take some blood. They will run
some tests on it and let you know. This is the first one I got. Normally babies
get this test done. The other test is more of a series of short scratches on
your back or arm. The doctor or nurse will lightly scratch your back or arm
with these sharp needles (but they aren't shots!). It doesn't hurt, just like
when you lightly fall and scratch your knee. They do itch though! But, it
doesn't last long and the doctor can tell what you are allergic to. You
don't have to get them done too often!

I have a peanut allergy and have an Epi Pen. When should I take it
with me?
I carry my Epi Pen everywhere I go. My mom even carries it in the bank if
she is running in to deposit some money very quickly. You and your Epi Pen
are going to be side by side for a long time! It's really not big at all so your
mom or dad or whoever you are with can carry it in their pocket. When you
get older, you will have to always remember to carry it with you every single
place you go.

I went to a party, but my mom wouldn't let me eat the cake or eat any candy that came out of the pinata! I
brought my own - sometimes I feel really left out when I can't do things the other kids can do!
Sometimes it won't be easy and there are going to be times you feel left out. But, honestly, its only food! I would rather
have fun at a party than be grumpy because I can't eat what the other kids do! When I go to a birthday party, I always hit
the pinata and get the candy out for everyone. I can't eat it - but its really just fun to hit it!! I always bring my own
cupcake. Mom is really good about making them super big!! So, all the other kids are actually jealous of MINE!!

I have a really good friend that I want to sit next to during lunch - but the teacher makes me sit with some
other kids who also have a peanut allergy. I don't want to sit with them!
My best friend and I have to sit at different tables sometimes too! But, as soon as we are done eating, he washes his hands and we
go outside and play together. I have also gotten to know the other kids with peanut allergies so I made new friends!!

So, why can't I eat some things that aren't peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut made?  
Even if something doesn't contain peanuts, it could have a piece or two in it. Think about a big candy factory. They
make lots of candy in the factory - some with peanuts and some with no peanuts. But, if a piece of a peanut falls in the
candy with no peanuts and you eat it - it could make you very sick! Factories will usually list that it could have a piece of
a peanut in it on the label. That is why your mom or dad will always read the package for what food contains before
giving it to you!

But just a little peanut won't hurt me, will it?
It will. If you have a peanut allergy, tiny bits of peanuts that you can't see are enough to make you very sick.

How do I use the Epi Pen?
Take the caps off and simply jab it in your thigh. All Epi Pens come with a Trainer for you and your parents to practice. I
actually practiced on all of my stuffed animals!

My mom told me all of the things that can happen to me if I accidentally eat some bit of a peanut and I am
really scared!!
I was scared too! But I learned that I did not have to be scared. I just needed to watch what I ate and always be
prepared. We read labels on everything before I eat it (even if I have eaten it 100 times!), we always let the waiter know I
have a peanut allergy. They totally understand! Lots of kids have this! I don't eat from bakeries, buffets, Asian food
places, anywhere that says there might be peanuts around, and anyplace with peanut products laying around (lots of
places have peanuts on the floor! We don't go there!). I always carry my Epi Pen and Benadryl with me. When I get
older and go out by myself, I will also wear a peanut allergy ID bracelet. So, if I have an attack and no one is around,
people know how to help me.

It sounds like a lot!!
Its really not much at all once you get used to it! Our allergy can be controlled. It is up to us and our families to make
sure we live safely. If we live safely and always carry the Epi Pen, we will be okay! Lots of other kids have things wrong
with them that are so much worse and cannot be controlled! We can manage this!!