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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:59 pm
Posts: 11
Hi everyone,
We just found out(the hard way) that our two year old son is allergic to peanuts and have been advised to stay away from tree nuts until seen by the allergist.

Does anyone have any insightful ways to deal with family members who just don't get it. Do you just avoid any interactions with these people. This could potentially mean we avoid ALL future gatherings.Don't get me wrong my son does come first and if that's the way it has to be....

We've only been living with this for weeks and are still learning. A family member just recently convinced me to come to a family event. She went out of her way to make sure my son was safe in her home and another family member all but ruined our visit. It seems that these people are everywhere, the ones who don't get it, think that I'm overreacting and doing whatever THEY see fit. I understand this comes with the allergy, but like the other family member said;" if you can't be safe around your own family..."

Is there any way around this?????


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6504
Location: Ottawa
Hi and welcome!
With such a recent diagnosis I might be hesitant to go to a function involving food but with holiday season we just finished, that might have not been an option.

Dealing with severe food allergies is such a huge learning curve. I know that my mind shut down for a moment after the words "life threatening". Now is a time for your imediate family to get your bearings and learn how to deal with the day to day issues. Going through your kitchen and bathroom cupboards as well as medicine chest. Reading labels and contemplating the risk of cross contamination. Ever use the same spoon for jam that has just been in the peanut butter?

Set up your e-mail to remind you about when your Epi-Pens are about to expire. Complete and submit medical forms to daycare as well as acquire an auto-injector trainer and train ensure the staff are trained. Making sure that they have access to an auto-injector (if your son is in daycare) .

During the first year of diagnosis every season brings with it new concerns. Don't worry too much about teaching others. Look after yourself and your son. Divide the work with your Significant Other. One can shop while the collects data or deals with others. It depends on your style. My husband is a detail orientated patient man who hates conflict. he's great shopping alone, while my skills are better served speaking and asking for information or requesting accomodation.

I hope you are able to find useful information through outthis forum. I would caution you not to read too much too soon as it can be over whelming. Also, try not to worry about the future "Don't go borrowing trouble" is the advice I have learned to take to heart.

if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:36 pm
Posts: 37
Welcome,

Our son was diagnosed with his peanut/tree nut allergy around the age of two and honestly i could've written your words. The inital shock of it all was horrible. I remember crying all the way home when we found out. I was kinda moarning the fact that he wouldn't be able to eat freely. It was an incredibly scarey time for us and we really did feel like our world came crashing in on us. Sooo many things to to learn, so much information out there. I agree with the above poster, try not to read too much or it'll drive you crazy with worry. What i would suggest is manily concern yourself with the here and now. You know she can't have these things so like the person above said, clear your cabinets of possible problems. Finding foods for peanut/tree nut allergic child seemed overwhelming at first but you'd be surprized how many items that are out there that are ok once you start looking. Even more than when my son was diagnosed that's for sure! There is no shortage of junk food etc..that is safe too. Then of course start educating your daughter with every opportunity there is. I would always say outloud, "lets check the ingredients", "its safe/unsafe". While passing a bakery isle of the grocer, i'd say, "see honey, those aren't safe becuase the cookies besides them have nuts in them and they could get on the other ones". Even if the child is too young to really understand, slowly they will and those words will come out of theirs as they grow up. People were shocked at how responsible my son was with his allergies even at a young age. If someone would offer him a cookie or something he would say, "we have to check the ingredients". Also start saying outloud everytime you go out, "do we have your epipen?"..this too shows your daughter that she must carry it all the time. When she gets old enough you can get epi trainers that she can practise using on herself without the fear of the needle. So you see, it will become a way of life for her. It's all my son ever knew. Even though it's hard at times, they do get used to it.

As far as family...ohhh family. We had the exact struggles. The grandma putting out a bowl of nuts at the holidays, the aunts bringing nut laden baked goods. I would just say, "can we pls put them out of reach, if nicholas touches them he could react." Generally that would be enough to scare them and they would put them away all together. If they didn't, i ended up watching him like a hawk. I used to get sooo mad about it but then i realized that's life. Someone, family or not will bring something around him that's not safe and we just have to educate him not to eat it, wash hands, carry epipen etc.. You are never gonna change everyones mind about the allergy. Some may think you are exagerating it, some may think it's not a true allergy or a little won't hurt..it's just people for you. If there are people receptive to learning at the gathering i would educate them and hope others around were listening. KIds are wonderful for this. They are always willing to learn and help out. Plus most have experience with allergic kids at their schools. They will slowly educate their parents. Bring your own food if you need to. I'm not gonna lie it's hard and you are going to want to scream at times but preparation is everything. I generally call ahead and ask, "whats for dinner?", "can you save the labels?", "do you mind if i bring...?" etc... If they were serving something unsafe i brought food for my son.
Desserts are always a challenge. It's hard to find a bakery willing to say their products are safe. I revisited my hobby of cake decorating and now my son gets better cakes then most his friends. I offer to bake cakes at family parties so he will be able to have the dessert. I also bake cookies etc...That way the family isn't running all over town looking for a 'safe' cake or inconvienced. I try to make it as easy on the family as possible. It really isn't there problem. You would think they would all drop everything to help you out, but the reality most don't. So i guess what i'm saying in a nutshell, is educate educate, have patience this is new to them too and know you're not alone. It does get easier with time.
If it gives you any hope my son just found out last week that he has outgrown his peanut allergy at the age of 10yrs.

HTH

Suzanne


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
Hi Molly,

In my family, and probably in most allergic families, there are some members who just don't get it. It's also not like the allergies in our family is new...my brother and I have had allergies since we were 3,so the past 20 years! I guess much like any situation, there are those who are open minded and accepting and there are those who are not. There have been certain situations where allergens were brought over to MY house and the entire meal was contaminated! I harbored a lot of feelings of anger and resentment towards these family members, especially because they had been around allergies for so long.
The truth is, although it is ok to feel upset, most often those types of people do not actually want to cause harm. Unfortunately, no matter how long they have been around allergies, they still do not live with them on a daily basis nor do they have to deal with the various issues surrounding allergies.
We have never not gone to family gatherings because of this though but it is important to always remain in control of the situation. I don't remember where I heard it/read it but someone said, "when in doubt, go without!" and my brother and I have adopted this motto. Also, as Susan mentioned planning and discussing possible accomodation is something you will learn to do and if it seems impossible, you can always just bring your own food.
I guess I am just a positive person which is why I will say that, in time, you will most likely be pleasantly surprised, at least by some people. There are some members of my family who used to be indifferent and who are now some of my main advocates at social gatherings.
And yes, educate, educate, educate! Educate yourselves first so that you can then educate others...but one small step at a time.

_________________
Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Hi Molly, Welcome! Our family like yours has a little one and we are all still adjusting and adapting our daily routine. Our son's first reaction was at 6 months old after I kissed him (having eaten peanut butter). His allergies seem to be snowballing and I know exactly how you feel, the anxiety,the fear,not knowing even where to begin. I have to say that the allergic living forum has been a great source of information for me as well as support. Some times I just need to vent and other times I am hunting for a recipe or advice regarding allergies.
As far as friends and family, many I've had to learn to tune out completely. There are those who feel all this 'allergy business' is just hype and sensationalized. I was told that bananas/legumes are so mild it seems very improbably that someone would be allergic to them (said like I'm making all this up). I've been told my problem is that I should just feed him all these so called allergic foods and thereby will build his amunity to them, try a poached egg or srambled egg I was told!!! As much as I try and explain and educate what anaphylaxis many still think I'm making all this fuss over what they assume can't possibly be worse stomach ache and a rash. These people are the ones I find don't want to listen to me regardless of what I'm trying to explain. Many times I find it easiest to walk away and leave it be as they will never get it anyway.
Our little guy is 16 months next week and my biggest issues seems to be other people (mainly strangers) constantly wanting to touch him/his toys on his stroller as well as he still touches everything and then his mouth/face. Susan kindly directed me to the the shopping and parents forum when I was new.....and very lost. There are great ideas there as well as amazing support.
Good luck, If you need any toddler ideas please ask. Others were great to help me out.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
One of the best tools I have for educating is the story of our daughter's reaction. When I tell them about how she looked and felt and the feelings of having paramedics and firefighters in our house. And for the neighbours to all be on their driveway wondering why an ambulance and fire truck were at our house. Sadly that is what it has taken for many people to "get it". It is very different at age 2 than older years. My 12 year old knows not to put her hands on her face (doesn't always remember though) and she does not eat anything that has not been checked (again, she is lucky that the few times she forgot she was okay).

At Christmas, I provided all of the baked goods for 3 parties --- had never done that much baking! My daughter just developed her nut allergies in September 08.

At New Year's there was another child with airborne allergies to tree nuts so when we found items we simply confiscated them. It helped that there were two moms on the look-out for allergens! I truly did not care about the person's feelings who brought the appie covered in walnuts when she knew two children had allergies. She claimed "I thought it was only peanuts." but she could have checked - she is one that just doesn't get it. For both kids, peanuts are nothing compared to the tree nuts. In that group of friends everyone knows we just don't bring anything with peanuts or tree nuts and it has been that way for years.

The children with the allergies still don't eat items from other people's homes given cross-contamination so we bring their own snacks. For the group things like potato chips we make sure they get the first serving from the bag and put it in a coloured plastic cup. When I provided the group baking, the kids with allergies got first choice. We did this since we had no idea what the other people had eaten before they came to the parties.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:47 pm
Posts: 3
As an allergy sufferer since I was 7 years old (18 years now) I still have trouble with family. They are all aware of my allergy but "forget" to not have peanuts/nuts around at family functions. This past Christmas we went to my uncles house which made me nervous because they do not have to think about what they eat ever. And then I come along and they forget. Well he forgot all-right, there were cashews and peanuts in dishes all over the dinner table. He was passing out chocolates with nuts and almonds in them. At one point I was playing a video game and had to stop because my uncle offered chocolates to another uncle and he was going to touch the same controller as myself.

The thing to remember is that they do not expose you to the allergen on purpose. They honestly forget, because it is not something that is a part of their everyday life. My advice is to gently remind them of the allergy and if necessary bring your own food and keep it in a separate area. You can't expect someone to eliminate their favourite food because you cannot have it around. You just have to be vigilent and make sure they understand the risks involved.

On a happier note I recently went to my friends cousins house for a game night and they were told of my allergies and went out of their way to make sure there was nothing in the food or snacks that would potentially kill me. So some people are starting to come around to the idea that "hey this is dangerous" and could hurt someone...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6504
Location: Ottawa
Glad to have you as a member, obtenerunsi! I sometimes wonder if we are going to raise a generation of kinder, more empathetic people because severe allergies and keeping friends safe is something the younger generation has had to deal with all of their lives. As opposed to the "Me" generation who want it all and they want it now!

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Our family never seems to get how serious allergies are yet I am touched by how it is the people I hardly know who seem to go out of their way to understand and take precautions if they are going to be around our son.
After telling a family member how 2x now our son's needed epinephrine immediately after a vaccine and how further vaccines terrify me this is the response I got ..."what's the problem you told me the epipen can't hurt them so just give him the next vaccine and know you need to follow it up with an epipen". Simple enough to her.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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