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 Post subject: Am I being paranoid?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:44 pm
Posts: 31
Location: British Columbia
Just wondering... do you prefer your child going to friends place to play or having them over instead?

My neighbour was over the other day with her 12 month-old son for playtime with dd. We always have each other over back and forth before. It was the first time anyone has been in our house since we discovered dd's allergy to peanut(which was exactly one week ago). After they left, suddenly a fear came into my mind that there could be nuts particles lying around the house from their touch or clothing or whatever. So I frantically cleaned up the whole family room where they played. I mean, I washed every single toy they have touch(which really means all of them), vacuumed, wiped down places where I couldn't vacuum. It took awhile but I was very worried. I have to say, dd was perfectly fine when they were over and afterwards. No reaction at all. I admit that I didn't ask them to wash their hands when they first came over. Something I just learned I should have done from reading posts in this forum.

I can't imagine cleaning up like that everytime someone comes to our house. I'd go crazy. Or is it something I have to get used to from now on? Maybe it's better to go to people's place instead, at least it's easier to just bath ourselves as soon as we get home.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Actually, I prefer the opposite. I'd rather have my son's friends over at my house because I know my house is peanut and nut free. I always kindly remind the parents not to feed their child peanut butter or nuts before they come over and to make sure their hands and face are washed and teeth brushed.

I don't really send my child over to other people's homes unless I know that the parent/s are completely aware of the allergy and know how to use the Epipen. I provide his own snacks and I ask that they not serve peanuts or nuts while my son is in the house. The people who have had him over respect this. Admittedly, it is a difficult subjet to bring up. You have to know and trust that parent. Unfortunately, there are friends whose houses my son does not go over to because I know the parents are very nervous about the Epipen and about having him over. So I don't bother.

If he goes to a birthday party at someone's home, I will usually stay and watch over him. I always bring his own piece of cake.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
No you are not paranoid...you are being responsible. My daughter will have friends over (she is almost 5 ) and i ask them to wash and not put toys in their mouths. I have a few toys that I put away like a recorder and anything that encourages a child to put it in their mouth. Currently I have a almost 3 year old with a severe dairy allergy who easily has contact reactions so I would have to take her with me to my older daughters friends houses and that would be bad. I DO NOT let my older daughter go to friends houses or b'day parties without me. If she gets invited I always say "I will come with her, I don't think that it is fair to put that resposibility on you (friends mom)." That goes over well, no one feels that i personally don't trust them, and she gets invited to lots of parties and the other moms in her class know I will be with her so they do not hesitate to include her out of their own fear that I will drop her off and add a severely allergic child to their already chaotic b'day celebration. Instead I stay and help out with games and crafts which is much appreciated.

I have one exception. My best friend has an almost 6 year old with a peanut/nut allergy and a 2 year old with a milk/egg allergy. We will watch each others kids from time to time. She also has a newborn, so I drive the older girls to ballet, while the younger ones stay and play at her house. We have known each other for only 2 years but with our kids being so similar we bonded pretty instantly, and are able to play and feel normal at each others houses, and enjoy each others bday cakes and snacks at each others houses. We are lucky to have found a family in the same situation as us. If you have access to a local support group, you may meet some new friends that you can playdate with more comfortably.

My daughter will be 5 in March and she wants to have her party at home...I am pressuring her to rent the gym where we take gymnastics. That will be easier to keep our house clean.

I am thinking that your child is quite young, and still probably in the "put everything in my mouth" stage. My youngest is outgrowing that stage now, but when she was like that I gave her a soother in public...it kept unwanted toys and items and food scraps out of her mouth, and if she reached to take it out, I knew that she wanted to put something else in. It helped a lot.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:44 pm
Posts: 31
Location: British Columbia
Thanks for the tips! I really learn a lot from this forum. I am glad I found you guys.

It makes sense to have people over. I guess the precaution is to clean them well when they arrive... I wish I could make the foyer into a chamber, like the one they use for infectious disease so everyone and everything will be sterilized, no questions asked... hahaha...

I do have a colleague who wants to visit next week with her 3 and 1 year old. I think the 3 year old will be coming from preschool so I have to be extra careful of cleaning him up well. I haven't told her about the allergy yet and don't really know how to. We are not the closest friends so she'll probably freak out after knowing the "protocol" for coming to our house. It really isn't that complicated, not eating peanuts/nuts before coming, cleaning hands and face when they get here. What's the big deal, why can't people just be accomodating when visiting? I always clean our hands first thing we come home from anywhere to keep germs away anyways.

yes, dd still puts everything in her mouth. Unfortunately, we have never successfully given her a soother or bottle, but I do keep a few chewing toys handy all the time as an alternative when we go out. They don't work as good as a soother which stays in the mouth, but at least she'll get distracted from the things I want to keep off of her.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I really don't want anyone to learn this one the hard way. One more tip is to watch out for other peoples pets (assuming that you do not have one) if you have one carefully read the ingredients in your pet food, and treats and find a food that is free of your childs allergens. Peanut is cheap protein so it is in a lot of pet foods. The animal will have traces of it in their saliva, and fur from grooming. Make sure no animals lick you child, especially on the mouth! Also, make sure to move any pet foods out of the reach of your child. At a friend house, even if an animal is put away, the food might be within reach!

We had a dog when my oldest was a baby. Her face got red if the dog licked her...so we got rid of the dog. We always assumed she was allergic to dogs...we found out when she was three that she was allergic to peanuts and found out this year that she is NOT allergic to dogs.

I heard of a child in my city who is allergic to eggs and had a severe reaction from picking up dog food at a friends house...he apparently had not even eaten any.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 919
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Very young children are in very intimate contact with their environment. They crawl all over the carpet, put things in their mouth, etc. This is the age we found to be the most demanding in parenting a child with food allergies. Our son has multiple food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seed, sunflower seed, egg, fish, mustard, green pea and pineapple. I think it's really important to be vigilant at this age. I found entertaining at home to be easiest and it was just easier to prepare all the food too (although, we did go out a lot to visit friends and family, but this was much more demanding and stressful at times!). I must admit, I never asked anyone to wash their children's hands when they arrived, or asked that they not eat peanut butter prior to arriving - it honestly never occurred to me - this forum didn't exist until my son was over 3 years old, and past this most challenging age when I could have benefited from all this helpful advice!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6429
Location: Ottawa
Right now our house is under construction so I am comfortable with our daughter having playdates elsewhere.
There are however few (2) homes I would leave her alone at. I stay at the others because I am not 100% convinced they are allergy aware and know how to use the EpiPen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:44 pm
Posts: 31
Location: British Columbia
I do have a cat and checked the ingredients. There's no peanut in it, thank god. I don't have many friends that have pets, but will definitely be careful when around them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Labelling for pet foods might not be as specific as human foods. Make sure that there are no mystery ingredients like "vegetable protein" or "vegetable oil". These could be peanut as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 684
Location: Cobourg, ON
With your recent diagnosis you are probably overwhelmed with managing the allergy. Once your friends are aware of your precautions, it will be easier to have playdates. It is just standard now that people wash up when they come in. It helps with spreading germs too! We also bought a sign from Anaphylaxis Canada which says," No peanuts or nuts please. Help keep our allergic kids safe." It is 8 1/2 by 11 and we put it on the window outside our front door. It is a reminder to visitors of our special health issues. Good luck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:44 pm
Posts: 31
Location: British Columbia
Overwhelmed is only an understatement to what I am going through. The first few days I couldn't stop crying because I feel so guilty. And then reality sinks in, and I am trying to learn as much and as fast as I could so we can make our home safe. That's only the beginning. We have since had gathering with three groups of friends/family. Two of them did't seem to have any knowledge at all despite they said they understood. One of whom got a hazelnut coffee first thing we met and drunk it right in front of my face. Second of whom brought her son a nougat for after dinner and he had it right next to us.

I don't know, it seems the best thing to do is to live in a bubble even though it's not, but it's almost impossible to get into these people.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 919
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi PAmum, I'm sure everyone on this forum can relate to your feelings right now - it is overwhelming when you first receive a diagnosis of a food allergy. I remember feeling exactly that way when our son was first diagnosed 3 years ago. There's a really good chat going on in this forum under "Off Topic Banter" "Ice Cream!!!" about the stages you go through as you adjust. We found that some people in our life seemed to "get it" (understand the condition) right away, others "get it" after awhile, and then others will never "get it". Most people have amazed us with their helpfulness and concern, but there have been a few that just don't seem to "get it". About a year ago, we were over at our very good friends house for the afternoon and dinner. They have 2 children aged 9 & 7 at the time. One of their children was hungry and the father prepared a peanut butter sandwich for her right in front of our PEANUT ALLERGIC son!!! I just couldn't believe it!!! I mean, I've known them for about 25 years, they know our family so well, know all about our son, and out comes the peanut butter?!! I can't tell you how shocked I was!! I asked them (politely) if they could please not eat that while we were there, and if their daughter could please wash her hands as our son is allergic to peanut butter. Well, that never happened again, and whenever we go to their place now, they call to ask us about the ENTIRE menu. We always bring our son's food everywhere we go since he has multiple food allergies, but we can't visit if there are very unsafe foods around. This is why we find it easier to entertain in our own home, and prepare the foods ourselves. That way we can truly relax in our little safe-zone. But when we do go out, it takes lots of advance preparation. For example, this weekend, we are going to a big SuperBowl party at our friends house, and my friend called over here to talk about the entire menu so she can contact everyone with safe foods to bring. These are the people that amaze us with their concern and helpfulness. But it takes awhile for most people to truly understand the condition - unless they are already living with it in their own lives.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 684
Location: Cobourg, ON
Our family kind of retreated into a bubble at first too after the diagnosis. We had to circle our wagons so to speak and figure out how to manage our new life and learn as much as we could about allergies, food labels etc. It all takes time but food allergies are manageable and you do not have to live in a bubble. A cooworker of mine is going through a new diagnosis with a 15 year old. Her daughter reacted to turtles for the first time over Christmas. As you can expect, the teenager is fighting everything and is in denial. She did not want to take the epipen with her to school initially and she won't go to see an allergist. As well the teenager is used to eating out, eating prepared food etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
My younger daughter had her first major reaction to milk, and my older daughter to peanuts within days of each other. We had to add the other child to the same appointment! They were diagnosed on the SAME DAY! So in a week I went from having 2 healthy normal kids to a 3 year old with allergies to peanuts/nuts, and a one year old to milk/eggs. ( we discovered her anaphylactic chicken allergy, and cats and dogs a year and a half later. ) We left the appointment with prescriptions for epipens for both daughters and one heck of a lot of stress!

PAmom, it'll get better, you'll get your routine going, you'll learn what foods are good and what to avoid. We've all been there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6429
Location: Ottawa
We spent the first year and a half totally freaked! We can home from visiting the relatives 4 1/2 hours away and I forgot her snowpants and I lost it because I realized how easy it coud be to forget something and it could have been her EpiPen. We had stopped once to eat and had eaten in the car much of the way and not once had I checked if I had her EpiPen.
I posted a lot on another forum as I tried to verbalise my concerns and work through them. I was realy angry at my husbands parents for being behind in the learning curve. They were about 10 years older than my mother and tended to fall back on what worked when they were raising kids. I had to threaten to stop having her visit them in order for my husband to spell it out for them and even then it really was them just needing to be given the information a few times.
My husband and I have spent a ot of time trying to get the other one to understand our need to protect our daughter from situations or try to teach her how to cope with situations. We still have quite a way to go on that one!
People say they can't believe how organised we are. We have to be. It is our only sense of peace of mind.
You will find your comfort zone. You will find your quick meals, on the road food pllns, safe places to go for fun. You will educate all of your friends and all of your childs friends. You will lose some friends who just can't make the conection and you will discover those hidden gems, those people you never thought cared that much about you. You will always have a topic of conversation at a party. Some day someone will ask you for advise and you will all of a sudden notice that the knot in you shouders or in the pit of your stomach is gone. That is when you will realise that you are coming to terms with this.


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