Talking Allergies

New to the peanut allergy world....Help!
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Author:  AdairBear [ Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  New to the peanut allergy world....Help!

We just had it confirmed our 20 month old son Adair is allergic to Peanuts. They just tested peanuts for the time being, they did the prick skin test and he reacted right away (a few months ago he reacted to PB, with a rash, hives and swollen bottom lip). So the Dr said he can't eat any peanuts as well as tree nuts and over then next few years they will do more testing, but for now he can't have anything that says "traces" or was processed where peanuts might have been. They don't know how bad of a allergy it is, but they said we can't take any chances. In a year they will do a blood test and follow him every year and test for other things. No Asian food of course and he said it was best to call ahead to restaurants if we planned on eating out. It will be a total life overhaul for us as we are just to eating everything and anything in our families.

What I need help with is restaurants we should really avoid and product that contains nuts that I may not even think about....also my husband is having a hard time understanding why Adair can no longer have thing that have "traces" of nuts even thou he has been eating those products up till now with no problems.

Author:  katec [ Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

Welcome to the forum,
Short answer - yes you should avoid all products that may contain your allergen. Do you really want to risk a serious reaction? There has been a study done on products labelled may contain (it was listed in an Anaphylaxis Canada newsletter) and some of the products did in fact test positive for the allergen.

It is a big lifestyle adjustment to make following a new diagnosis. It will be overwhelming but over time it will get easier. Fortunately many restaurants and the general public seem to be more aware of peanut allergies than other allergies. If your husband is having trouble understanding anything try to pass along reading you are doing and go to allergist appointments together so that you both hear the information first hand.

Take care and good luck,

Author:  BC2007 [ Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:21 pm ]
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Welcome AdairBear, Our son was diagnosed after severely reacting to peanuts trace at 6 months so I know the feeling of panic and being overwhelmed. I agree, avoid all products which say may contain, there is a reason they list that warning and it isn't worth taking the chance.
Look at the shopping section on this forum for peanut free products. For support go to the parenting section, many a time others have helped me out at times when I've on overload.

Good luck

Author:  Becky [ Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:18 am ]
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It's so stressful, I know exactly how you feel. When our son was recently diagnosed I went on a fact finding mission, calling & visiting restaurants that we frequent to find out about ingredients that things could remain normal. Many seemed ok, but fast forward a few months, and our eating habits have changed significantly. There's only 1 restaurant that I'll take him to (and have only been once), and McDonalds. There is so much anxiety around eating anything unkown, that it's easier to prepare food myself and know that it's safe. So, for me (for now), it's easier to eat in.

As for the 'may contain' or "processed on equipment that also handles', it takes some getting use to, but decided to switch brands. Everyone has a different comfort level though, and has to decide what works for them.

One important note, just because an allergen isn't mentioned on a label, doesn't mean it's not there. I posted in another forum about some packaged yogourt covered raisins that didn't have a warning, but when I checked the website it did say 'may contain traces of'. It turns out, it doesn't HAVE to be on the package, so unless it says 'peanut free' it may not be.

But, for other companies, (such a Heinz) if it's not mentioned, it's not there. My son wanted some Skittles this weekend, I thought they were probably ok, so we bought them but I didn't let him have any until I could do a thorough check online. The Mars company states that they will list the top 8 allergens if they are present, or if there's any chance of them being present through shared equipement. So it turns out, the Skittles were ok, even though it didn't specify nut free on the package.

It's hard, we're still learning and adjusting (it's only been a few months). You realize how much you took for granted, and how much easier it is for people who can grab a sandwich or ice cream anywhere. Best wishes to you.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here is an excellent article developed by the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) in collaboration with patient allergy associations and allied healthcare professionals. I would suggest that both you and your husband read it. :)

Reactions to peanuts are often more severe than to other foods. Very minute quantities of peanut, when ingested, can result in a life threatening reaction. Peanut has been a leading cause of severe, life-threatening, and even fatal allergic reactions.1, 2

Peanut allergy requires stringent avoidance and management plans as it is one of the most common food allergies in children, adolescents, and adults.3 For more information on strategies like food restrictions and food lists, see Restrictions & lists.

It is important to understand the meaning of precautionary warnings such as “may contain”.

These precautionary statements are put on by food manufacturers at their own discretion.

Products with a “may contain” warning could be problematic for individuals with life-threatening food allergies if ingested. If there is a warning, it is possible that the food contains traces of the allergen.

Food-allergic people should not eat products with a “may contain” warning.

Foods with a precautionary warning should not be an issue if they are consumed by non-allergic children in the presence of older children with food allergies.

Regular hand washing, cleansing of surfaces, and adult supervision of young children while eating are still advised as a precautionary measure.

Author:  AdairBear [ Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you so much for all the information, it has helped a lot! Ia m going through all the food in the house and getting rid of anything we aren't sure about.

Author:  Becky [ Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

When we did our food purge, we threw out anything open. Even a box of crakers that are peanut free may have been eaten while peanut butter was in the house, so we decided to start fresh.

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Sat May 02, 2009 1:32 pm ]
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First I want to comment on the label may contain. There's a reason they use the word may. It might contain it or it might not. Possibly you son has not reacted to it because the products you purchased were near the end of the line and the peanut residue was gone. You might not always be so lucky. It's also possible he was not sensitive enough to peanut to react to it -- but how sensitive a person is can change over time. The more of it he eats, the more chance he will start to react to even trace amounts of it.

If anyone here follows studies, is it still the belief that total avoidance gives a better chance of outgrowing an allergy? (As an adult with pa I don't really follow those studies, but I know that's what the scientific community used to say.)


Are there particular products you would like to know safe options for?

DARE - cookies and candies
Chapman's - ice cream products (are they available out west?)
Spitz - sunflower and pumpkin seads
Golden Nonuts Peabutter - peanut butter substitute made from peas

Author:  walooet [ Tue May 05, 2009 1:43 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm sorry that you have to join the allergy club... It is not easy but it is manageable and does get easier with time. The people on this board are incredibly helpful!!! Someone has likely had the same concern so don't be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of Winnipegers here too and I remember someone started a playgroup.

My daughter's nut and peanut allergies started last year and this aspect was overwhelming but I took everything out of the cupboards and then checked every item and put them back in if they were safe and tossed or gave away if unsafe. Yes, it was a lot of food. Don't forget the fridge, freezer and the medicine cabinet.

Grocery shopping takes longer since every label has to be read -- I often call companies while at the store.

Even though our daughter is 12 we do not have anything in the house that has any traces because we want her to know she can eat anything here.

There is a bakery in Winnipeg that is completely peanut and tree nut free! Papa Pallone's It is on St. Anne's between Fermor and Bishop Grandin. They will make special orders. The owners are very helpful - they started the bakery because someone in their family has allergies.

Chapman's ice cream is at Sobey's and Safeway as well as Papa Pallone's. There are some Chapman's that are not safe --- we check for the smiling boy and girl on it. Our favourite is chocolate chip mint :D Sobey's has the biggest selection.

Dare is the best with their nut-free and peanut-free bakery! Old Dutch does not advertise but they told me they are also nut and peanut free. Don't take my word for it but Hershey's, Kraft and Presidents Choice have all told me they label for May Contain but I still call them when in doubt.

For restaurants, between ourselves and friends with peanut and tree nut allergies we have had success with:

- Montana's (they have a complete listing of foods with allergens)
- Applebee's
- Old Spaghetti Factory
- Tony Roma's
- McDonald's --- online they have a complete listing with allergens
- Domino's - I've been told they are completely nut and peanut free but ask your store manager! (we use the Meadowood location)

Ideally I like to avoid chains but they seem best with allergies as they have national suppliers which don't change as often. I think local restaurants may not know their ingredients as much.

while not a restaurant, M&M frozen foods have a binder where they can look to see if a product has allergens. I have them look up a bunch and then I still double check the labels.

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