In the News: Childhood Food Allergies On the Rise

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/24/2008 4:28 PM   :  55 comments

New statistics released this week from the CDC show an 18% increase in the number of children with food allergies over the past 10 years. In 1997, 1 in 30 kids had food allergies, and now that number is closer to 1 in 26 (about 3 million kids).

Peanut allergies have doubled, and it appears that kids are taking longer to outgrow milk and egg allergies than they used to. But why the increase? What has changed?

Awareness seems to play a key role in whether or not a child is diagnosed with a food allergy. It seems that parents are quicker to take their children to the doctor for a diagnosis these days, versus assuming that symptoms like rashes, vomiting or breathing problems are just due to temporary illness.

Other research suggests that about 1 in 40 Americans will have a milk allergy at some point in their lives, and 1 in 50 percent will be allergic to eggs. Although most people outgrow these allergies as children, nearly 1 in 100 has a peanut allergy that typically lasts a lifetime.

The CDC's results also found that the number of children hospitalized for food allergies was up. The number of hospital discharges jumped from about 2,600 a year in the late 1990s to more than 9,500 annually in recent years.

When my daughter was 2 weeks old, she was diagnosed with a dairy "intolerance." (She was too little to be officially diagnosed with an allergy.) As a result, I had to cut all dairy products out of my diet for the next 10 months (because I was nursing). Eventually we were allowed to reintroduce dairy and at that point she no longer had a problem with it. But it was REALLY hard for me to be so restrictive about what I ate--always checking labels, asking detailed questions about how foods were prepared at restaurants, etc. So I can imagine how tough that is for parents dealing with their child's food allergies, especially if there are multiple foods involved.

Have you had to deal with food allergies in your family? Why do you think the number of children with food allergies is increasing so rapidly?


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Comments

  • 55
    My dad is allergic to shark and stingray and quite a horrible one. Just walking pass the area that sell sharks and he will surely get itchiness. Not sure if allergic is heredity but I'm usually try to avoid eathing those two. There was a friend of a friend who probably got allergic to red onion (or maybe just too sensitive). She couldn't even smell the spring onion or she would start to get teary eyes. - 6/9/2010   10:32:03 PM
  • 54
    I think allergies are on the rise because of all the crap that is in food these days.
    While kids may have allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts etc. how many kids have allergies to fruits and veggies and grains, other than wheat? Perhaps this is a sign that we are trying to feed our bodies the wrong things and children can't process the stuff, yet as adults we get used to it. - 1/4/2010   8:21:14 AM
  • 53
    Our granddaughter lived with us when she was younger. She was allergic to milk protein and I am allergic to soy protein. Sometimes it was a challenge fixing meals we coild both eat. - 11/9/2009   10:12:53 AM
  • 52
    I'm curious what the allergy stats are for children that are raised as vegetarians or vegans. - 9/16/2009   1:12:47 PM
  • 51
    You know, what I'd really like to see is a study on how income affects allergies. I don't know any kids with food allergies that last past toddlerhood whose parents make less than 6 figures. - 9/14/2009   10:53:09 AM
  • 50
    Allergies have always been around - we just didn't have the medical expertise to understand them! My husband was born in 1947 - had excema on his scalp. He was allergic to cow's milk &, since breastfeeding wasn't "in" then, had to have goat's milk. He grew up with several food allergies that caused him most to break out one way or another, & has since "outgrown" most of them.

    I think it's a combo of things - yes, our industrialized "fake" foods have quite a bit to do with all new health issues; however, like I said - medical knowledge can now put a label on things that previously were a mystery. I feel sad when I think of children in the past who may have died from a reaction to peanuts because no one knew! Speaking of peanuts - if my history memory is right, we've only been eating them since the 1800s? - 8/10/2009   7:34:55 AM
  • DAVVIK
    49
    Actually, the most likely cause to the increase of allergies is the parents who are afraid their children will have allergies. To explain, a parent today will be less likely to introduce their child to a "high risk" food. Since the body hasn't gotten exposure to these foods, the human body will regect the food, producing histamines and clogging the throught, ext. - 6/24/2009   12:50:44 PM
  • 48
    I think there are more kids with more allergies becaue of restaurants and fast foods. Busy families tend to use them more - and today's families are busy! And we have all read about the things in those foods that are not good for us. - 4/27/2009   4:48:25 PM
  • 47
    I think some parents introduce high-alleren foods too soon. A baby does not need to eat peanuts before the age of two. Some pediatricians recommend waiting until five years of age. Also feeding an infant solids too soon can (allegedly) create food allergies later on in life. An infant's system just cannot handle some foods. It seems parents are too anxious for their babies to grow up. - 11/1/2008   9:34:57 AM
  • 46
    WOW!!! Thank God that I just started with milk, garlic, and a few others and that my 3 boys so far, knock on wood, have nothing but out/indoor allergies. That is bad enough than to have what you all mentioned in these blogs. I agree with all of you...things have changed ALOT!!! - 10/31/2008   2:01:43 AM
  • 45
    As it turns out I do have a low tolerance for Iodine, so at least I wasn't 'making things up' when I said that my stomach hurt, doubled up and fell to the floor ... this was as an adult, more than 30 years after the last time it had happened to me and everyone thought I was faking. And, that Crab Louis DID taste good ... :(

    I think that we've become too sanitized. So many cleaners that are antibacterial. I think that we need some bacteria, such as the flu shot supposedly does, in order to make our immune system stronger.

    As far as more peanut/egg/honey etc allergies in kids - we're not 100% sure if these parents all followed the age guidelines on when to introduce these foods, so it could be that they jumped the gun on them. - 10/28/2008   7:03:32 AM
  • 44
    Popeye theTurtle was right about things being different now compared to "the old days"; I think its so much different that it's hard to know exactly where the problems are originating. Could it be vaccines? Maybe it's genetically engineered food. It might be all the processed food people eat these days. Or it could be the new medications that pregnant mothers take. Someone mentioned all the foods we eat out of season from far away places. Others have brought up that mothers should only introduce certain foods to their children after a particular age.

    I think it's quite possible it's not just one of these things, and may actually be ALL of them that are causing the problems. We need to clean up our diets, eat local foods in season, and be vary cautious about EVERYTHING we put in our bodies, incl. food, medicine, even the air we breathe.

    Our bodies are our temples, right? - 10/27/2008   6:29:30 PM
  • 43
    So it's a time thing. I thought it was a location thing. I moved from Texas to Jersey and all of a sudden everyone had food allergies. My best friend has milk, ranch dressing, and artificial sweeteners. My other friend has milk, strawberries, and shellfish. Her brother has a severe peanut allergy. Everyone has everything. I've only ever known two other allergies ever (chocolate and peanut). - 10/27/2008   12:16:04 PM
  • 42
    I agree 100% with Popeyetheturtle. I lived in a 3rd world country most my life, and since coming to the UK, my body went haywire with allergies (same with my kids) I blame all the "No added sugar" attitude to juices etc. We grew up with the basics on food - fresh from the ground and fresh from animals, grazing freely! Check lables on anything - Loads of artificial sweetners, colours and flavours! Why? what's wrong with the original product? I would like to have a gravy (without the added wheat!) etc. We are forced by prices of foodstuffs to eat cheaper, and that is where it all went wrong. - 10/27/2008   3:17:59 AM
  • EVIE13
    41
    Vaccinations can be stressful on the body so they should never be ruled out. I've read too many articles on them to think that they're not harmful in some way. But there isn't just one cause. I notice that a lot of people who have struggled with eating disorders as teens have food allergies or digestive issues as adults. Overexposure to the food and overconsumption of fast food products and highly processed (during pregnancy or childhood and even young adult and adulthood) could be another big cause. I see a lot of people come in with food allergies where I work. - 10/27/2008   2:36:16 AM
  • 40
    As a caregiver. I have had one child who was allergic to peanuts,wheat, bananas, black olives, onions, cauliflower and latex.(think ballons) It was pretty challenging to say the least! - 10/26/2008   9:07:19 PM
  • 39
    Many moms I know say their children are allergic or intolerant of some food. It's weird. We didn't hear so much about food allergies 20 years ago. Luckily some kids grow out of their allergies. - 10/26/2008   9:05:22 AM
  • 38
    I agree with CHICORYA2. Right on ----- excellent response. - 10/26/2008   8:45:07 AM
  • 37
    Hey all,

    I know that not everyone knows the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance, so I've posted the below links to help those who may have questions or believe they are one in the same. The main difference is that ALLERGIES have an autoimmune response, while INTOLERANCES typically have a gastro-intestinal response. Hope this helps.

    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/m
    ain/art.asp?articlekey=43471

    http://www.allergysafecommunities.c
    a/assets/common_beliefs_faan_2003.p
    df

    - 10/26/2008   12:21:31 AM
  • 36
    I seriously doubt that vaccinations have lead to an increase in food allergies. I believe that increased awareness and increased testing are certainly factors. But I do think that allergies are often triggered by our bodies' associations between stressful circumstances and whatever's in our systems at the time, be that pollen or mold in the air, a particular food, a medication, or contact with a particular allergen. Walnuts and some tomatoes raise ridges on the roof of my mouth sometimes; but I enjoy walnuts in brownies, and grape tomatoes are a favorite snack food of mine. I am allergic to red maple pollen, and contact with silk immediately gives me hives. Forty years ago, when my eldest daughter was 3, she broke out in hives, but the only thing I could connect it with was some apple she'd eaten. Her father was tested as a child and showed significant reaction to pollens, molds, penicillin, and animal dander, but not to foods. As a teenager in the '80s, when her father and I were divorcing, she broke out in giant hives: one covered half her face, another her shoulder, for example. I took her to the hospital, and she was on cortisone. Now we know that she is very allergic to aspirin. Testing showed sensitivity to many foods she eats frequently. When she's under stress, her sensitivity increases. I believe some of it is hereditary. Dairy intolerance is sometimes a case of the body's failure to produce the enzyme lactase which is necessary to break down the milk sugar, lactose. If lactose isn't broken down, diarhea will result. In that particular case, it's not exactly the same thing as an allergy, which, if I understand it correctly, is an over-reaction by the immune system. I think stress, coupled with the over use of chemicals in every aspect of our lives are probably major contributors to many of the ills we are suffering, including alzheimers, cancers, asthma, and others. We live in stressful times, and we have fouled our air and land and water, and our children are increasingly paying the horrible price for our lifestyle, both mentally and physically. We need to simplify, simplify, simplify. - 10/25/2008   11:19:01 PM
  • IZEFIA
    35
    EIFFERT1 - I had thought that the "laws" about not serving peanuts on planes had gone into effect, but apparently not much has happened. I flew on Continental in August 2007 and they served peanuts both ways (and the flight is only 45 minutes long!). And then earlier this month I flew home and back by Delta, and they served peanuts in both directions. It was torture for me. I've only had this peanut allergy since March 2007 so I'm not entirely sure how much I can breathe in before reacting... I just know I can't eat ANY without my throat swelling. Apart from exposing people with food allergies to nuts, I would think that airlines would try to save money on food, coffee drinks by not serving them on flights that are less than an hour long. For longer flights, well, something other than peanuts please!! - 10/25/2008   10:17:17 PM
  • 34
    I had terrible childhood asthma (only exercise-induced, now!) and season allergies growing up, no food allergies but I stopped eating red meat when I was in 5th grade because it was so hard on my stomach (and haven't touched it since!)

    My daughter is 3 and hasn't shown signs of either yet, so I'm hoping that she gained her father's resiliency health-wise! - 10/25/2008   8:23:47 PM
  • 33
    I had a lightbulb moment a while back. I was flipping through the channels and found one of the save the children specials, they were talking about this peanut butter mixture they would give to starving children nd they'd survive. The gal with them asked about food allergies and they said that generaly only industrialized countries have food allergies and un-industrialized don't get allergies. So as other people have noted that all the comforts that we live with is killing us.
    A couple things that others have written confused me - Iamdiosa - said that she wanted GF rice - rice is gluten free but has glutin which is something different unless she's allergic to gluten and glutin but she wrote like it was the same thing.
    Morowolf wrote about her 19 year old daughter being in the 1st wave of peanut allergies. Then popeye the turtle wrote that didn't know anyone in the 50's with allergies. I have a close friend in her 50's and she and her sisters all have horrible allergies since childhood. One of her sisters has peanut allergies and is one of the people that testified in congress about peanut allergies that passed the laws that are in place now about no peanuts on planes and putting on labels. My friend is allergic to chocolate and luckily was already in the hospital for tonsils when they found out. They gave her chocolate pudding or ice cream and almost died.
    For myself - I can't have Gluten, limit dairy, lard, and don't produce enzymes to break down pork - I still eat some but know the consequence if I eat too much. Don't get me started on meds
    Also Popeyethe turtle - guar gum is a binder along with xanthum gum - they're used a lot in Gluten free food since without gluten it tends to crumble so need something else to bind it together. - 10/25/2008   4:13:55 PM
  • 32
    I didn't become lactose intolerant until after I had my gall bladder taken out. I really hope I don't develop a nut allergy. They seem to be in everything! - 10/25/2008   2:53:16 PM
  • 31
    My brother and I were diagnosed with various food allergies at the age of about 9 or 10, but we were given shots for them and we supposedly outgrew them or developed immunity in about 2-3 years. But then I was diagnosed with them again at about 17, and have been on shots off and on ever since (I'm 28 now).

    My sisters, on the other hand, are a completely different story. Both were diagnosed in high school when they were suddenly just horribly sick and miserable, and missed tons of school. One is strongly allergic to garlic, and the other is allergic to peanuts, chocolate, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and eggs. She had been allergic to dairy as well but has seemingly gotten over that one. Neither one of my sisters will go into shock if they eat one of their forbidden foods, but they will be sick and miserable for up to 2 days afterward. The one that's allergic to chocolate can't even be in the same room - she gets a miserable headache just from the smell!

    With all these allergies, going to restaurants can be a pain, but we tend to frequent a few that are willing to cook special for us and know us well. And my mom has done a fantastic job of finding things to cook that everyone can eat, but I do admit I felt bad for my sisters when they went off to college and had to deal with dining hall food. - 10/25/2008   12:25:11 PM
  • 30
    For one thing, nowadays our food stuffs are genetically engineered and that affects other foods.
    For another thing, I have discovered that bowel problems can mimic allergies. Since an operation, I can now eat things that I haven't been able to eat for ages! - 10/25/2008   12:21:49 PM
  • 29
    I believe more allergies are a result of more testing. I think the allergies were there but now there's more testing. - 10/25/2008   11:14:09 AM
  • IMMOVINGON
    28
    My son was diagnosed with food allergies when he was 3 years old. The hardest part was teaching him, at that age, that he couldn't eat certain things. We had bottles of Benedryl everywhere he went on a regualer basis and kept 2 in each car. When he started school, lunchtime was a huge concern, even if he took his lunch. Now that he is 12, he knows what he can and cannot eat or be near, the symptoms, and that his medicine is in the nurse's office.

    When he was first diagnosed, we were told that some children became alleregic to foods that they ate too often. However, his test and experience show that he is allergic to shellfish and that was not on his favorite food list at 3 years old. - 10/25/2008   10:43:40 AM
  • LINZBAGS
    27
    I personally think that it has somthing to do with all the new vacinations that have come out since 1990. There were only ten shots then and now there are well over 36. All of them use egg embryo in them. That may be where the allergies are coming from in small children. If your child is over the age of one try giving him/her 1 TBSP of locally grown honey. I have herd that local honey will help with allergies. Plus honey is a very good antioxidant. - 10/25/2008   10:25:39 AM
  • 26
    I would love to know why food allergies are increasing. It's not just that more parents are getting their children diagnosed, because that wouldn't account for the increase in hospitalizations. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that our diets are so much more varied, and our food comes from more different places now than it did even 50 years ago. Until 100 or so years ago, people ate seasonal foods grown locally. That limits variety somewhat, and reduces exposure to potential new allergens. Now we get our food through a global trade network. Everything is in season somewhere in the world, so we can get "summer fruits" in the middle of our winter. The diversity of our culture provides us the opportunity to try foods that our parents and grandparents would never have had the opportunity to try. There are ethnic restaurants in every town. Perhaps this huge increase in different foods is challenging for our bodies to handle. - 10/25/2008   9:34:47 AM
  • 25
    No food allergies here.

    My son's friend was misdiagnosed with food allergies, and there was very few things that he could eat. She was so careful and he went without so much to have the diagnosis be wrong. So people may want to get a second opinion with there kids. What he had was a problem with his bowels.

    Lisa - 10/25/2008   9:21:33 AM
  • 24
    I am a gluten-free vegan. I have a gluten intolerance, and I choose not to eat meat, dairy, eggs, fish, honey. I have learned how to read labels and also to talk to restaurant staff. It's not easy, but it gets easier. You really learn a lot about what is in food that you never thought about before! - 10/25/2008   8:46:19 AM
  • 23
    My son has had milk,egg,tree nuts allergies since he was 2 months old.Thankfully they are not as severe as they first were.At first diagnosis,1 teaspoon of milk meant a trip to ER because of hives,trouble breathing,now his lips just blow up. We are still read every label and ask at every place we eat what type of oil they use. - 10/25/2008   8:15:10 AM
  • 22
    We also went through the dairy intolerance but also because of reflux he had another long list of foods to avoid. He was diagnosed at age 3 and it lasted for 3 years. Preschool was a nightmare. They tried their best but it was always the little hidden item that was skipped on the labels that got him. The dietitian and I would go over the menu each week to plan his meals but whenever they switched brand of food something would always get by. He also had to avoid citrus which seemed to go under a lot of names. It took 3 years of slowly reintroducing dairy and having to start over several times before his system could tolerate it. BUT WE SUCCEEDED. He can eat most things now but he still has to watch the amount of dairy he get - to much and he get sick to his stomach. - 10/25/2008   6:35:01 AM
  • 21
    Fortunately for me, my son doesn't have any food allergies, of course not knowing any better he was eating eggs, peanut butter and seafood at around 1 year old.

    As far as the increase in allergies, I often wonder if part of that lies with all the chemical enhancements to food. People used to eat much "cleaner" before technology hit the food industry. - 10/25/2008   5:22:01 AM
  • GARDENINGGRAMMA
    20
    None of my three sons had food allergies, but our youngest grandson was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds just this past week. We have now started to read labels and contact companies to be sure a product is safe for him. This new territory for us. - 10/25/2008   4:43:05 AM
  • 19
    I breastfed my four oldest children, and didn't give them any solid food until they were six months old, so none of them have problems with allergies. Breastfeeding is so important to give your newborn extra immunity protection, and that means warding off allergies. - 10/25/2008   2:29:51 AM
  • 18
    My son is allergic to corn and intolerant of wheat products (but not gluten). His problems began at 2 weeks of age and I had isolate the problem foods by the time he was 6 weeks old. Interestingly, he can tolerate small amounts of the ancient grains like spelt, kamut, etc. My husband and I have no alergies (though members of our families do). Eliminating wheat and, especially, corn from our food is very costly in both time and money. My son is now almost 6 and as he moves out into the world of school and friends, I am doing a lot of training so he knows to ask whether a food is safe for him to eat and to recognize some common menu items as either OK or not. - 10/25/2008   2:08:37 AM
  • 17
    I've lived in many other countries outside the US where more natural foods are eaten and less processed foods than the US, and I didn't hear of many people or hildren having any allergies. I hear about food allergies in the US all the time. I wonder if there is a connection? - 10/25/2008   1:36:14 AM
  • 16
    Makes my sensitivity to shell fish sound inconsequential. - 10/25/2008   1:01:21 AM
  • 15
    Popeyetheturtle - I agree with your comments. Our food intake has really taken a turn for the worse over the years. As well as other forms of pollution we are exposed to and expose our children to.
    When you refer to children not getting enough "dirt time" it reminded me of an article I read a couple of years ago in a National Geographic. It was about the increase of allergies in children. And one of their findings was that kids living in the country and with animals were far more likely NOT to develop any allergies than children living in cities. And one of those reasons is because of exposure to dirt and animal poop actually increasing the child's immune system against developing allergies. When talking about the animal waste they were not talking about children playing in it, but just that when you live in close proximity to animals there is traces of it in the soil, grass, foot ware, etc that children are exposed to by accident. - 10/24/2008   11:52:18 PM
  • IZEFIA
    14
    I became allergic to almonds, plums, and hazelnuts at age 20, and four years later I added peanuts and peas to that list. Both times my first reaction was throat constriction, which is so scary since it's life threatening. Many people think about food allergies as something children have, but anyone can develop a food allergy. Having lots of environmental allergies made me more likely to develop the nut allergies. It's sad that I really loved almonds and peanuts and enjoyed them for 20 years without a problem.
    The related foods are almost more a pain than the actual foods... I can't eat peaches, cherries, or any beans.
    Reading labels isn't too bad except with really processed foods with giant lists of words. What do you do with "natural flavoring" though... is it possible it's coming from a fruit I can't eat? Something not usually thought about is labeling alcoholic drinks. I rarely drink, but at least I know that amaretto comes from almonds! This could be a pain for anyone with a grain allergy too as some things are made from barley, wheat, etc. How are we supposed to know? They aren't labeled at all.

    I could go on and on about negative aspects of food allergies, but it's good for me to remind myself that there are worse things to have, and at least I'm attentive and careful to keep myself alive and healthy. - 10/24/2008   10:59:43 PM
  • 13
    My DD, now 19, is among the first of this wave of peanut allergies. When she was first in school, it seemed like no one had heard of the peanut allergies and now it is everywhere. We are now dealing with her college cafeteria and it is the first time they have dealt with such extreme allergies. But what has always interested me is that I was pregnant and delivered her while living in Belgium ... yet Belgium has a very low incidence of peanut allergies, so I don't think the cause was anything environmental about my diet or pollution. I had food allergies and eczema as a child, but never anything anaphylactic or asthmatic ... and PB & J's were a staple in my house while I was growing up and no one had peanut allergies. So somehow I think I did pass on a susceptibility to allergies, but why the allergies are so much more severe for this generation is a real mystery. - 10/24/2008   10:55:24 PM
  • 12
    I'm very worried about this. I'm pregnant with my first child. I have Celiac Disease (auto-immune response to glutens in wheat, rye, barley, semolina, etc), rice (working to see if I can add small amounts of certified gluten free rice back in), soy, corn, eggs, dairy, oats, peanuts, and tree nuts. Here's hoping my child gets lucky and doesn't have any of this. - 10/24/2008   9:58:10 PM
  • 11
    the son of a buddy of mine, has allergies to wheat, soy and dairy.... Good luck finding anything that doesn't have one of those ingredients in it... His wife had to learn how to cook.. but taking the kid out is even worse -and parties and such, when he was younger he really had to be watched like a hawk.

    I"ll take my bee stink allergy that could kill m e over an allergy to cow dairy products any day of the week... - 10/24/2008   9:30:56 PM
  • 10
    My 9 year old daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts and thus can't have tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews etc) either as 1) they are almost always processed in same company as peanuts or 2) they are a "related" allergy, often causing cross reactions with peanut allergic kids. We have known since she was 18 months old and after her third peanut butter sandwich in her life, suddenly she swelled up, got all red and couldn't breathe well. At that time, magazines, internet and Peds. told you to wait to introduce peanuts until age 1, now they recommend age 3, I personally recommend age 5. It is a real big pain in the butt to have to read every single label, to go on every single field trip (only I can use the Epipen), to make something from scratch for every single party and holiday at school, to not let her go to friends houses unless I can caome too, to keep all nuts away from younger brother who then touches and plays with her. And yet, if I don't do these things, my lovely 9 year old daughter could die, in 10 minutes. So I remind myself that it could be worse, she could have airborne allergies to peanuts (if someone across the cafeteria has a PB&J, she could react) or it could have been much worse at 18mths, and I make do.
    Remember if someone has a food allergy it is not just no of that food. My DD can't have regular M&Ms because they are made in the same factory/machines as the peanut M&Ms. She can't have anything from a bakery, because they don't sterilize between products that contain nuts. My good friend who is allergic to raw fruit, had a reaction from touching the baggies of cut vegetable that her daughter had made for a party because her daughter had eaten a raw apple, then made the bags.
    BE AWARE!!!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!! - 10/24/2008   8:40:38 PM
  • MACKBLESSED
    9
    watch the amount of sugar your kids intake.. - 10/24/2008   6:56:30 PM
  • MACKBLESSED
    8
    watch the amount of sugar your kids intake.. - 10/24/2008   6:56:29 PM
  • MRSGBERG
    7
    My son had eczema at 4 months and asthma by 17 months. I had researched those things which taught me that he could have a food allergy. I had a feeling it would be peanut - my favorite. I fed him peanut butter...so little...1/4 of a teaspoon. He pushed it away (which he never did to any other food), but I hid it in some fruit and stuffed it down his throat. Within 15 minutes he was wheezing, clear snot was pouring from his nose, he had hives appearing on his eyelids, and his facial swelling was headed for his throat. I gave him his albuterol inhaler and drove him (too fast, crying, trying to keep him awake in his car seat, trying to get him to breathe ---btw: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CALL 911!---) to the Children's hospital. As we pulled in he vomited. We stripped him down in triage...he was red ALL over with purple lips. They dosed him with Benadryl and sent him back. He got oxygen and nebulizer treatments. Two nurses worked frantically to get an IV started, but it is hard to get a vein on a 1 year old with a 52/12 blood pressure. He got poked in his hands and feet...finally one took. They flushed his system with IV fluids, and about 7 hours later he seemed normal again. We stayed at the hospital into the next day and left with an EpiPen Jr. We later found out (after blood tests) that he is allergic to peanuts eggs, dogs, and cats. Now he breaks out when he eats some beans (legumes are often cross-reactive with peanuts) and most fresh fruit. The Dr says next time he eats peanuts it will be twice as bad!

    Why did this happen?
    Karma, perhaps. Now I can't have my favorite treat...even if I eat it, he could die after I kiss him.
    OR
    I ate a TON of peanut butter when I was pregnant - WIC gave me lots of PB. WIC forgot to mention the study from the late 1990's that advised mothers with ANY family history of asthma and/or allergies to NOT eat peanuts during pregnancy, as it may pas along an allergy. - 10/24/2008   6:50:36 PM
  • SP_COACH_NANCY
    6
    I think nut allergies are the most frightening. Many years ago while I was a pediatric nurse we had a child come into the office with wheezing, swollen lips, eyelids, and hands after eating a PB&J. Gave him a shot of epinephrine and transported via ambulance to the hospital. The scary thing with nut allergies is most foods are prepared, like Stepfanie mentioned, with peanut based products or in factories where nut products are also packaged. - 10/24/2008   6:12:29 PM

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