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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

What Are Your Symptoms Of Peanut Allergy?
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26 posts in this topic

My 2 year old is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, hazelnut, pistachio and sunflower, but I never would've known had he not been tested. He had been eating peanut butter on crackers, toast, sandwiches, etc. for at least 6 months without any noticeable symptoms and having it almost every day as it was one of the few things I could count on that he would eat and that would pack on some calories for him. He tested moderate high on almost every nut though in his blood work.

Does everyone have symptoms or are some just not noticeable than others?

Do you all carry epipens? Our allergy doctor said he doesn't have anaphalactic levels to any of his allergies and the epipen was not brought up at all. Should I revisit this with him? I've had him off nuts for 5 days now, but have not been reading labels close enough to see if he could still be getting traces somewhere.

Has anyone symptoms gotten worse over time?

Do you read labels for these and avoid things that might have traces of nuts in them?

Are there any peanut butter substitutes when he's allergic to all of this?

Thanks!

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can he have soy? I like the soynut butter...

I don't think I'm allergic to peanuts, but when I eat them my lips get tingly. My allergy tests didn't show any sensitivity to peanuts...

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My 2 year old is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, hazelnut, pistachio and sunflower, but I never would've known had he not been tested. He had been eating peanut butter on crackers, toast, sandwiches, etc. for at least 6 months without any noticeable symptoms and having it almost every day as it was one of the few things I could count on that he would eat and that would pack on some calories for him. He tested moderate high on almost every nut though in his blood work.

Does everyone have symptoms or are some just not noticeable than others?

Do you all carry epipens? Our allergy doctor said he doesn't have anaphalactic levels to any of his allergies and the epipen was not brought up at all. Should I revisit this with him? I've had him off nuts for 5 days now, but have not been reading labels close enough to see if he could still be getting traces somewhere.

Has anyone symptoms gotten worse over time?

Do you read labels for these and avoid things that might have traces of nuts in them?

Are there any peanut butter substitutes when he's allergic to all of this?

Thanks!

I had peanut allergy since early childhood. My reaction was always itchy lips, mouth, tongue, throat and ears. I never developed an anaphylactic response, and eventually outgrew the allergy as an adult (though sometimes I still get a slight reaction to peanuts...I suspect I'm more sensitive to raw peanut than roasted/cooked. My peanut reaction is the same as my other food allergy reactions...my allergist calls it "oral allergy syndrome." A friend's child had peanut allergy since infanthood. They avoided all peanut and nut products, and then re-tested at 8 years old. He outgrew the allergy already, and now eats peanuts to keep the allergy at bay. :)

Pea Butter is one substitute for peanut butter. I don't like it myself (neither do my kids!) but some kids find it a fine alternative. There are other nut butters as well, but I wouldn't introduce any more new nuts to your 2 year old yet. I'd give it another year at least.

Michelle

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You could try almond butter because you did not list almonds in the list and my friend (also a celaic) who is allergic to all nuts, can eat almonds, they are supposed to ebe hypoallergenic but i am not sure it probably varries from person to person

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I guess I'm not sure what exactly is considered a tree nut, but these are the foods/drinks we know for sure he's allergic to based on blood work:

Peanuts, almonds, brazil nut, cashew, coconut, pecan, sesame, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio, sunflower, macadamia, egg, and milk

We are testing tomorrow for soy and wheat and maybe others after talking to the allergist.

We're not sure about peas as he refuses to eat them. He ate them as a baby, but had hives every day from all his other allergies, so it was really hard figuring out what he could handle and what he couldn't. I'm up for trying the peabutter or soybutter if it turns out he's not allergic. He refuses soymilk, but not sure if he just doesn't like the taste or texture or if he knows something I don't. ;)

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You could try almond butter because you did not list almonds in the list and my friend (also a celaic) who is allergic to all nuts, can eat almonds, they are supposed to ebe hypoallergenic but i am not sure it probably varries from person to person

No such thing as a hypoallergenic food, let alone nuts. :) Almonds and hazelnuts (filberts) are quite closely related in terms of allergy...and, as well, those nuts are related to allergy to tree fruit, which can be related to birch tree pollen allergy. I am severly allergic to birch tree pollen, and so have a cross reaction with all those foods...I can eat all of them cooked (including the nuts) but not raw. Lucky me. :P

Michelle

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No such thing as a hypoallergenic food, let alone nuts. :) Almonds and hazelnuts (filberts) are quite closely related in terms of allergy...and, as well, those nuts are related to allergy to tree fruit, which can be related to birch tree pollen allergy. I am severly allergic to birch tree pollen, and so have a cross reaction with all those foods...I can eat all of them cooked (including the nuts) but not raw. Lucky me. :P

Michelle

Interesting....is this common to have the allergy to the other things associated with it? If he's allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts, which fruits should I be concerned about?

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I posted in the EG topic about this. Both my daughter and I have peanut allergies, mine is mild hers is severe. My daughter is also allergic to tree nuts and peas (legumes like peanuts). We both carry epi pens.

There is a ton of info on the net about peanut allergies, its certainly well documented and studied... its not an allergy that is commonly outgrown (it can be but usually isn't). It also has a tendancy to get worse with each exposure (like bee stings).

My daughter had a bad peanut allergy initially. In public school she kept getting exposed to peanuts... kids eat it and its on their hands and door knobs, she probably had up to 10 exposures a year and her allergy went from bad to severe, she now has airborne reactions. We did take her out to homeschool her for a while and she went back to public in middle school as not as many kids eat peanut butter and jelly at that age. All thru middle school she had very few reactions and now in high school this year, so far she has had none.

My reaction is mild with itchy eyes, neck, skin.

susan

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I posted in the EG topic about this. Both my daughter and I have peanut allergies, mine is mild hers is severe. My daughter is also allergic to tree nuts and peas (legumes like peanuts). We both carry epi pens.

There is a ton of info on the net about peanut allergies, its certainly well documented and studied... its not an allergy that is commonly outgrown (it can be but usually isn't). It also has a tendancy to get worse with each exposure (like bee stings).

My daughter had a bad peanut allergy initially. In public school she kept getting exposed to peanuts... kids eat it and its on their hands and door knobs, she probably had up to 10 exposures a year and her allergy went from bad to severe, she now has airborne reactions. We did take her out to homeschool her for a while and she went back to public in middle school as not as many kids eat peanut butter and jelly at that age. All thru middle school she had very few reactions and now in high school this year, so far she has had none.

My reaction is mild with itchy eyes, neck, skin.

susan

Susan,

Thanks for the info! I'm still new enought that it never would've even crossed my mind about PB&J's getting on doorknobs, etc. in elementary school. That's scary! Do you have any idea why peanuts and beestings can get worse while other types of allergies can get better? Also, what about tree nuts? worse or better? Thanks for your input and help.

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I really don't know why that is with bee stings and peanuts... in elementary schools peanut better is virtually everywhere... kids eat and touch stuff. But my daughter reacts in airplanes when they pass out peanuts. She is very sensitive now.

Susan

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My daughter has had an anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter, we avoid peanuts, all nuts, and seeds like the plague. With peanut allergy, it's seldom outgrown and it tends to get worse with each exposure.

I carry epi pends, benedryl, and she wears a medic alert bracelet.

FWIW - "classes" with regards to RAST allergy testing mean nothing. The theory is that a child with a lower "class" allergy won't react as badly as a child with higher class allergy. Days after anaphylaxis, my daughter was a high class 3.

She recently tested negative on the RAST, negative on skin testing, and then during a food trial she started vomitting profusly - and they quickly haulted the challenge!

I'm absolutely TERRIFIED for her to start school next year.

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Many people never develop anaphylactic reactions to allergenic foods that they are sensitive to. It's best not to continue exposing him to it, but it means that you don't have to be as paranoid about, for example, someone in the same room eating peanuts, so long as he doesn't eat any. I don't have any suggestions of substitutes, other than looking into different types of food - maybe hummus?

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My daughter has had an anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter, we avoid peanuts, all nuts, and seeds like the plague. With peanut allergy, it's seldom outgrown and it tends to get worse with each exposure.

I carry epi pends, benedryl, and she wears a medic alert bracelet.

FWIW - "classes" with regards to RAST allergy testing mean nothing. The theory is that a child with a lower "class" allergy won't react as badly as a child with higher class allergy. Days after anaphylaxis, my daughter was a high class 3.

She recently tested negative on the RAST, negative on skin testing, and then during a food trial she started vomitting profusly - and they quickly haulted the challenge!

I'm absolutely TERRIFIED for her to start school next year.

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Oh my gosh. I had absolutely NO idea that the symptoms were so vague, or not easily noticed by a parent. I always just heard about the peanut allergy and the epipen and calling 911 type anaphylactic reaction. I didn't realize that someone could be allergic but still eat it or that there were different levels of allergic reaction. I just thought that if my kids didn't react obviously, that they were fine with it.

Thanks for posting this. It's a good thing for everyone to know.

Nancy

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Many people never develop anaphylactic reactions to allergenic foods that they are sensitive to. It's best not to continue exposing him to it, but it means that you don't have to be as paranoid about, for example, someone in the same room eating peanuts, so long as he doesn't eat any. I don't have any suggestions of substitutes, other than looking into different types of food - maybe hummus?

Anaphylaxis is still a rather "rare" reaction to allergens. Allergies seem to be on the rise, but I don't know if true anaphylactic reactions are, or if allergist are treating allergies with more caution now and prescribing epipens "just in case" reactions become severe.

I knew I wasn't anaphylactic to peanuts, my parents never bothered to have me officially tested as a kid and my school could have cared less about allergies (I had to fend for myself to avoid reactions, and so knew how to carefully avoid allergens.) It wasn't until I did some testing as an adult that the allergist insisted I carry an epipen. I thought it was overkill...my allergies never did get worse...and I eventually outgrew the peanut allergy. It used to be thought that outgrowing peanut allery was rare, but, from what I've read, it's actually quite common (in the case of non-anaphylactic allergies.)

My kids' elementary school is now "nut aware," and I think it's a cop out. We've gone from being careful on a class by class basis (used to be no nuts or nut products were allowed in a classroom with an allergic child) to outright banning nut products from the school. Personally, I believe that it causes complacency...that there is an assumption that the school is now completely safe. However, for children who are truly anaphylactic, the risks are higher because the risk of cc is still there. How many kids have their lunches prepared in a home where nut products are everywhere? How many kids eat peanut butter for breakfast and have it on their hands/clothes and are bringing peanut residue into the school unknowingly? If a child then does have a reaction, how does the source get traced? And how does the allergic child learn to watch out for themselves? There will come a time when their school or workplace is not "nut aware," will that child know to suddenly start watching for risks of exposure?

Finally, what about the kids with other severe allergies? So, the nut allergies are supposedly taken care of. But milk & egg proteins are in everything. There are celiac kids in our school...we don't see gluten being banned. There's got to be a better solution.

Michelle

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Interesting....is this common to have the allergy to the other things associated with it? If he's allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts, which fruits should I be concerned about?

It's not uncommon to cross react to foods. There are the foods that cross react with birch pollen (alder pollen is closely related too,) there are foods that cross react with ragweed pollen, and those that cross react with grasses. I really wouldn't be concerned about any cross reactions with fruit until you come upon it. Do check out this info on the allergenicity of foods, it is helpful in determining how & when to introduce foods to babies and toddlers: http://www.hallpublications.com/title2_sample1.html

Michelle :)

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My kids' elementary school is now "nut aware," and I think it's a cop out. We've gone from being careful on a class by class basis (used to be no nuts or nut products were allowed in a classroom with an allergic child) to outright banning nut products from the school. Personally, I believe that it causes complacency...that there is an assumption that the school is now completely safe. However, for children who are truly anaphylactic, the risks are higher because the risk of cc is still there. How many kids have their lunches prepared in a home where nut products are everywhere? How many kids eat peanut butter for breakfast and have it on their hands/clothes and are bringing peanut residue into the school unknowingly? If a child then does have a reaction, how does the source get traced? And how does the allergic child learn to watch out for themselves? There will come a time when their school or workplace is not "nut aware," will that child know to suddenly start watching for risks of exposure?

Finally, what about the kids with other severe allergies? So, the nut allergies are supposedly taken care of. But milk & egg proteins are in everything. There are celiac kids in our school...we don't see gluten being banned. There's got to be a better solution.

Michelle

What about people who work there?

I went over to the peanut allergy board and read a lot of threads. Now I understand that the people who hang out there and post are probably the ones who have the most serious problems. They were arguing about how to keep their child's classrooms peanut free, as some of them have contact or inhalation issues, and I can see that. The classroom in which I student taught had a peanut-allergic student with a 504, and even if a child had no documentation, on request of the parent I would (personally) not bring in nuts or goods containing nuts, even though it's been proven that many people who think they or their child has serious allergies are mistaken. But there's nothing I can do about the other students in the absense of administrative action.

Some of the parents were trying to make their schools entirely peanut-free, although some of the same people were talking about eating at PF Chang's, which hardly has a safe kitchen if somebody is deathly allergic.

But I currently am a substitute. There is no district allergy training program, and so far as I know, there is no district policy as far as subs are concerned. As yet I have never been sent to a nut-free classroom to substitute. If the school or classroom I happen to be sent to tomorrow were peanut-free, I am sure they would not tell me before arrival, giving me the opportunity to bring in what they would consider a "safe" lunch. And I'm sure there is nothing in the school that I can eat if they tell me my lunch is not suitable, nor can I work all day without eating. I'm sure they'd fire me if I told them I was leaving the premises to eat my lunch someplace safe.

So I'm conflicted.

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But I currently am a substitute. There is no district allergy training program, and so far as I know, there is no district policy as far as subs are concerned. As yet I have never been sent to a nut-free classroom to substitute. If the school or classroom I happen to be sent to tomorrow were peanut-free, I am sure they would not tell me before arrival, giving me the opportunity to bring in what they would consider a "safe" lunch. And I'm sure there is nothing in the school that I can eat if they tell me my lunch is not suitable, nor can I work all day without eating. I'm sure they'd fire me if I told them I was leaving the premises to eat my lunch someplace safe.

So I'm conflicted.

With our "nut aware" policy, the substitutes are supposed to be informed of the policy before they come into the school. Whether this happens in practice I don't know. I do wonder, though, how much going "nut aware" has to do with the per-allergic-child-funding the school receives (for additional classroom aides) rather than with protecting the children.

As an aside, one of the teachers (she is my son's teacher this year) is celiac. She discourages outside treats for birthdays in the class. Instead, once a month she prepares a gluten free (and obviously nut free!) cake to celebrate that month's birthdays. My son commented on how tasty the cake is. It really is nice to see her educating the kids on gluten intolerance. :)

Michelle

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i have mixed feelings about the nut free school issue, mostly at the elementary level if there are children with peanut allergies like my daughter's then I support it. My daughter had reactions almost every day in her elementary school, they would give her benadryl and then she would sleep thru the afternoon (whether in class or at home). It got to the point where she hated school because she got sick there almost every day. It wasn't a fun place to be and she certainly wasn't learning much being in the nurses office constantly.

It was interesting because the school wouldn't go peanut free but they were latex free (for one highly allergic child). And when you say the "if you make a school peanut free then people get complacent" ... I'm not buying that, I can tell you for sure that most parents with a daughter like mine NEVER get complacent, you just can't. However when peanut butter isn't smeared all over the school you just have fewer reactions over all.

My daughter spent one year in a peanut free school and not once did she have a reaction. I'm sure occasional mistakes were made but again there wasn't peanut butter smeared all over the lunch room. You asked why they don't ban gluten, I'm not sure it often causes anaphalactic reactions. And according to our allergist the number of children not only with peanut allergies but also with severe reactions requiring the use of an epi pen has gone up dramatically.

Again I think at the elementary level we need to do what we can to keep our kids healthy and safe at achool, as a child gets older, like my 15 year old they do need to learn how to manage it themselves. But we never let down our guard, with medi alert bracelets, epi pens, benadryl, cell phones, etc.

Susan

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I get the numb, tingely upper lip thing too with nuts. I also get a delayed reaction of abdominal pain and loose stools a day or two later. I never suspected nuts and seeds until I had IgG testing done a few months ago. I miss nut butters, and have not found a substitute as I can't have soy either.

Claire

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I'm with pixiegirl on the issue with allergen policies in elementary schools. The problem with allergies is every one has a different level of reactivity, and doctors cannot predict who will have a "milder" anaphylactic type reaction and who will have a more severe reaction. So sometimes people look at parents of allergic children as "paranoid" because it seems like they are being overly-cautious----but the reason people who are allergic get so scared at the smallest hive after injesting something is one never knows how far a reaction can progress or how quickly. There is a much better chance of survival if medication is administered immediately.

When I had my worst reaction, it actually seemed *mild* at first to what I was used to---my throat was itchy, but barely, and I felt nauseous but did not actually throw up. Reactions can escalate quickly and by the time it is an actual emergency it might be too late to do anything. When I did get to the hospital, the first dose of adrenaline + other meds + oxygen had absolutely no effect--I could still barely breathe. Fortunately the second dose kicked in! I had had *a lot* of reactions before, but never like this. I learned the hard way that allergies can be unpredictable.

It can take very little to cause a reaction---Sabrina Shannon (for whom "Sabrina's Law" is named) died after eating french fries in her Ottawa school cafeteria that should have been safe. They now think that maybe it had gotten contaminated with cheese since poutine was also served on that day and she was anaphylactic to milk. She did not know that she was having an allergic reaction--she thought it was her asthma. So she ran to the office with her asthma meds but without her epipen. Any delay in administration of adrenaline can mean the difference between death and life---it took too long for the staff to rush to the classroom to get the epipen. Hence the need for a carefully thought out emergency plan for every student who is at risk for anaphylaxis.

I never had problems with having reactions in school that weren't due to me eating things that I shouldn't have (so far, my worst contact reaction has just involved hives), but some people are very sensitive to contact and to inhalation. It is very rare, but it does happen. (My sisters are like this.) And even for those kids who aren't as sensitive, ingestion can be dangerous---ingestion can involve as little as putting one's fingers in one's mouth after touching, say, a contaminated grocery cart (I've heard of kids going into anaphylactic shock in the grocery store). Even rubbing one's eyes can = ingestion can = anaphylaxis.

It does make things difficult when there are multiple food allergies---I know that some parents with children who are anaphylactic to milk don't necessarily advocate for a ban. I think in those cases it is reasonable to restrict some foods like cheesies or any cheese-covered finger food which can make a real mess and to supervise handwashing after eating. I do think in general reducing the number of food-related activities in the classroom is the way to go. Not to mention the fact that kids would be healthier--I have a feeling that cake is served in the classroom more often than fruit and veggies.

On a different topic--I find it interesting, Claire, that you react to nuts and seeds and also to quinoa. I had a very bad experience with quinoa---but I had heard that few people are allergic. So I wasn't sure if it was the quinoa or cross contamination or what. But maybe people who are allergic to seeds and things might react to quinoa too?

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It's not uncommon to cross react to foods. There are the foods that cross react with birch pollen (alder pollen is closely related too,) there are foods that cross react with ragweed pollen, and those that cross react with grasses. I really wouldn't be concerned about any cross reactions with fruit until you come upon it. Do check out this info on the allergenicity of foods, it is helpful in determining how & when to introduce foods to babies and toddlers: http://www.hallpublications.com/title2_sample1.html

Michelle :)

very interesting! Thanks, Michelle! Two other foods I suspected are towards the top of the list...oranges and tomatoes. I had never heard of anyone being allergic to these before.....I'm learning more about allergies and related issues from this board than I've learned my whole life. Thanks again!

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My 2 year old is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, hazelnut, pistachio and sunflower, but I never would've known had he not been tested. He had been eating peanut butter on crackers, toast, sandwiches, etc. for at least 6 months without any noticeable symptoms and having it almost every day as it was one of the few things I could count on that he would eat and that would pack on some calories for him. He tested moderate high on almost every nut though in his blood work.

Does everyone have symptoms or are some just not noticeable than others?

Do you all carry epipens? Our allergy doctor said he doesn't have anaphalactic levels to any of his allergies and the epipen was not brought up at all. Should I revisit this with him? I've had him off nuts for 5 days now, but have not been reading labels close enough to see if he could still be getting traces somewhere.

Has anyone symptoms gotten worse over time?

Do you read labels for these and avoid things that might have traces of nuts in them?

Are there any peanut butter substitutes when he's allergic to all of this?

Thanks!

I just found out last month that I have a peanut allergy and I don't ever recall having any serious symptoms to peanuts. I was told to go on a elimination diet and then re-introduce the foods that I am allergic to. I was told that I probably should not re-introduce peanuts, just in case. I carry epi-pens with me, but only because I had a serious allergic reaction to what I believe was wheat.
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i have mixed feelings about the nut free school issue, mostly at the elementary level if there are children with peanut allergies like my daughter's then I support it. My daughter had reactions almost every day in her elementary school, they would give her benadryl and then she would sleep thru the afternoon (whether in class or at home). It got to the point where she hated school because she got sick there almost every day. It wasn't a fun place to be and she certainly wasn't learning much being in the nurses office constantly.

It was interesting because the school wouldn't go peanut free but they were latex free (for one highly allergic child). And when you say the "if you make a school peanut free then people get complacent" ... I'm not buying that, I can tell you for sure that most parents with a daughter like mine NEVER get complacent, you just can't. However when peanut butter isn't smeared all over the school you just have fewer reactions over all.

I didn't mean that those with allergies or those with children with allergies become complacent. I meant that the teachers, students and other parents (who really don't understand the allergies to begin with) become complacent. The assumption is that the school is automatically safe with the "nut aware" policy, and I'd bet that there are still parents secretly sending products with nuts, or not ensuring their kids have clean hands before going to school, or are sending foods that may have been contaminated in the home.

I also question the need to go totally nut free as opposed to peanut free. I do support making the school safe from peanuts (I was a peanut allergic child myself, and would have appreciated not worrying about peanuts when I was in school too!), but is there really a need to be completely nut free (meaning all other nuts aside from peanuts?) It certainly would be good for my family if we could add more nutritious choices to my middle child's lunch. He has such a short list of acceptable foods, it would be nice to be able to add something like almond butter to his lunch, rather than having cheese sandwiches every single day (he won't eat meat!) Not to mention the list of nuts we got from the school included items that aren't really nuts, and was missing a couple of types of nuts...gives me the sense that the administration doesn't know what they are doing and don't really understand the allergy at all...they're just blindly following some program.

My daughter spent one year in a peanut free school and not once did she have a reaction. I'm sure occasional mistakes were made but again there wasn't peanut butter smeared all over the lunch room. You asked why they don't ban gluten, I'm not sure it often causes anaphalactic reactions. And according to our allergist the number of children not only with peanut allergies but also with severe reactions requiring the use of an epi pen has gone up dramatically.

I can't argue the stats on allergy severity and epipen need...I don't know the numbers. I do know that awareness has increased though. I know that banning gluten is an impossibility, just throwing it out there. ;)

Again I think at the elementary level we need to do what we can to keep our kids healthy and safe at achool, as a child gets older, like my 15 year old they do need to learn how to manage it themselves. But we never let down our guard, with medi alert bracelets, epi pens, benadryl, cell phones, etc.

Susan

I do think that there is a point in elementary school when the kids are old enough to manage their allergies. I believe that kids are capable of it at a much earlier age than given credit for.

Michelle

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I'm with pixiegirl on the issue with allergen policies in elementary schools. The problem with allergies is every one has a different level of reactivity, and doctors cannot predict who will have a "milder" anaphylactic type reaction and who will have a more severe reaction. So sometimes people look at parents of allergic children as "paranoid" because it seems like they are being overly-cautious----but the reason people who are allergic get so scared at the smallest hive after injesting something is one never knows how far a reaction can progress or how quickly. There is a much better chance of survival if medication is administered immediately.

When I had my worst reaction, it actually seemed *mild* at first to what I was used to---my throat was itchy, but barely, and I felt nauseous but did not actually throw up. Reactions can escalate quickly and by the time it is an actual emergency it might be too late to do anything. When I did get to the hospital, the first dose of adrenaline + other meds + oxygen had absolutely no effect--I could still barely breathe. Fortunately the second dose kicked in! I had had *a lot* of reactions before, but never like this. I learned the hard way that allergies can be unpredictable.

It can take very little to cause a reaction---Sabrina Shannon (for whom "Sabrina's Law" is named) died after eating french fries in her Ottawa school cafeteria that should have been safe. They now think that maybe it had gotten contaminated with cheese since poutine was also served on that day and she was anaphylactic to milk. She did not know that she was having an allergic reaction--she thought it was her asthma. So she ran to the office with her asthma meds but without her epipen. Any delay in administration of adrenaline can mean the difference between death and life---it took too long for the staff to rush to the classroom to get the epipen. Hence the need for a carefully thought out emergency plan for every student who is at risk for anaphylaxis.

I'm not familiar with "Sabrina's Law," but will look it up when I have time later. But milk is one of those things that would be next to impossible to ban. I would expect that kids with anaphylactic reactions would be safer not to buy food from a cafeteria at school.

An emergency plan for the students is important. There are plans in place at our school for anaphylactic kids. Those kids carry their epipens, and there is a second epipen stored in the office. My son carries an epipen for penicillin allergy. I worry, though, that it may get used in the wrong case though...after all, it would be very difficult to accidently get penicillin at school. It would be more important for my son to have a medic alert bracelet instead, so that his info is always with him.

I never had problems with having reactions in school that weren't due to me eating things that I shouldn't have (so far, my worst contact reaction has just involved hives), but some people are very sensitive to contact and to inhalation. It is very rare, but it does happen. (My sisters are like this.) And even for those kids who aren't as sensitive, ingestion can be dangerous---ingestion can involve as little as putting one's fingers in one's mouth after touching, say, a contaminated grocery cart (I've heard of kids going into anaphylactic shock in the grocery store). Even rubbing one's eyes can = ingestion can = anaphylaxis.

It does make things difficult when there are multiple food allergies---I know that some parents with children who are anaphylactic to milk don't necessarily advocate for a ban. I think in those cases it is reasonable to restrict some foods like cheesies or any cheese-covered finger food which can make a real mess and to supervise handwashing after eating. I do think in general reducing the number of food-related activities in the classroom is the way to go. Not to mention the fact that kids would be healthier--I have a feeling that cake is served in the classroom more often than fruit and veggies.

Restricting cheeses & cheesies would not be going far enough. Unfortunately, milk is in the vast majority of prepared foods (we're finding this, since we're doing an elimiation diet for milk right now!) There just wouldn't be a practical way of keeping milk out of the classroom.

The food related-activities do need to be curbed at our school. We have one grade one teacher that likes to reward kids with junk food. Drives me absolutely nuts. Aside from the allergy implications, I just plain don't agree with rewarding expected behaviour with food...especially cookies, brownies, ice cream, lollipops, etc. :angry: I'm really glad my grade-oner doesn't have her for a teacher this year!

Michelle

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