Niece has peanut allergy and now we all must avoid peanuts?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by ArchOwl, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. ArchOwl

    ArchOwl The Highly Educated Owl

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    Hello! I wanted to get the point of view from parents who have children with a peanut allergy. My 4 year old niece has a peanut allergy to which my husband and I have been very understanding. We carry epi pens when with her, peanut cards for the chefs, and took a CPR class. We banish peanuts from our house when she comes over and abstain from any peanut ingredients or even those made on shared equipment. I would never dream of causing her harm in any way, but I feel as though their latest request is a little crazy.

    We have a big celebration this weekend in Las Vegas for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. We have several dinners/lunches planned for the weekend. I made reservations at several places and without being asked, made sure they could do a peanut free dish for my niece. I even got the chef's personal cell phone number and gave it to my brother in law so he could call with questions/concerns.

    My brother in law sent an email last night to everyone in the party asking all of us to abstain from any peanuts or peanut ingredients throughout the entire weekend. Honestly I think that is a little nuts (;)). My husband and I were planning on at least one Thai meal for lunch when the little ones were going to be at the pool, and I am pretty sure they use peanut oil. Is it even in the realm of possibility that by eating peanut oil I could harm my niece? I haven't been able to find anything about that on the American Academic of Pediatrics or WebMD information sites.

    So parents of peanut allergy kids, how do you feel about this? Am I being completely insensitive? I can take it. Sometimes you just need to really hear from others, you know? Thanks in advance. :)
     
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  3. Forevryoung

    Forevryoung DIS Veteran

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    My cousin has a peanut/tree nut/sesame/fish allergy. My Uncle keeps a jar of peanut butter in the house and eats it after she goes to bed- just makes sure he washes the spoon/counter down when he's done (he eats a spoonful :rotfl2:)

    My Aunt and Uncle would NEVER think of asking everyone to remove her allergies from their diet. We just know that if we eat something that she is allergic to we must diligently wash our hands/faces with soap and water before any interactions with her (she has a contact allergy to fish oils so we take the same precautions all around).

    I took her to Disney over the summer and on our trip I ate a few things that she was allergic to and made sure that we did not share (or touch) the same utensils, straws or water bottles during/after the meal. We had a fantastic, uneventful trip.

    I am sure that you are not harming your niece by eating your peanut oil in the setting you describe.
     
  4. Mary976

    Mary976 DIS Veteran

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    I have a peanut allergy and before we had a dishwasher, we had a "peanut free" house. Now with the dishwasher, the rule is that anything with peanut butter on it has to go right in and not be left in the sink. I don't mind if others eat peanuts as long as they aren't sitting right next to me.

    At the same time, I'm an adult. I think it's VERY hard when you have such a young child and so it makes sense that her parents are being so protective. But no, I doubt you'd harm her if you eat peanuts when she's not around (and you wash your hands afterwards).

    Mary
     
  5. dntd

    dntd Mouseketeer

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    As long as no one feeds her and she isn't at a table with other kids who may give her a bite she should be safe. I understand peanut free is important at school but it's a big world out there, what do they normally do? I would just get her a **** that says don't feed me or a pin they ( they sell them online).
     
  6. Piper

    Piper DIS Veteran

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    I once had a student with a peanut allergy so severe that when a class clear across the school made peanut butter, he suddenly started having an anaphalactic reaction. It was in the vent system. I didn't even know they were going to make it and wouldn't have thought it would cause problems if they did. Maybe hers is that severe!?!
     
  7. disfan07

    disfan07 DIS Veteran

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    I have a severe peanut allergy and we don't ask our relatives to avoid peanuts when we are with them....but they do it anyway.

    I would never ask anyone NOT to eat peanuts but 99% of the people I know abstain from them when I am around anyway.

    Do I think it's a little crazy...probably. But I completely understand where they are coming form. Until you yourself have an anaphylactce food allergy or have a child with one, its harder to understand the kind of paranoid requests that come along with it. Heck...I'm 22 and my mom STILL makes crazy requests when we do things with families....Shes a mom, shes always going ot freak out about it.

    I'm 99.99% confident that there is no harm to your niece by you guys eating Thai food when she is not around as long as you wash your hands very well because it is NOT just peanut oil...they use a lot of peanuts and peanut sauces in thai dishes as well (oh....and mouth/lips because if she kisses you and her allergy is that severe, that could cause a reaction....don't ask how I know that one:rolleyes:). But it's up to you to decide how far you want to comply with your BILs request.
     
  8. lovethattink

    lovethattink DIS Veteran

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    My cousin's son is so allergic to peanuts. He has had anaphylactic reactions from it being airborn in people's breath. My cousin asks everyone coming to her house to abstain from peanuts for several hours before visiting her, of course not to have any on our hands or clothes.

    My oldest son has anaphylactic reactions to eating peanuts, soybean oil, and grapes. His dream is to be a chef and we even visited a culinary school where he'd like to attend. One of the demonstrations today was fried rice. It had seseme seed oil and soy sauce in it. I ate it, and he was fine. He was also fine being in the room with a whole bunch of people in it.

    I guess my point is, each person's allergy is different.
     
  9. neptuneflame

    neptuneflame Mouseketeer

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  10. lovethattink

    lovethattink DIS Veteran

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  11. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 <font color=green>I just love those parmesan mashe

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    I am just wondering...does your cousin take her DS to shopping malls, libraries, & other public places? That must be tricky? Even doctor's offices?
     
  12. Mama Who

    Mama Who DIS Veteran

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    Wash your hands and face. If you spill anything, change clothes. Beyond that- if the child is healthy enough to be exposed to the general public at a pool (where peanut eating children will be swimming without such precautions) and eat in restaurants (where the waiter may have served the next table over something with peanuts 3 minutes ago) then she will be able to survive you having peanut items outside her presence with sanitary cautions taken afterward. Logistically you will NOT be the greatest source of exposure.
     
  13. lovethattink

    lovethattink DIS Veteran

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    Not really. They eat almost all their meals at home. He is homeschooled. And every so many years they do a blood test to see how his allergy is doing, and it's been getting worse. He is also allergic to soy now, and wasn't before. He is on a swim team and it's a risk, but he has to do something! He is also active in his church. But mostly it's home, church, swim practice, and play in back yard.
     
  14. ArchOwl

    ArchOwl The Highly Educated Owl

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    Thanks everyone! I think that what made me the most upset was that these kind of emails and phone calls are escalating in their frequency and requests. Before any meet up we have, we get a long phone call or email reminding us of all the things we need to do. Um, yeah, we know! It is not like we are relatives who aren't involved with her life at all. We took a CPR class for crying out loud and went with you to the doctor to learn about epi pens! Whenever they start with "the lecture" again, I just try to think about how worried they are about her. But it is hard not to take it personally.

    My niece is constantly around people who have taken no peanut allergy precautions (i.e. going to the store, pre-school, restaurants, pools, etc.), so I don't see how eating a Thai meal when she is not around is going to hurt her. So we had our lunch, washed up and met them for dinner later that day. She was fine.

    I have no problem abstaining from peanuts when she is around. I want her to be safe. But when she isn't even in a 5 mile radius of me, I think it is okay for me to indulge in peanuts as long as I take the precaution of washing.

    My niece also ate at many restaurants in Vegas and I have to say, they all did a tremendous job of working with her allergy. She was able to have lots of choices and left Vegas without any reaction at all.
     
  15. lovethattink

    lovethattink DIS Veteran

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    Glad to hear your niece was fine in Vegas and you got your food!
     
  16. Disney_Princess83

    Disney_Princess83 DIS Veteran

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    I don't know how allergic she is to peanuts. I am allergic to peanuts, it was a developed allergy when I turned 18-19. If someone has eaten peanuts in the past 12-18 hours and they breath on me, touch the same phone, computer or they touch me, I will break out in hives. Not only just where they've touched me but all over my body.

    I've been sitting in a restaurant when the table beside us ordered cake with peanuts and I started to sneeze and itch, even though I didn't realise until twenty minutes later, why I was suddenly reacting.

    If I eat peanuts, while I don't go into anaphylactic shock (although my GP suspects eventually it might get that bad) I get physically ill for 24-48 hours and then I get severe reflux for 4-8 weeks afterwards. This reflux affects me even if I have a sip of water, I can be doubled up with pain and cramps. Yes, seriously!

    I know it's difficult for other people, especially with parents who might be OTT. But knowing what I'm like, I can understand where they are coming from too.

    Glad you all had a good time!
     
  17. funkychunkymonkey

    funkychunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    I am alergic to seafood. Even if someone ate it and touches me I react (think bloody gross rash and swelling). I ask people to scrub well but have never asked anyone not to eat seafood (except my boyfreind, but thats another issue:rotfl:)
     
  18. Marymouseymouse

    Marymouseymouse Earning My Ears

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    I know it seems like an excessive request but it depends on your family, really. Remember the little girl is only four, and may forget not to take food offered her by someone who doesn't get her allergies.

    Relatives, especially older ones, don't know not to put their hands all over the cute little 4 year old without washing hands first. Relatives love to hug, kiss pinch cheeks,and offer foods off their plates, cookies etc.

    Even if she only breaks out in hives that's still no fun for anyone. Mom and dad will have to keep the wipes at hand to wash little one down to make sure the peanut protein doesn't get from hands or face into her mouth (little ones are always touching their faces and mouths). Even if she just gets miserable,itchy hives, the party is still over, because having to give Benadryl means it's time to get the little one home to sleep it off.

    Not being able to let your kid play with the other kids at the family gathering without asking them to wash their hands first is also awkward.

    Large family gatherings can be stressful in this way, and it can be awkward to spend your whole day or evening running around saying don't touch my child, don't offer her anything to eat without checking with me.

    It's especially hard because even with family there will be at least one someone who thinks you are overreacting and ignore the parents attempts to keep the little one safe.

    Even if you get it and are vigilant and careful, not all your relatives will understand. It really depends on if you want the little girl and her parents to have a good time, or of you want them to be on pins and needles and having awkward discussions all evening.

    I know it may seem over the top to you, but sending an email in advance helps the parents start communicating with family early, and just increases their chance of being able to attend without incident.

    It sucks not being able to let your kids just go off and play with the other kids or say hello to aunts, uncles, or grandparents without cringing every time someone goes to touch your child.

    Sounds like you did a great job planning, but her parents have more experience and see dangers you don't. When the little one is older, it gets better. Your niece will remember each and every time to not take food offered without knowing it's safe, will remember to keeps hands away from their mouth after hugs and greetings until she can go wash up, etc.

    Preschoolers need extra protection, though.
     
  19. bopper

    bopper <font color=green>Which way to the Hundred Acre Wo

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    I have no experience in this at all, but to play Devil's Advocate, imagine you were your niece's mom. Everyone wants you to come for the gathering! Oh but they don't know how stressful it is being in public with all the potential peanut cross contamination! At home and school and their favorite hand-picked restaurant, they have the risks minimized. But now we want to get together in Vegas, with buffets (more cross contamination) for multiple meals. How to control the peanut contamination? I know, we can reduce the risk if at least our family members who will be sitting around neice haven't been exposed to peanut products. They want us to come and they really want the party in Vegas, so they won't mind helping us out, right?
     
  20. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

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    The parents are in the middle of a knee-jerk reaction to the allergy - it will take them some time to regain their common sense. Glad you got your Thai meal, (yum! I love Thai food!) and you took the necessary precautions to keep your niece safe. That's all you really have to do.
     
  21. Mayashappyplace

    Mayashappyplace Earning My Ears

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    Like DISFAN07 said, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you not kiss her because the peanut protein could be in your saliva after eating a thai meal, as it is DEFINTELY not just peanut oil in thai food, it is used VERY abundantly.

    I have lived with the peanut allergy all my life and I am now 32. Abstaining from peanuts during the entire trip is not an unreasonable request, especially if you planned on kissing her cheek or even holding her hand (your sweat can even cause a reaction after a peanut meal since your sweat glands do emit proteins). The fact that she is four makes her very VERY vulnerable and likely to go hugging and kissing everyone without a second thought. The parents are taking every precaution because they have seen firsthand the reactivity of what even a tiny protein can do.

    I'm one of those people who can't even inhale peanuts or stir-frying Thai food or peanut dishes as the molecules do become airborne and I have to be quarantined for 'no peanuts served' on planes two rows in front of me and two rows in back of me.

    I started my own website for people with peanut/soy and/or tree-nut allergies (I have all three). Please tell your family about it and realize there is alot of fear and anxiety involved with living with this allergy....I know my parents went through it and now, as an adult, I have to be my own best advocate. If I don't, I suffer the consequences...nobody else. So please know that the craziness is usually for good reason.

    I don't go places that are ever serving peanuts or tofu, which both give me anaphylactic shock. The parents are definitely concerned about anyone touching or kissing her, so if you can 100% avoid that, wash your hands very thoroughly afterwards, while also being careful not to speak close by to her (I know this sounds crazy but as even your saliva while speaking landing on her face may cause a reaction) then she will be fine if you eat at the restaurant.

    I hope this helps...and by the way, my site is mayashappyplace.com

    PS - Just saw how it went and I am so glad she is ok and all is well =)
     

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