Suddenly, he began scratching uncontrollably which was followed by vomiting. I knew at that moment Frank, my 18 month old son, was having an allergic reaction to a peanut butter sandwich. I had been talking with my mother on the phone and recall telling her, “Mom, Frank likes peanut butter just like me!”
I hung up the phone immediately and called the pediatrician. Since he was not having difficulty breathing and had no facial swelling, I was instructed to administer Benadryl and bring him to the office. He looked fairly comfortable so I thought this was a mild allergic reaction.
On the other hand my mother, who was in another state, called 9-1-1. She told them that they needed to help her grandson. Upon further questioning, they realized the child was over 1000 miles away. They assured her that there were professionals a lot closer to help. Funny how mothers usually know best!
Anyway, I followed the nurse’s instructions and gave Frank the Benadryl. He vomited the first dose which I followed with a quick second. Grabbing the diaper bag, I flew out of the door and jumped in the car. He was very quiet during the ride. Fearful that he was having trouble breathing, I called 9-1-1 and was instructed to pull into an upcoming fire station.
By that time, Frank’s symptoms had improved and they thought it was safe for us to continue to the pediatrician’s office. I recall him looking around saying, “Mommy, look at the fire engines!” Upon returning to the car, he vomited all over himself.
We arrived at the office and Frank was soaking wet. After a quick assessment, the nurse assumed a peanut allergy and gave us a referral to see an allergist.
We saw a local board certified allergist. Physical, history and skin testing confirmed peanut and tree nut allergies. I got a crash course on food allergies, was told to avoid peanuts and tree nuts and was given a prescription for an EpiPen to save his life in the event of an accidental exposure. On the way out, I made a follow up appointment for several months later.
Fear, anger, and helplessness went through my mind. Why him? What next? Am I to blame? How am I to keep him safe? Can anyone out there please help me?
It can be frightening when your child is diagnosed with a food allergy. Stay tuned for my next post where I will share some of the resources that were beneficial to me.
In the meantime, fast forward 5 years. During my second pregnancy, I ate no nuts of any kind hoping and praying that my child would not have nut allergies. When he was about 6 months old, I saw eczema on his arms and face. Wondering if he had a milk allergy, I took him to the allergist who delivered good and bad news. He didn’t have a milk allergy but eggs, in addition to nuts, were now the enemy. At least I knew about avoiding nuts, but eggs…they are a little trickier. Avoiding eggs is not all it’s cracked up to be. Last pun for now, I promise. Until next time…
Safety through education,