Friday, April 17, 2009

Living with a child who has a severe peanut allergy

Hi everyone - I decided to start posting about what it's like to live with a child who is allergic to peanuts because my daughter Amanda, who is 9, has a severe peanut allergy.

She was born on November 11, 1999.  In October 2001 she had her first anaphylactic reaction to peanuts.  Anaphylaxis is a whole-body allergic reaction that comes on suddenly and causes the airways to tighten.  I was eating a peanut butter sandwich and like most 23-month-olds, she wanted what her mother was eating.  I tore off a tiny little piece and gave it to her.  Back then I had really never heard of peanut allergies and didn't know of any child that had peanut allergies.  I was more worried about the consistency of peanut butter and that it might get stuck in her throat.

Within seconds her face started swelling and she started pulling at her ears.  I immediately knew something was wrong and panicked.  I threw her in my car and drove to the nearest emergency room about 3 miles away.   I parked in front of the ER and was so frightened for my child's life that I didn't even turn off my car or shut the door. I knew something was terribly wrong and that time was of the essence.  I carried her into the ER and the receptionist saw that this child needed help immediately.  She didn't even bother with the normal process of checking in. 

 Amanda was having trouble breathing and her face was so swollen that her eyes were almost completely shut.  A nurse carried her back as I was telling the doctors that I had given her a small piece of my peanut butter sandwich.  They knew immediately what to do for her.  The doctor gave her a shot to open up her airways and told me she was in anaphylactic shock.   She was throwing up, which is the bodies way of ridding a substance it recognizes as poison.  She was itching, her airways were quickly closing and her face was swollen.   All tale-tell signs of a severe allergic reaction to peanuts.  

Amanda was eventually stabilized and we went home several hours later.  The doctor told me I needed to get Amanda in to see an Allergist.  The only sign that remained that she had an allergic reaction was the swelling in her face which did not completely go down until the next day.

I suddenly found myself thrust into the world of living with a child who has a severe peanut allergy which I knew nothing about.  All I knew was that I needed to find out everything I could about peanut allergies and how to keep my child safe. 

Next step - call a really good Allergist in Dallas and get Amanda in to see him.

Check back for more postings on this issue....I hope to blog every day about this.


  1. Oh man, we have a scary story, similar to Amanda's, when my food allergic son had a reaction. I'd love to hear from you about how your school handles allergies. I posted a blog about that today. Come visit.

  2. My daughter had a similar episode from sharing a peanut butter cookie with her brother. Our family had a tough time making the adjusment to no peanut butter as it was such my son's favorite kind of sandwich to bring to school for lunch. About a year ago we found SoyNut Butter which has filled that void and my daughter can also have it without any fear of a reaction. Our school has now imposed a no nut policy and has also begun to serve SoyNut Butter as an alternative lunch. Below is a link to the company and I have found them very helpful when I called with questions.