Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Carter's Peanut Allergy

Last month, we discovered Carter was allergic to peanuts. We were waiting until the boys turned a year old before giving them peanut butter but it's not something we keep on hand. We've been meaning to buy some for awhile, but kept forgetting. I saw these freezer pb & j sandwhiches that you just take out and defrost which I thought would be perfect for them. I wanted to give them peanuts before Thanksgiving because I knew we'd have pecan pie, sweet potatoes with nuts, turkey cooked in peanut oil, etc. and I didn't want their first time to be on Thanksgiving in case something went wrong. I've always heard that Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year in an ER (not a day I want to take my kids for something life threatening) Plus, my parents don't live as close as we do to a doctor in case something went wrong. We were pretty sure the boys would do fine since neither me or Greg have a peanut allergy.

I was feeding the boys lunch and decided to give them the sandwhiches. I cut them up and put them on their tray and let them eat them. I was doing some things in the kitchen to get dinner ready to go in the crock pot and saw Carter tossing his on the floor. I went over there and picked it up and tried to give it to him, "all kids like peanut butter, it's yummy, you should try it", but he didn't want to open his mouth. Then he started scratching his wrist. My first though was peanut allergy, but I was like "stop being crazy, it's not an allergy, it's just a coincidence" but his wrist started getting really red and puffy, then he started rubbing his eye and the side of his face and eye that he had touched started swelling, so I immediately took him to the sink and washed his hands and called the doctor. I'm not a calm person during emergencies, so I was practically sobbing on the phone with the nurse, who was very nice and told me to give him some children's liquid benedryl. There would be no reason whatsoever for us to have that on hand, but I ran upstairs with him to check their medicine cabinet, knowing we didn't have any. I found some walgreens brand children's liquid benadryl (we never shop at Walgreens, I had no reason to buy it, and have no idea where it came from) I gave it to him and they told me to watch him and they'd call me back to check on him. He wasn't having problems breathing, but they said to call 911 if he did. They ended up calling back 5 minutes later and saying that since he had such a strong reaction, they wanted to see him, so I loaded him and Evan (who loved the peanut butter, by the way) into the car and rushing to their pediatrician's office.

After giving him the benadryl and the doctor's office calling to say they wanted to see him, I took a couple of pictures in case the swelling went down even more before we got there. It looked worse than this when he was rubbing it and before I washed his hands and gave him the benadryl. Sorry, it's blurry.

 Playing at the doctor's office like nothing had happened.
 How much it went down in the time it took me to drive to the doctor's office and get in the exam room. The benadryl worked really well.

By the time the doctor saw him, the swelling had gone down a lot, he decided to draw some blood to test to make sure it was the peanuts and not some freak coincidence. We got the test results back a few days later and it came back as "very high" allergy to peanuts. We were prescribed some epi-pens that we have to carry around at all times in case it happened again. When it was all going on, I wasn't sure if he had ate any of the sandwhich, but now that I can think clearly, I know he didn't. He will take something new and put it to his lips and if he doesn't think he'll like it, he'll throw it. I'm so glad he does that now because there's not doubt in my mind if he had ate it, and what happened to his face had happened to his throat, he would have stopped breathing.

The doctor referred us to a pediatric allergist to test Carter and see if there's anything else he's allergic to. We've been really worried about this appointment for the past month. We were worried about the skin test and we were really worried about him being allergic to other foods besides peanuts. Greg kept Evan today while I took Carter to the allergist and everything went really well. He didn't test him for everything, just some foods. Eggs, shellfish, other nuts, sesame, etc. Everything came back negative, which we're really happy about. And Carter was great during the skin test, it wasn't what I thought it was at all. There were no pins, no sticks, it was really painless and easy. He didn't test him for anything environmental, like dogs or grass, but there's a good chance that he has some other allergies like that. The doctor also said that from the blood work that we had done, there's a good chance he'll have problems with asthma later. We're not sure yet, so we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Because Carter's allergy to peanuts is so high, it's very unlikely that he'll grow out of it on his own. They are working on desensitizing and helping children "grow out of their allergies" and it's something that Carter will be eligible to participate in when he's 3. We're not sure if that's something we'll do, but it's nice to know it's an option. I'm just so happy he's only allergic to peanuts and no other foods. It'll be much easier to manage. We're obviously always going to worry about him accidently eating something with peanuts in it, but we've had some time to calm down since first finding out. Today's appointment really helped and I'm so glad that it went so well. Of course I had to take some pictures.

He was the only kid in the waiting room, so he had all the toys to himself. Him and Evan both love these bead things, so he played with that while we waited.

His skin test. The top one that's red is the histimine that they use as a gauge to tell how bad a reaction is.

 It only took 10 minutes to get the results of the tests. Although the drive down there, registering as a new patient, seeing the nurse, then the doctor, then having the test done, then some more time with the doctor took quite a while. Carter was such a trooper! Cheerios are a must have for times like this. Both boys love them!

We do realize that there are far worse things that could happen than a peanut allergy and that we are very blessed to have two, very healthy boys and the worst thing to happen in their 15 months is a peanut allergy. It was still very scary, we're still concerned about him, but we know it's not the worst thing in the world.

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