Advice about Food Allergies

Parent Q&A

Advice for Infant Newly Diagnosed with Food Allergies Aug 3, 2018 (1 responses below)
OIT (Oral Immunotherapy) for Peanut Allergy Jan 19, 2018 (3 responses below)
  • Our 7-month old was recently diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and eggs. No one in our family has food allergies so this is new for us. She seems to be touch sensitive to at least peanuts and we now carry an epi-pen everywhere. We are working with an allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group (AAMG), but were hoping for some advice from other families with infants and young children who have food allergies. We are about to start daycare at a nut-free daycare but we are concerned about soy and eggs, as well as cross-contact with nuts. We would love advice on how to work with daycare staff and other parents to make daycare a safe environment for our daughter. We would also really appreciate advice on what to do when eating out, traveling, visiting friends and relatives, and any other tips. Thank you! 

    Hello and welcome to the world of parenting a child with allergies!

    Our child was diagnosed at about 6 months with the same set of allergies yours has as well as milk and wheat. Working with daycare wasn't too much of a problem and they were very willing to work with us. Fortunately, he's since outgrown the milk, egg, and wheat allergies so now he's left with peanuts, tree nuts, and soy.

    At our daycare, we provided all of our child's food and when meal time came, he was seated at his own chair with tray adjacent to the table the other kids were at. Then he'd stay there until the staff had an opportunity to sweep up any crumbs and stuff left from the other kids.

    As far as medication, the school was comfortable administering an epi-pen if needed--fortunately that never occurred. In the two day cares he's been at, one was comfortable administering OTC meds (benadryl) for mild break outs, the other was not.

    For day to day life, you kind of just slowly adjust. We check ingredients on everything. When eating out, we mostly stick to places with fresh ingredients. What you'll soon find is that soy and soy lecithin are in EVERYTHING. My wife found soy in the ingredients for her tea because it was a part of the lemon flavor. Most packaged breads have soy as do most ice creams. However, we've found that fresh bread and ice cream shops where they make their own ice cream are usually safe. Depending on how severe your child's allergies are, you might be willing to chance it once in a while. Our child's reaction to soy is mostly hives and luckily (knock on wood) nothing has caused anaphylaxis. We just make sure to keep benadryl on hand in those rare cases he breaks out. 

    Our child is now two and has come to understand that some foods "make you itchy" so doesn't put up much fuss if told they can't have something. 

    Hopefully this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  • OIT (Oral Immunotherapy) for Peanut Allergy

    (3 replies)

    Our allergist (AAMG group in Berkeley) is recommending our tween child go through OIT for peanut desensitization. It's a long process and driving for office visits but I know there are life-long benefits to be had. Wondering if anyone has gone through this recently and your results/experiences/surprising things. Thank you! - Oakland Mom

    I highly recommend OIT for your peanut allergic child. We are currently seeing AAMG to further desensitize our son to peanuts and other nuts. We went to the Sean Parker Center at Stanford for the initial OIT. It was well worth the driving to and from appointments. Our son can now eat one whole peanut without reaction and it has transformed our lives. While he continues to avoid all nuts and carry an Epipen, we no longer have to be totally on guard all the time. He can eat foods fried in peanut oil, as well as food that is manufactured in a facility or equipment that processes peanuts since cross contamination is not as big a concern as it used to be. I don't think I was aware of the daily stress his peanut allergy caused me until OIT relieved some of it.

    I am curious about this therapy as well. Would you mind sharing any feedback you receive with me? My daughter has a sever peanut allergy. Thank you!

    Hi, my two kids are AAMG patients currently doing OIT (peanut for one kid, cashew/egg/dairy for the other), we started last summer.  Every other week we drive from Berkeley to San Ramon.  We feel super lucky that we have the opportunity to be doing OIT.  My kids are currently cleared for nut cross-contamination, which means accidental exposures won't result in epi or the ICU (which has happened to us).  As practical matter, this this past Halloween was the first time my seven-year-old was able to eat Kit Kats, Twix and M&Ms.  And I didn't have to worry!  The freedom is amazing and an unbelievable relief.  We did a year of peanut SLIT with my daughter (in Berkeley) before starting OIT, so she was able to start her OIT at a fairly high dose.  She is currently up to four peanuts (!) but we are continuing to updose because she would like to be able to eat peanut butter someday, and because my son (who wants to eat all his allergens as well) has a ways to go with egg and milk, though he's currently up to 1.5 cashews.  But if we just wanted protection from nut cross-contamination, we could be in maintenance at this point (i.e., no more visits to the allergist). 

    But there are downsides of OIT.  The drive to San Ramon is rough -the appointments are about 1.5 hours, so either your kids miss tons of school or you hit massive traffic, no way around it - we leave Berkeley around 2 on Wednesdays and get home around 6.  Until you get on "real" food (basically, when the amounts are so small they need to be weighed out), you get powders from AAMG's dietician and the cost isn't covered by insurance.  You also need to have a 2.5-3 hour "window" for daily dosing: predosing with zyrtec, dosing with the allergen, then a "rest period" of a couple hours where vigorous activity isn't allowed but your kid has to be awake.  It is doable, but it really adds to the already-complicated planning matrix that exists when you have kids.  Mine are young (5 and 7) and not involved in serious sports activities or anything like that, but I'm not sure how we'd do it if they were.  Finally, I would ask if your child is interested in doing OIT.  If they are super resistant (fearful or picky), I think it would be really hard.  You have to dose daily, and to have it be a daily battle might be a dealbreaker for me. 

    But if you can swing it, I would highly recommend it.  OIT offers so much freedom and peace of mind.  

Parent Reviews

My child was diagnosed for years with asthma. She also said the puffers never helped her.  Ill make a long story short, turned out her allergies created flu like symptoms and difficulty breathing.  This caused problems with her sleep cycle, which caused anxiety and depression. Finally I met with the chief of allergy.  He ordered the blood draws and  he referred her to head and neck. They found she had a deviated septum and inflamed nasal passages. (always inflamed.) Post nasal drip down the throat as she could not really blow her nose. A small procedure reduced the tissue and had a huge impact on her ability to breath. She was thrilled.  Also added allergy shots which also provided huge huge relief. 

I will tell you the Head and Neck did not really think the procedure would do much, but it did. The tissue does grow back and she will do it again. (its been about three years and she is about to do it again...she requested it. 

Anxiety is now almost completely gone, grades are way up, and most importantly I have a pretty content daughter again.  Still a little picky about food but not too bad. Loves vegetables so yay! (Allergy to fruit is very common when you have pollen allergies.  Cooking, or a slight zap in the micro seems to take away the itch reaction she gets.)

I think the blood test is far more reliable then the scratch.

Hope this helps!

PS they were more then happy to give her ssri's and therapy. Turns out all she needed was the root problem addressed. And yes we did all things HEPA.

I didn't and still don't make a big  deal out of subway and pizza and goldfish.