Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to save a Life: the peanut allergy

Strong Bear has a severe peanut allergy.

Yesterday we all shared a donut Beautiful Rabbit brought home from school.  Then I went upstairs while the kids ate goldfish crackers.  About an hour later, Rabbit came up to tell me that Bear was "throwing up drool".  It's the perfect description.  His throat had closed off so much that he could not swallow his own spit.  He cried and talked and switched between saying he could breath and couldn't breath. It was NOT what I'd expected.

I gave him an EpiPen shot and we got him to the ER.

The shot hurt.  Moms shouldn't have to give shots to their kids.  I always thought  we'd be careful and never have to use the EpiPen. Until last month, I hadn't realized the seriousness of his peanut allergy.  In preparation for kindergarten, we took him to an allergist.  We came home with EpiPens.  If this had happened a year ago, I might have told him to go lay down until he felt better.  Would you take your child to the ER because of heavy drooling? The correct answer is YES. Immediately.

Last week, Sexy Haqon and I discussed exactly what we would do if he had a peanut reaction.  Haqon went with Bear and I stayed with Seraph (and the rest of the kids).

I've learned to read the fine print on labels.  "May contain trace amounts of peanut" is enough to stop my son from breathing.  The weirdest things have it--ice cream, dried fruit, fruit snacks, chocolate.....etc etc.  It happens when stuff is made in the same factory as peanuts.  It's CRAZY how tiny an amount of peanut it takes to send him into danger.

Years ago (before I knew about Bear's peanut allergy), I read an article on peanut allergies and scathing comments of how inconvenient it was to have peanut-butter sandwiches banned from school. I remember being shocked that any mother could be so cold. I hope they just didn't understand the seriousness of the situation--even trace amounts can cause death without immediate medical attention. Shots, IVs, secondary reactions, more shots.  ack!

The allergist said Bear was an unlikely candidate for outgrowing his peanut allergy.  His reaction is too severe and too immediate. I'm sad that he'll have to deal with this his whole life.

He's OK today.  He doesn't hate me for giving him the shot.  (I was worried.) He said Dad took good care of him at the hospital and he took good care of Dad at the hospital. I told him that Seraph's favorite part of going to the hospital is the ride home.  He understands.  He feels closer to Seraph. He used to call the hospital "Seraph's other house".  Now he knows better.

So, how to save a life?  When you're picking up treats for school, please take the time to look for a treat with this image:

OR "made a peanut free factory" 

 Watch out for the: "may contain trace amounts of peanuts or tree nuts". Those ones are very, very bad because you don't expect it.

Man, life is scary enough already without peanuts to deal with, too.  I haven't had a Butterfingers in years!!  Yes, I'm still freaking out a bit.  Breath.  Breath. Breath.

If your child has a peanut allergy (or you think he might) go see an allergist.  Call your pediatrician for recommendations.


Hello! I'm Kate. said...

Stopping by from SITS Sharefest...

I'm so worried about allerfgies & figuring them out BEFORE someone is seriously hurt.

Hope you've had a good weekend with no more scares!

Sara (from Saving for Someday) said...

Hi There! It's SITS Sharefest today and I'm visiting your super cute blog.

All I can say is that you are super awesome! Not just the whole peanut allergy thing but twins and one who had heart surgery so young? You're a super-hero!

Thank for sharing your thoughts with us. You're a great resource.

Safire said...

Sorry to hear he had a reaction! Butterfly's best friend also has this kind of allergy with peanuts. I've learned to read labels very well and never give him chocolate (his most common trigger because of the factory traces). Glad to know that he's okay!!

Paige said...

Sad to hear he may not out grow the allergy. Thanks for the education, so I can be careful what I bring for the kids to share.

Fine Art by Jennifer said...

So glad he's feeling ok! What a scary thing. Sorry we didn't get to see you again before we left. Hope it won't be too long!


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