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My Child Has a Peanut Allergy

Updated on April 30, 2012

The Doctor Says It's a Peanut Allergy

My son was about one year old when I learned that he had food allergies. To be specific, my son was diagnosed with peanut allergies. He had been running around our apartment, just goofing around, when he slipped and bumped his lip on the floor. His lip began swelling, and I just could not get the swelling to go down. I tried popsicles, Tylenol, and everything else, but his lips kept getting bigger. Finally, I called the pediatrician.

On that particular day, the on-call doctor was a young Asian doctor who was new to the practice. I had never seen him before, but explained our situation and how the swelling would not go down. The doctor told me that my son was allergic to peanuts, and to give him Benadryl immediately.

"You don't understand," I explained to the doctor, as I repeated the scenario. "He was running and fell. He doesn't have any food allergies. He simply fell. I saw him fall." But the doctor brushed aside my remarks, and insisted that I give him Benadryl. Again, I assured him that this was not the problem; I was worried that perhaps he did not understand the problem.

Peanut: A Food or a Poison?

Peanut allergies can be deadly. Other food allergies can be equally dangerous.
Peanut allergies can be deadly. Other food allergies can be equally dangerous. | Source

Did He Eat Peanuts Today?

But this doctor was annoyingly persistent. He insisted upon running down a list of everything my son had eaten that day. I brushed him aside, but he patiently walked me through each meal. I would answer honestly, but immediately follow up by assuring him that we didn't have a problem. Lord, this guy had the patience of a saint.

When we reached our mid-afternoon snack, the pediatrician had an "A-ha!" moment. "About three Reese's pieces candies? Hmm. And how long ago was that?"

I was losing beginning to lose my patience---for heaven's sake, he only had a swollen lip. And I saw him fall; in fact, I saw him bump his lip on the floor. But the doctor insisted it was food allergies. He even insisted on talking to my son on the phone.

"Seriously?" This was getting ridiculous. For crying out loud, he was only one. "He can hardly talk," I reasoned. "He's not going to tell you what happened. He cannot hold a phone conversation."

I Can Hear Him Wheezing

But again, the doctor insisted. I put my son on the phone for about a minute, as he stared blankly at me, not even saying a word. After some time, I brought the phone back to my own ear, as the doctor explained that he was wheezing.

"Give him liquid Benadryl immediately," he said. "I'm calling you back in thirty minutes, so you must give him the medicine. I will keep calling until you do."

Exasperated, I gave my son the liquid Benadryl as instructed. The swelling went away pretty quickly, and the true to his word, the doctor did call back in thirty minutes. I can only imagine how relieved his was to hear that I did give my son the Benadryl antihistimine.

The new mystery doctor insisted that I bring my son in for allergy testing. "He's definitely allergic to peanuts," he pointed out. "This could be a serious problem, and you need to see if he has other allergies. I expect you to come in this week."

Did He Get Allergy Testing Right Away?

At this point, you may have surmised that I would give in. After all, the doctor was very insistent. And the truth is that the swelling did go down right after the Benadryl. But I'm reluctant to admit that I did not bring him in for allergy testing that week, or even the week after. I'd already been through the wringer with a bunch of doctors already, many of whom insisted that I was a "panicked first time mom." I was reluctant to listen to another doctor admonish me for some imaginery disease that my son did not have.

Luckily, though, the doctor remained persistant. He called back several times over the next few weeks, and finally I gave in. Of course, this young doctor was right, and my son does have severe peanut allergies.

So, Mystery Doctor, I just may owe you a drink.

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    • Mayashappyplace profile image

      Maya Marcotte 

      5 years ago from NY

      Hey Donna =)

      Thank you for sharing your story; more people need to read stories like this to be aware of the dangers and know it is not all in our heads. I am 32 and have the deadly peanut and soy allergies along with tree-nuts and other legumes since birth. I am also allergic to nickel, lanolin and other things by touch. Check out my page, mayashappyplace.com

      It has tons of info for people with peanut/soy/tree-nut allergies which I'm sure will help your son as he gets older.

      Keep up the great hubs!

    • caseymel profile image

      Melanie Casey 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      My son also has a severe peanut allergy which we found out about when he turned one. I wrote a Hub about the experience too. It was very scary! He is now in Kindergarten and we carry an Epi-Pen Jr everywhere he goes.

    • profile image

      EddieGuedetty 

      6 years ago

      WOW, doctors called you a "panicked first time mom"? Not by the sounds of that story, sounds like you were WAY too calm and still are. I can't believe after discovering you sun has allergies you waited weeks to have him checked? What if he was allergic to other foods too since most people with one allergy usually are? I guess you figured you would of just gave him them benadrill and thinks would be ok. Well no, he could of have an anaphylactic reaction to something else you gave him during those few weeks and suffocated as his throat closed over. Please stop being such an irresponsible mother and take you child's health much more serious, not everybody has the exact same immune system/biology, even if they are your child.

    • DonnaWallace profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Wallace 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Kaye, he certainly was an amazing doctor, and I'm sure he's changing lives somewhere! I'm very glad to hear that your husband's peanut allergy isn't too bad and the kids seem okay too!

    • Kaye McCulloch profile image

      Kaye McCulloch 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Wow, that's amazing the way the doctor figured out the problem so quickly and with seemingly so little to go on. My husband has a peanut allergy (though not epi-pen worthy), so we've been pretty cautious with our kids, but so far they've been fine (the youngest hasn't been exposed yet though, she's still a baby).

    • DonnaWallace profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Wallace 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Dawnyalynn, I am so sorry that the allergy tests turned out inconclusive. It can be so frustrating to try to determine the cause and not have a direct answer. Just keep following her well.

      Your Fourth of July sounded terrifying. I am grateful that your daughter's allergic reaction turned out well, and I am glad that her Epi worked. My children do not go anywhere with Epi Pens!

    • DonnaWallace profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Wallace 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      LSKing, I am so glad I listened to the doctor, too. I have learned so many things about food allergies and Epi Pens. Food allergies can be deadly, and peanut allergies are so prevalent these days. I cannot believe how many people are in the same situation.

    • profile image

      dawnyalynn 

      7 years ago

      My daughter has allergies with no determined cause. She breaks out in hives over 99 percent of her body. She has been subjected to allergy tests, with no conclusive evidence of what she actually allergic to.

      On the Fourth of July, though she came into contact with either Poison Oak or Poison Sumac. She must have either breathed it in or let it touch her face, because her face started swelling and her eyes swelled shut. I had to take her to the ER for an epi shot, now we carry an epi pen, and she has one at school.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I am already going to an allergist who is the one who took me off aspirin. However, it is not that simple. He told me there are also factors related to my former cancer that can still cause these things. I do have an epi pen.

    • LSKing profile image

      LSKing 

      8 years ago from East Coast United States

      So glad you listened to the doctor. Both of my boys have severe peanut allergies and I carry Epi-Pens with me.

    • DonnaWallace profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Wallace 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Dohoglund: This type of allergy is something to take very seriously. Please visit an allergist and explain your situation. They may be able to narrow it down. If you are indeed allergic to aspirin, you should avoid all aspirin related products, including ibuprofin and even Pepto-Bismol. Please look into carrying an Epi. Do not wait; this is very important!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      During the last year I have had a mysterious allergy that caused swelling.I have had to go to the

      er for Benydrle doses. It seems that aspirin might be the cuse in my case. also, according tio the allergist it may have something to do with the cancer I had somewhat recently. Alegies are mysterious but you can not afford to ignore them.

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