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Old 25 March 2009, 09:15 PM
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Phantom Phantom is offline
Join Date: 20 May 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 682
Vanishing Need advice for food allergies/anaphylaxis

I could really use some advice, and I just know that the Snopesters will come through.

DS1 has had a suspected nut allergy since toddlerhood. We've kept him away for nuts for years with only a few accidental exposures. He gets an itchy rash after consuming nuts. He commented once that his mouth felt funny too, so I'm concerned that the reactions are getting worse. He saw an allergist earlier this month, who confirmed an allergy to peanuts/tree nuts and perscribed an EpiPen. We're trying to get into the habit of carrying it around. I have one set in my purse and there is another at school. (Bless them, they insisted that we get one even before we had him formally tested.) I'm working on making sure that other caretakers carry the other set of EpiPens around.

I developed an allergy to sunflower seeds while pregnant with DS2. I have had a handful of accidental exposures since then, and my reactions are getting steadily worse. Sunflower seeds "hide" in multigrain breads and bagels. Ironically, I ate a nutrition bar that had sunflower seeds two days before my allergy test. (I was peeved because there was a "possible allergen" list instead of an ingredient list, and surprise, sunflower seeds weren't listed. (They were in a picture that I had overlooked, though.) My tongue swelled and my throat felt a bit odd. I usually take Benadryl but I was told to not do so for three days before the test, so there was nothing to do but wait it out.

I tested as allergic to other items such as dust mites, which doesn't surprise me, because I have asthma as well. I had the scratch test and injections, but apparently the only way to get a true test for sunflower seed allergy is through a blood test. (I'm guessing that it's a rare allergy.) I'll get the results in a week, but it's obvious to me that I'm allergic. Thankfully, I've been given an EpiPen in the interim.

So, now I have to carry around two sets of EpiPens. (DS1 has EpiPen Jr so we can't share, and I would rather carry two sets than have something catastrophic happen and both of us need them.) They are different colors, and I'm trying to get separate distinct cases to avoid confusion.

Obviously we have to screen food ingredients much more carefully. (DS1 has shown no reaction to products "made in a facility" that contains nuts, but we're taking no further chances.) We shop at Whole Foods, which does a good job of labeling food and I know they have 'special' food such as gluten-free food.

I've been told in no uncertain terms to inject DS1 and call for an ambulance if exposure is suspected, but my allergist (different allergist) gave me no instructions on what to do if I have a reaction. He said to wait and see what the test results show, but I just had an accidental exposure. He also said I might be able to take Benadryl for a reaction, but DS1's allergist said that there is a tide turning against this and I should only use the EpiPen for him. I'll hopefully get more answers after my test results come back.

Does anyone out there have advice on living with an anaphylactic reaction? Any pitfalls I should watch out for, other than the obvious?
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