When you find out your child has a peanut allergy your world changes. What does it mean? What will happen to her? What if someone eats peanut butter around her? Reading food labels becomes an obsession. What if the label is wrong? What does it mean to be manufactured on the same equipment or manufactured in the same facility? What food is safe? You want answers but sometimes they are hard to find. I remember finding out that my daughter, now 19, had a severe peanut allergy. It changed everything for us. Where we could eat, what we could buy to eat, everything. It’s a huge adjustment that no one really understands unless they have a child with a severe food allergy. We originally found out that Nina had a peanut allergy from her doctor ordering a blood test after she had a reaction to a tiny amount of peanut butter when she was 3. She had never had peanut butter before then. Her level came back high - meaning she has a severe allergy.
She had allergy testing done later and scored off the chart for a peanut allergy.
We also found out that she had many other allergies to outside allergens as well as a few other minor food allergies. She had double sinus infections quite frequently and then we realized it was due to all of her outdoor allergies.
Sending Nina to school with a peanut allergy was extremely scary and one of the hardest things I have had to do. Not knowing if students would be offering her treats was so unbearable at times. My parents or I went to all of the parties so she didn’t have to tell everyone all by herself that she was allergic to peanuts. Having to train your kindergartner to tell people she would die if she eats or comes into contact with peanuts was heartbreaking. Such a small child having to deal with the realization of her own death is something no mother ever wants their child to go through. It never gets any easier.
People’s reactions when you tell them your child/student has a peanut allergy is all over the place. Some people react in an unpleasant way by becoming upset at the fact that their student can’t eat peanut butter sandwiches around your child. As if a peanut butter sandwich is more important than a child’s life. Some people react as if it isn’t a big deal at all. Those are generally the people who forget and then eat peanuts or peanut butter around your child. I have even had a parent tell my daughter to just pick the nuts off of a brownie…. Well that’s not how it works! You can’t just pick the nuts off and still eat it. Why is it so important to people to have my child eat whatever treat or snack they brought in for their child? Who cares if my daughter doesn’t eat it?
Even though she is now a Freshmen in college, we still deal with situations on a regular basis. I do know that Nina is capable of taking care of herself. She has to be so she can survive, but I still worry.