I have THAT kid. The kid some mothers dread inviting to their kid’s party. The kid that makes them have to read labels AND have to understand them. Because if they don’t, my son could die.
We found out about Jack’s allergy when he was about 3. He ate a few cashews in my office and had an immediate reaction. 5 minutes later we were in his doctor’s office, and 10 minutes after that we were in the ER. After a visit to the allergist we found out that Jack is allergic to cashews, walnuts and pistachios. There were some other nuts that cause minor reactions, but those are the deadly ones. I discovered that mangoes are a part of the cashew family. Jack can’t have mangoes.
He CAN have peanuts, peanut butter and almonds, which makes things SO much easier…and we avoid all other nuts just in case. He’s never had macadamias, pecans, filberts or any other nut. Seeds are fine though. Whew.
Luckily there hasn’t been another incident in 3 years. We’re diligent about reading labels and I have nothing containing tree nuts in my house. We carry an Epi-pen Jr. We carry Benadryl. At all times. No joke.
Having a tree nut allergy is another good reason to teach your child to read at a young age. Jack started reading labels at age 4. He will not eat anything without a label. Period. If it’s a home-baked treat brought into school by another mom, Jack won’t touch it. I supply the school with snacks that he can have instead. (sh*t, I need to do that when I get home!)
Although this has made life a bit difficult for us all, with the proper education it is very easy to manage. Jack can eat at the regular lunch tables at school, because he only has reactions if he eats tree nuts, not if he is simply exposed to them. What a relief.
There are many studies out there as to why this type of allergy is so prevalent now. If you have a new baby or toddler, I advise you to do some reading. Allergies of this magnitude can strike any child in any household, regardless of whether or not anyone else has allergies. Though children of parents with even environmental allergies have a higher chance of having food allergies. It’s best to follow the guidelines when introducing new foods to your child…at a age, and especially nut products.
And, trust your child. If they eat a new food and complain of an itchy or sour mouth, it would be best to keep an eye on them. If hives develop on their mouth, face or body…go see your doctor. Don’t mess around waiting to see if it will go away. Anaphylactic shock can come on in a matter of minutes.
Now what does Jack say about all this sh*t?
Jack: I like telling people that I have tree nut allergies because they pay attention to me.
Me: Oh really?
Jack: Yeah but I’m getting sick of it. Will I always have this?
Me: I think so…
Jack: Yeah well who’s dumb fault is that? Sheesh.