Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Peanut Issue

As I alluded to in my last post about the lake, we had a little issue while we were there. It all stems from one little word: PEANUT.

You may recall or know from reading this blog or ever being around us and food: Stokes has 2 allergies - egg and peanut. We do our best to avoid them all together and I try to check all labels before he's allowed to eat anything. 

When we went to the lake last month, we brought all of our own groceries and food and our recipes to cook and eat there so we didn't have to go out and we could spend all of our time at the lake. One thing I noticed was that the Nanas brought a movie theatre box of Butterfinger Bites candy. I noticed the box and saw that it contained peanuts (it's not an obvious offender though so it would be easy to miss) and put the box into the cabinet, where I felt sure Stokes will leave it be. I didn't bring any potty treats for #2s (yes, I still am doing that!) so I gave a few Bites to William when he used the potty at one point. Stokes must have noticed without me realizing.

One morning while we were there, I was in the shower and the boys were upstairs playing. When I got out of the shower, Stokes came in the bathroom and I immediately noticed that he had hives around his mouth and I got suspicious. When he's had hives like that in the past, it's because he has eaten an allergen. When I asked him what he'd eaten, he told me that he hadn't eaten anything. I immediately gave him a dose of Benadryl and went upstairs where they had been playing to investigate. I didn't see anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, but when I asked Stokes again, he responded that he just drank water and didn't eat anything. He wasn't acting strange at all, it was just the hives that had me concerned. 

When I asked William about what Stokes had eaten, the truth finally came out. William spilled the beans that Stokes had eaten a Butterfinger Bite. I was honestly a bit surprised that he had gone in to the cabinet and gotten them. We have a child safety lock on our pantry at home, so we don't have these kinds of issues. 

I realized that he had eaten something containing peanuts, I think for the first time ever, and I was a bit shaken up. I didn't know how his body would respond and what I should do. I had left his Epi-Pen at home - stupid mistake. We have one but don't typically travel with it because he's never had a bad reaction before. I always travel with Benadryl though! I learned that lesson and Epi-Pen will be coming with us from now on. 

Anyway, I wasn't sure what to do, but didn't think we needed to go to the ER since the hives was the only reaction as far as I could tell. I think Stokes could tell that I was worried, which made him start to get worried. He was breathing fine, which was a huge relief. I called his pediatrician, but had to leave a message and wait for a call back. In the meantime, I was holding him and making sure he was doing OK.  The hives appeared to be spreading down his throat and onto his chest and back. I called Thomas at work and FaceTimed him so he could see Stokes and make any other suggestions for what to do. While I was on the phone with Thomas, Stokes vomited all over. It was a mess, but I was thinking that it was probably a good thing that his body took the initiative to get the allergen out. But I didn't know whether this meant that he was going downhill, or that the worst was over. I also wasn't sure if I should re-dose the Benadryl and whether any had gotten in to his system before he vomited. Instead of giving him another dose, I played it safe and decided to wait for the pediatrician to call me back and just to keep a close eye on him. I was prepared to go to the ER immediately if I noticed anything getting worse.

By the time the pediatrician called back, I was on a work conference call (note in the last post about the struggle of trying to work AND be at the lake - not great) and missed the call and thus began the extended game of phone tag with the nurse. I was keeping an eye on Stokes and after the vomit, he bounced back feeling just fine. No breathing issues still, and the hives were starting to fade. 

We went about our day as if everything was just fine and Stokes seemed to be alright. By the time the pediatrician's office and I finally connected on the phone, we were out on the boat hanging out at the dock. Stokes seemed to be 100% back to himself and my concern had lessened drastically. I told her the whole situation and that I didn't have the Epi-Pen with me. The nurse at the ped did recommend that we come in for an appointment. I explained that we were 1.5 hours away at the lake and she suggested that we needed to go to an urgent care nearby to get him checked out. I asked whether he was in the clear since it had been several hours and his symptoms had gone away by that point and he was acting totally normal. She told me that the reaction could still occur for hours after the incident and that we needed to continue to monitor him closely all that evening and into the night. 

Right after that call, Stokes and I got off the boat and headed directly to the urgent care facility in Seneca, which is about 20 minutes away. We had to wait in their waiting room for about 45 minutes and finally got to be seen by the doctor. I explained everything that had happened, and they took Stokes's temperature and heart rate, looked in his ears and mouth, then pronounced that he was fine and sent us on our way.

I'm SO relieved that this turned out to not be a huge deal. It definitely had me very worried. I learned my lesson about several things - put all peanut/egg items away and out of reach (do not assume he won't get in them), and always have the Epi-Pen with us. Had I had the Epi-Pen, I would have used it and that was what the pediatrician recommended. Lesson learned and thank goodness this ended OK for all of us!

*Being that it's Halloween and the boys will go trick-or-treating tonight, it's especially timely that I'm writing this post. So much of the Halloween candy contains peanuts...or is made in a facility that processes peanuts. For those reading this post - please be aware! So many kids have allergies and this is dangerous. Example - plain M&Ms don't contain peanuts but are in a peanut facility. That's why we had to use Skittles for potty training treats. Make sure you know if your own kids have allergies and do not give anyone else's kid permission to eat anything without checking with the parents! It can be very well-intentioned, but not safe.  I've told Stokes over and over again that he is NOT allowed to eat any Halloween candy without asking me first. My warning to him does not necessarily mean that he will listen and obey. While we're walking with 3 kids and a million distractions are going on, how easy would it be for him to pull out a bite sized Snickers from his bag and tear into it before I can turn around?!?!?! Tonight will be scary for me and it doesn't have anything to do with costumes or decorations.  I will have to try to watch him like a hawk. My protective allergy mom sense will be on high alert tonight!!!!

Can you see the redness and hives around his mouth, jaw and chin?

Notice the hives on his neck

A little redness in his eyes, too

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