When I was in High School, I became close friends with a girl that had a severe peanut allergy. I’d never met or heard of it before, allergic to peanunts? Peanuts could be fatal? It amazed me. Over the next few years of our friendship, my eyes were opened to the ‘dangers’ that were out there. I became paranoid of eating peanuts in public, watched foods that I ate before we met up and always studying ingredient listings before even considering making something for both of us to eat.
Now that peanut allergies seem to be on the rise, I’m glad that I had that experience and exposure to it. But, I’ve also had a fear that one day, I may have a child myself with a nut allergy and how would I cope. I come from a family where bread and peanut butter are staples. My Father always said, as long as your cupboard is stocked with peanut butter, you’ll be okay. My entire family eats peanut butter daily, it’s always there, it’s always around.
When I became pregnant, I read and reread everything I could about preventing nut allergies from emerging in utero. My Mother kept telling me to calm down, don’t worry about it, there’s no peanut allergies in either of our families.
Well. Yesterday, my Sister in Law’s Husband gave their 15 month old son a piece of toast with peanut butter on it. She smelt it, asked who was eating peanut butter and by the time she turned to see that it was the baby, she noticed that he had a head to toe rash that quickly swelled…
A rush to the ER and a dose of Benadryl later, the Dr confirmed the worst. He has a nut allergy. He can’t be exposed to it again, everything needs to be cleaned and scrubbed and we have to be careful going forward that he never eats it again. At four years, they can properly test again, but until then, he has to stay clear of all nuts.
And, I’m terrified for my Nephew and for my SIL who has to deal with this. And, we will be scrubbing and steralizing our kitchen and designating a special peanut butter knife in it’s own drawer to make sure that we never have traces of nuts accidentally left in a drawer to contanimate the rest. I’m worried about him going to school and be exposing to other kids who’s parents may not be as cautious as they should be.
But mostly… I’m afraid because it is in the family after all.