Warning: Peanut Allergy Kid

They sit at separate non-peanut tables, don’t get to eat the normal PB & J’s that most kids are accustomed to and everywhere they go their parents are paranoid that someone might forget and expose them.

That’s the life of a parent whose child has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. My son was diagnosed at age one via blood work that put his level at life-threatening. We had a small scare prior to that which prompted us to test him. We now carry an EpiPen (short for Epinephrine) everywhere we go. If our son is ever exposed to peanuts and his breathing is compromised we have to administer an Epinephrine shot. And it wouldn’t be pretty. The needle is thick and you have to push it into his thigh with intention to make sure he receives the dose. And as if that’s not traumatic enough for a child, they have to be rushed to the ER for further treatment.

How did he develop the allergy? I ate peanut butter while I was pregnant and no one in our family has food allergies. There is no known cause and did you know that a peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of food-related death? Scary, right? Our doctor said that 20% of children allergic to peanuts will grow out of it. My son is now 3-1/2 and we made the decision to get him re-tested for the allergy. It was a hard decision because I knew there would be needles involved and the process could take months. We started this past March.

Allergy TestingThe first step is a prick test. The known allergens are put on his back with a tiny needle prick. Then you wait 15 minutes to see if the spot will welt up showing an allergic reaction. It can be a bit scary and uncomfortable because it itches like crazy. Yeah, and try to tell a 3-year-old not to itch his back for fifteen minutes while his shirt is off. Thankfully, the room he was in had a train table and I had proactively downloaded Curious George on my phone. (The photo to the right shows his test. The red marks are actually a felt marker they used to label each allergen.)

The second step is a blood draw. I let my husband handle this one. They have to draw from the arm and I KNEW my son would by hysterical and I KNEW that I wouldn’t be able to keep it together.

The third step is a food challenge administered in the office under the close watch of a doctor and medical staff. They give the child a small dose of the allergen and then slowly increase the amount until a reaction happens, if any. This process can last up to 4 hours!

We’ve already been through steps 1 and 2. The blood test came back negative which we didn’t expect. We go in for the food challenge in early June which will show the real truth. I’m so anxious for the appointment because I want him to be a normal kid. I want him to eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! And I don’t want him to have to recite “Does it have peanuts in it?” to everyone who offers him food. He doesn’t understand yet how serious his allergy is and I’m happy about that for now. I’m crossing my fingers that come early June my son will be in the lucky 20% club.

Has your child had scares with their food allergy at school or while they were with friends/family? Or did your child grow out of their food allergy? I would love to hear about it.

Tiffany never dreamed she would be mom material let alone a SAHM! Leaving her full-time job as a marketing manager/graphic designer, Tiffany set out to explore the world of spit-up, Sesame Street and sleep deprivation. Managing her two little ones has definitely proven to be a challenge of patience and will but at the end of the day those sweet faces make each day fulfilling. Married to her husband of ten years, the couple takes every opportunity to explore new places even if it means being out of their comfort zone. Outside of her children and spouse, Tiffany truly enjoys vintage stores, photography with her beloved Nikon, a good facial, wine and chick flicks. Her role at Jacksonville Moms Blog will be to take her readers through the journey of living greener. It’s sure to be a great resource for using easy-to-create household cleaners to what to do with all of that food your toddler just wasted!


  1. Unfortunately, I know this scenario all too well. My 3 year old was diagnosed with a cow’s milk and egg allergy at 8months old. At 7months he had a severe reaction to milk based formula (first time he tried it). Since then he has also added peanuts to his list of life threatening food allergies. We too carry an Epi-Pen in case he has an anaphylactic reaction. Just the thought of having to inject him with a needle scares me so much but of course I would if I had too. Having a child with severe food allergies was an unknown world for me since we don’t have a family history of food allergies. It gives preschool, birthday parties and restaurants a whole new meaning. My hope is that with the awareness of how life threatening food allergies can be comes acceptance and understanding from other parents.
    Thanks Tiffany for sharing your story and bringing awareness to this topic. I hope that your little guy is in the lucky 20% club.

    • Sharryse, my son also had the egg and milk allergy early on which he has since tested negative for but now I can’t get him to touch an egg. 🙂 Thank you for your support!

  2. Great article Tiffany, my oldest son has a life threatening peanut allergy and other food allergies. It is defiantly scary to see your child go through a reaction and then all of the testing to confirm it. My son is now 10 and I am finally feeling like I got this. I will pray for your son’s food challenge as well. We have been down that road too. If he does end up with an allergy, you can and will get through it. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

  3. Good article. My daughter is 6 and has a peanut allergy. We found out at an early age after giving her peanut butter. We have retested every year and she has yet to grow out of it. It makes me so sad. No one in our family has an allergy. It scares me. She sits at the separate table. 🙁

    • Marie, it is sad. I wish there were other ways to handle it. My son is still in preschool and it’s peanut-free but I’m guessing I won’t be so lucky when he is ready for kindergarten.

    • Ana, I’m happy to report that he did outgrow is peanut allergy! It was a 4 hour test where they start with a very small sample of PB then monitor his heart rate/BP & check his tongue for swelling. I cried at the end of the test because I absolutely could not believe he passed. We celebrated by going to Toys R Us.;-)


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