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 Post subject: Nut allergy & playdates
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
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My 5yo daughter has a severe nut allergy, and has had 2 anaphylactic reactions this year. We carry an epi-pen everywhere and so does the school, and play-dates are usually in the mums getting together type setting after school, so I am always there to supervise what she eats. A couple of the mums have started the ball rolling on play-dates without the mums, and DD is often invited. One of her friends wants her to go on a group play date after school next week, her Gran would be collecting them, and they would have tea etc. I am a little apprehensive about this, and wondered what your thoughts are on play-dates without the mums, and anyone who has a child with severe allergy, how relaxed are you about play-dates alone and at what age?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:42 pm 
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Well, I would have thought this is almost easier than when she is older. Or at least, its a good time to tackle it now. If I were one of the other mums I would hope that you would have a proper word with me (i.e. not just through child) and say just what you have said to us. How sensitive is she? Does she have to have ingested an amount, however tiny, or will she react if someone near her has had some peanuts? I would be very cautious if its the latter. If the former then I see two options
1. Tell the mum and trust that she will be very careful and have no nuts at all on offer
2. Tell the mum and offer, or state, that at this age it is easiest if you provide a little meal she can eat, that is not so different to what she will be cooking, but that has been prepared 'without the worry or responsibility' of it having to be guaranteed nut free.

If I were the other parent I would be only too glad of this, and would be sure to follow all your directions very closely.
I'd also let them know what early signs to look out for.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:09 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Provide the food for the play date. I send DD off with her own food even at 16 and she is only coeliac. (Her friends and their parents are excellent though and it is rare that people haven't provided for her.) It guarantees that you know what she will eat. Explain to the parents that they cannot have nuts/peanuts (whichever cause the problems) present in any of the food if the oils in the air cause problems. If she has a particular friend then I would explain to the mum how to use the epinephrine pen.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:25 pm 
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It depends on how the other parent feels about it, I suppose. Most of the friends' parents I spoke to were fine with DS and his nut allergy, but there was one who said that nuts were good for kids and that she had no intention of keeping them off the menu. As it was a birthday party that I wouldn't have been able to attend, I decided not to send DS (I think he was about 6 at the time). I can see why you're worried though after 2 reactions in one year. It will get easier as she starts to take responsibility for what she eats but, yes, 5 is young. Let us know what you decided to do and how it went.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:29 pm 
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Really? That's terrible! You can't mess with a real nut allergy! Don't blame you for staying away.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:52 pm 
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My DD has two friends with nut allergies to various degrees so when they come to play we either agree the food up front (so many things that nuts in them that I didnt realise) or they bring their own with them. Both mums have shown me how to administer the epi pen and we always make sure that the phone number I have for them work. I am guessing that we started doing this from about age 6 (can't remember exactly) and no problems but best to be prepared. Maybe start with one play date with one child with a mum there who would be ok with the epi pen etc for now?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:07 pm 
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I think the problem can be a lack of understanding of 'real allergies'. Some people just don't 'get' that an allergy is life threatening.

I've lost a good friend through an anaphylactic reaction; she left two children and a husband behind.

Explaining the importance of avoding the trigger, recognising the symptoms and knowing how to use an epi-pen are three things I want to be sure the person understood before I left my child with them. Even taking your own food does not protect from other food on offer; some people are so allergic that even the presence of nuts is enough to trigger a reaction.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:03 pm 
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Agree with all of the above. One other thought - is it possible for you to wait somewhere very close to the playdate venue to reassure yourself? Sounds silly, but even in the car just down the street ( Dad doesn't need to know!).

We had a child with serious allergy who used to visit and I preferred it when he brought his own food. If a parent gets offended then its their issue and they probably aren't a person you want to take responsibility for your child's special needs.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:41 pm 
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My sister in law spent a couple of days of her honeymoon in hospital. Sadly, she'd never been near kiwi before.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:22 pm 
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Thanks for the comments, and I totally agree Guest55, what a tragic outcome for your poor friend, I am so sorry. And I think therein lies the real problem, I honestly feel that most people don't appreciate the seriousness, and for those that do, would you really want that responsibility?
I know it seems easy just to provide her own food, but her last reaction was from taking a nibble from a tiny chocolate one of the many kids had been handed out at a party. It was near the end just as we were leaving, a child handed it to her and I didn't see it, in fact I didn't realise what had happened until she started choking in the car, all very dramatic and scary, and I dread to think what would have happened had I not been there. I guess that's why I am nervous. The child lives over half an hour away too, so not quite next door! The mums I am close to totally understand, and are very good with making sure none of their kids give her anything at all without my consent, but the mum that has invited her this week, I don't know so well, and English is her 2nd language, while the Grandma speaks no English at all, which is making me feel even more nervous about making sure the seriousness of it is understood.
When she was diagnosed after her 1st reaction, I was shocked at the flippancy of so may comments..' oh gosh not another allergy..everybody and their dog has an allergy these days' was one of the first. It is very upsetting for people whose children have serious allergies to have to listen to stuff like that, especially when she has had so many other issues besides that, and I know it can come across to those who have no idea, as being very over-protective. DH doesn't want her to go alone either..have decided I am going to be honest and relay my concerns. Happy to host the children here, etc.. But for now, I think I will stick with my instinct!


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