Let’s Talk About Peanut Allergies

Let's talk about peanut allergies | A must-read for back-to-school

I recently saw a Facebook friend post a meme that said “If my child can’t bring peanut butter to school, your’s shouldn’t be allowed to bring preventable diseases.”  Now, I am not someone to get worked up about a silly Facebook post.  With this election year, it takes a lot to shock me in terms of stupidity and social media.  However, this one really one made my blood boil.

Let’s talk about peanut allergies, shall we?

This is not a conversation about vaccines, but I’d like to put out there that I am, indeed, very pro-vaccination.  And if you don’t vaccinate, please don’t stop reading here.  I just want to point out that these are two totally different issues.  It is ignorant to assume that because a child has a life-threatening food allergy, that their parents must be a part of the anti-vaccination movement.

Choosing to vaccinate your child is exactly that: a choice.  Children (and adults for that matter) who are allergic to peanuts do not choose to have a life-threatening food allergy.

Did you notice I used the words life-threatening?  My son has a peanut (and tree nut) allergy and he could DIE if he came in contact with peanut butter.  I find it so hard to understand how other parents can have no compassion for kids with these types of allergies.

My son has had one anaphylactic reaction to peanuts and, without a doubt, that was the scariest day of my life.  My then one-year-old baby was choking and covered in hives from head to toe, to the point that he was barely recognizable, as we rushed him to the hospital.  I have never feared for my child’s life more than I did that day.

Since then, we have had a few close encounters.  But thank goodness, my baby boy has not had to endure such a traumatizing experience since that day we learned of his allergy.

He is now three and I am scared to death to send my son to school.  I have thoughts of well-meaning parents sending Snicker’s bars and Reese’s cups as treats for holiday parties.  I have fears of my (very affectionate) son kissing another child on the playground who just ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  These are legitimate fears, people.  This is one of our reasons for not starting preschool this year.

As we approach back-to-school time, I can’t ask you enough to share this post with your friends and family.  There are families like mine all over the world that deserve to get their story out.  Peanut-allergy families are not the enemy.  We’re just moms and dads trying to keep our kids alive.  Isn’t that a commonality that we all share as parents?

You can read more on my Confessions of a Peanut-Allergy Mom here.  Also, keep in mind that sunflower butter is an awesome, school-friendly substitute for pb&j sandwiches. 😉

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16 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Peanut Allergies

  1. I am an allergy mom too. Thankfully, 4 years ago we outgrew peanuts but our tree Nut allergies continue to grow in severity. My daughter is in middle school now and we had to petition for her to self carry her epi pen as there is no school rules against nuts. We fought in elementary and they banned peanuts only to serve almonds on the open salad bar at school. I have watched my daughters reactions only to touch and it has been enough to terrify me of what an accidental ingestion would be like. I know there is a culture that says allergies are not real or exaggerated but to them I would say is your child’s lunch more important than my child’s life! The answer all day even day is no. There is a lot of ignorance in the world and this is one that we just have to keep being vigilant at fighting back at.

  2. This. I feel like so many people need to read this!
    I am amazed at some peoples ignorance towards allergies in general. A lot of people treat them like a choice. It makes me cringe when people say “Oh your child has allergies? I’m avoiding gluten so I understand how hard that is”. No. You don’t.

    My 3 year old is allergic to dairy, egg, peanuts, and tree nuts. I wish I could give everyone a crash course on the subject. Thanks for sharing!

  3. So, I saw that meme and assumed that meant if every parent is responsible for making sure a kid with a peanut allergy doesn’t die, then every parent should also be responsible for preventing the spread of diseases. DO PEOPLE REALLY THINK THAT IF YOUR CHILD HAS AN ALLERGY THAT YOU DID SOMETHING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN?

    I realize pseudo-science has taken over the interwebs but this is disturbing. I am so sorry that while you’re trying to keep your child safe, you have to deal with such ignorance. As a mom of 2 kids with no allergies, I can’t imagine how hard it is to have that fear on top of all the other fears we have as moms. I would never balk at having to make a sunflower seed butter sandwich instead of PB sandwich but never really considered how you would have to deal with those that do.

    1. Thank you for your understanding and for your perspective! I never thought about the meme that way. It almost makes me feel silly for getting so offended. However, it’s crazy the amount of questions you get from people regarding kids’ food allergies… i.e. “Did you eat peanuts when you were pregnant/nursing?” Like I could have somehow prevented this!

  4. I’m a mom of four children and they do not have any allergies (other than seasonal allergies). So I can’t even begin to imagine how it must be for you to worry about your son’s peanut allergy. I know that must be tough. You’re right, more parents and just people in general, should be more understanding of those who have children with peanut allergies or other health issues. Sometimes the memes and funny videos can get out of control or some people misuse them to be mean. It’s really frustrating and hard not to speak up. I think it’s good that you wrote a piece on this because it is important to make your voice heard and speak up for young people who cannot speak up for themselves yet. I hope when your son does start school, he does not have any health issues. Blessings!

  5. My best friend has a nut allergy and i have seen a sort of “attack” once, it was not pretty! So can completely imagine your fears for sending your son to school and the possibilities of getting in touch with peanut butter by accident.

  6. I agree that allergies need to be taken seriously and respected. I dread the day I learn my child has a life-threatening food allergy. She’s already predisposed to type 1 diabetes, so even playing that waiting game is horrific because I can almost certainly EXPECT it! Peanut allergies are UNEXPECTED! My heart is with you. Having said that, I wish more parents would take the time during pregnancy and even before trying to have children to read up on some of the many, many, MANY ways allergies can be introduced to babies and children – and how that can be prevented! It’s rude to poke fun at serious issues with an internet meme, yes, absolutely, but sharing information and facts and statistics is NEVER a bad idea! It can be done in a respectful and tasteful way and I am all about information sharing. I see many women apprehensive about speaking up or sharing information with their friends out of fear of offending them. If someone sent me a link about vitamin D3 being linked to preventing type 1 diabetes, and it wasn’t done in a mocking way, I would be so grateful! There’s a way to talk about serious issues and internet memes are NOT it.

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