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Friday, December 27, 2013

Nut allergies caused by your mom eating nuts? NOT SO FAST!!

Okay, all you moms who are tired of "mom guilt" - aren't you tired of feeling guilty for all the things you did/did not do during your pregnancy? Everything seems to be "mom's fault?"

Now comes the debate whether eating nuts while pregnant will protect your child from nut allergies. I just watched a story on ABC news about this very topic. They shared information from a newly published study from the Journal of American Medical Association.The study found that:
"when pregnant women ate more peanuts and tree nuts they tended to have children with fewer nut allergies" 
 The story on ABC News said that the study only showed an "association" not a "cause and effect." What does that mean? Researchers are very reluctant to say "one thing causes another thing" or that "doing one thing helps prevent another."  So, they will probably want to do more research.
Does that mean that you can have a peanut butter sandwich if you are craving it? One of the doctors interviewed in print version of the story, Dr. Samuel Freidlander, still wants women to be careful.
 He says: “The advice is to eat a healthy diet and we don’t quite know whether avoidance [of allergens] is helpful or not,” said Friedlander of advising pregnant women on what to eat. “It shows also that we need to be careful about recommendations that we make.”  

 Nuts are one of those things to be careful about. Especially if you have a family member that is allergic to nuts (or anything else!) Son #2 is allergic tree nuts (not to be confused with peanuts), and it's VERY important that we check all food that we eat. This week, we were at a friend's house, and Son #2 asked the hostess if the cookies have nuts. She said, "no, but these do"-pointing to cookies with nuts that were ON THE SAME PLATE. I don't think that people without allergies understand how deadly food allergies can be.

Son #2 can't eat anything that is on the same tray with another food that has nuts. If one cookie has nuts, that means the whole tray/display case is contaminated, and off limits!!! I don't know if they have used the same cookie sheet and spatula to cook both batches of cookies. If they did, that means everything is contaminated with nuts. 

When I bake, I make sure I use a newly washed cookie sheet, clean bowls and utensils to make cookies. If I ever make another batch and add nuts to a recipe (which is rare) -I make sure that I mix and bake that batch AFTER the batch that is nut-free. I store them in separate containers and make sure Son #2 knows that the batch has nuts. (I only put it in a dessert that he won't eat in the first place.)

If you have food allergies, make sure everyone knows what you are allergic to. ALWAYS carry your Epi Pen, and make sure that those around you know how to use it in case you are accidentally exposed to a food allergen. You may be having problems breathing/starting an anaphylactic reaction, when that happens, you may be unable to use your Epi Pen. Those around you may need to give you your shot. If you have every seen someone going into an anaphylaxis reaction, you know what I am talking about. I have seen it once on Son #1 after he had allergy shots. I NEVER want to see that again as long as I live!!!

These are the symptoms to watch for:

  • Skin reactions, including hives along with itching, and flushed or pale skin (almost always present with anaphylaxis)
  • A feeling of warmth
  • The sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
Watch the story above and decide if eating nuts while pregnant is right for you. It's interesting that the study seems to show that when the mom eats a MODERATE amount of nuts during her pregnancy (4 or 5 times a MONTH) it may protect her baby. If you already have kids with nuts allergies, make sure they are being seen by an allergy doctor and that you ALWAYS have your Epi Pen with you. It can save your life (or your child's life!)

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