On Sunday night, my 2-year old son had peanut butter—which isn’t so common here in Switzerland—for the first time. He liked it. There were no signs whatsoever of an allergic reaction. I was overjoyed.
Feeding my son a peanut butter cookie wouldn’t normally be met with such anxiety or anticipation—except for the positive blood test result for peanut allergy when he was about 9 months old. Thankfully, the test indicated his Immunoglobin E (IgE) level was low. Even so, our allergist advised that we avoid peanuts until more testing could be done after our move to Switzerland. I was optimistic, but worried. Peanut allergy is a common cause for severe allergic reactions, according to the Mayo Clinic.
After our move and working with our new Swiss allergists, my son had skin prick and blood tests with negative results for peanut allergy. We got approval to start introducing him to food products with the “may contain traces of peanut” label. We eagerly followed the advice, and still, he had no reaction. Now we were ready for the real thing…
I’ll have to admit, it took me longer than it probably should have to serve him peanut butter. I talked with our allergist over the summer about it, and then sent an email just last week to confirm once again that we weren’t taking any unnecessary risks. Given his test result history (see details below), the risk of a severe reaction was low, but it still made me extremely nervous to think about intentionally exposing him to peanuts, especially at home.
My son’s peanut allergy testing timeline, 2012-2013
|Date, location||Type of test||Results|
|February 2012, United States||Blood test||0.51, described by our American allergist as a “Low-grade IgE against peanut of unclear clinical relevance.”|
|December 2012, Switzerland||Skin prick test||Negative|
|January 2013, Switzerland||Blood test||0.22|
In response to my concerns, our allergist shared a recent study with me, which helped ease my nerves. She even offered to schedule a food introduction at the hospital under medical supervision, if it was just too stressful for me. After lots of careful consideration, we followed the recommendation of our allergist and finally decided to feed our son a small amount of peanut butter for the first time at home.
Rather than giving him a spoonful of peanut butter, I added a tablespoon of the stuff to a familiar baked good recipe for my son: madeleines. Normally, I make a small batch of these cookies with one egg, but I decided to use flax meal instead to make sure that if a reaction occurred, it could not be attributed to the egg. To be absolutely certain he would eat them, I drizzled them with a quick, cocoa powder icing.
We happily had our day-old madeleines for dessert again last night. This is such good news for our son. I am incredibly relieved and thankful.
It’s my constant wish for more people to get good news about their food allergies, and peanut allergies in particular—for now and in the future as researchers work toward finding a cure.