Ummm...really? Peanut Allergy + School Nurse...

Decorating By jonahsmom Updated 27 Apr 2010 , 3:25am by ladyk333

jonahsmom Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 9:41pm
post #1 of 73

Okay so I was asked to make cupcakes for my son's elementary school. Fine, no biggie. Fun! Earth Day cupcakes with gummy bugs.

So this afternoon as all the kids are eating their cupcakes the school nurse calls.

Nurse: Did you put peanuts or peanut butter in the cupcakes.

Me: No. I cant guarantee that theres no trace amounts though. Does someone have a peanut allergy?

Nurse: Yes. Theres a little girl who isnt eating the cupcakes because shes worried they might contain peanuts or peanut butter. Did you put peanuts or peanut butter in the cupcakes?"

Me: No. BUT I CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT THERE

Nurse (interrupting me): Got it. Cross-contamination, I understand that. I think its probably okay.

Me: Gulp! icon_eek.gif

I seriously hope this girl stuck to her guns and didn't eat my cupcakes. Just for my own piece of mind! Is it possible to be allergic only to actual peanuts and peanut butter but not be affected by trace amounts? Hubby picked up our son from school today and said that everyone looked healthy and playing outside when he got there.

I'm right to be concerned, right?! I mean, wouldn't a nurse know that cross-contamination is just as bad?

72 replies
Doug Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 9:47pm
post #2 of 73

level of sensitivity varies widely.

no rule of thumb or guideline to apply.

yes, it is possible she could be hyper sensitive and just as possible that she actually has to eat a full nut.


You never know

jonahsmom Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 9:51pm
post #3 of 73

Okay...less freaking out now! Thanks Doug! I would've felt TERRIBLE!!!!

ctinaw Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 9:56pm
post #4 of 73

Yes, it really varies from individual to individual - on sensitivity level. Some need to actually consume a nut while other need no more than to "smell" yes "smell" peanuts. Crazy stuff! Not your fault either way. The nurse is kind of a dolt sounds like...

ladyonzlake Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 10:00pm
post #5 of 73

Your response to the nurse was perfect...I've had customers ask me the same thing and that's what I tell them. If they have any concerns they should not eat it.

Bonnell Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 10:04pm
post #6 of 73

That's kinda harsh to call the nurse a "dolt". She was just verifying that there were no nuts used in the cake, she obviously understood the cross-contamination issue.

Kiddiekakes Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 10:05pm
post #7 of 73

My kids school here won't even allow parents to send any baked goods to school for Valentines day etc...nothing what so ever,,,Bunner..I ubderstand why but I was looking forward to making cookies ,cupcakes for Christmas and Valentines/St.Patricks day but no go...

lis73 Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 10:21pm
post #8 of 73

Our schools here also disallow home made treats. Only commercially prepared treats. Smart move in this day and age. Plus less kitchen time for me icon_razz.gif

chassidyg Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 10:36pm
post #9 of 73

Our schools only allow sealed packages from a bakery or grocery as well. kindergarten there was a little boy who knew what he could and could not eat. He was very concious of it. I felt bad come halloween because had I known I would have made it a point to find some treat or candy he could enjoy as well. I made sure to ask what he was allowed after that for Christmas & Valentine's day parties. These kids are usually very smart and know,

costumeczar Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 1:24am
post #10 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnell

That's kinda harsh to call the nurse a "dolt". She was just verifying that there were no nuts used in the cake, she obviously understood the cross-contamination issue.




I have to say that any school nurse who says Got it. Cross-contamination, I understand that. I think its probably okay about a peanut allergy IS a dolt. That can be life-threatening.

Doug Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 1:33am
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnell

That's kinda harsh to call the nurse a "dolt". She was just verifying that there were no nuts used in the cake, she obviously understood the cross-contamination issue.



I have to say that any school nurse who says Got it. Cross-contamination, I understand that. I think its probably okay about a peanut allergy IS a dolt. That can be life-threatening.




and I would posit that the nurse already has documentation as to the level of allergic reaction the child has. I know the school nurse at my school can tell about every child's allergy -- but it is done on a need to know basis.

In this case her comment implies the child must actually eat are real peanut or more and is not hyper sensitive.

Further -- remember she was probably in a rush as the teacher was wanting to know NOW if it was safe to serve the product.

By her very question -- specifically asking if actual peanut product was used you can also infer that the child's allergy is not life threatening due to cross contamination but is a problem for real peanut products.

----

The nurse was doing her job, using her preexisting knowledge of the situation, to determine the exact threat level.

And FYI -- due to FERPA (Federal Education Records Protection Act) and also the medical privacy laws -- the nurse could not legally disclose what the child's level of sensitivity is.

---

She is not a dolt.


_____

remember -- individual sensitivities vary.

personal ex -- both mom and dad could crush poison ivy in their hands, rub it one themselves and not break out.

me -- any amount on the wind and I broke out. And now can no longer eat cashews (part of poison ivy family!) -- no worry about anaphylactic shock -- just a major rash and hives everywhere they touch that lasts up to a week (ow!)

mom -- no penicillin; dad - no sulfa; me -- bring em on, have yet to find a drug I'm allergic to (well except for the price!!!!!)

----

do not jump to "confusions" and "ass"ume that every reaction will be life threatening.

some may require immediate drastic medical intervention

others just might make you miserable for days or weeks

some may merely result in a "disturbance" of some sort (sneezing, watery eyes, upset tummy, etc.) that soon passes or one learns to live with (as I have to the 33 of 37 common allergens I've been tested for -- and yes I still do love dogs even tho' allergic and eat tomatoes despite them setting off my GERD and refuse to take Zyrtek except on the "i can't breath days")

-----

and it is further interesting to note that current research is now finding ways to take even the deathly allergic and get them over it.

ctinaw Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 1:36am
post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnell

That's kinda harsh to call the nurse a "dolt". She was just verifying that there were no nuts used in the cake, she obviously understood the cross-contamination issue.



I have to say that any school nurse who says Got it. Cross-contamination, I understand that. I think its probably okay about a peanut allergy IS a dolt. That can be life-threatening.




exactly

JodieF Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 1:47am
post #13 of 73

Not every allergic reaction is life threatening.....very very few are. The child could have had a mild hive reaction at age 2, and the parents have avoided peanuts since. The school nurse would be incredibly aware if there had been past life threatening reactions by that child, as would every staff member in that school building.

Of course food allergies have to be taken seriously, but there are an awful lot of misconceptions about them.

Jodie

jonahsmom Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 1:57am
post #14 of 73

To be fair - the nurse very likely did know EXACTLY what the kids allergy level is. And Doug is right, she would not have been able to disclose that to me.

I guess I hear so much about peanut allergies that I had no idea that trace amounts might not be a problem. I had no idea that some people with the allergy have to actually eat a nut or the nut butters to have a reaction.

I just was really afraid that if she ate a cupcake, with possible trace amounts of peanuts, she would have a severe allergic reaction. Even though it wasn't my responsibility, I still would've felt terrible if something happened.

Good news though. Apparently all the kids loved the cupcakes and they were all outside playing at the end of the school day. The nurse knew what she was doing! icon_redface.gif

Kitagrl Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:04am
post #15 of 73

Its too bad they didn't warn you of that BEFORE you sent the cupcakes so you could take extra precautions...

My kids go to private school and so far they haven't had any nut allergies in their classes so that's nice, for occasionally sending in baked goods. Glad the little girl was smart enough to be cautious.

I had an impatient mom the other day...was at a cake show and the mom had her daughter (about 7 yrs old or so) and they were sampling all the cakes. Mom says "Any of these contain nuts?" I was like "Well....they may...I mean not purposely, but I do have nuts in my kitchen and..." (I meant to explain that some of my buttercream contains almond extract) and she rudely interrupted and said to her daughter "She doesn't know. Come on." But the kicker is that she took a cupcake for her and her second daughter right in front of the allergic one.

Why would you take an allergic little girl to a cake tasting event, when its very possible all the cakes will contain trace amounts of nuts and you'd have to eat all night in front of her???? icon_sad.gif

SPCC Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:12am
post #16 of 73

I used to nanny for a family and their girl was hypersensitive to peanuts. even peanut oil and she would break out. another girl I know they found out she was allergic when she started vomiting after she ate peanut butter. you just never know.

7yyrt Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:13am
post #17 of 73

Doug, I didn't know that cashews were part of the poison ivy family.

Learned something new. Thanks!

Doug Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:16am
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

Doug, I didn't know that cashews were part of the poison ivy family.

Learned something new. Thanks!




yep..

and have to be careful around furniture finished with traditional Chinese lacquer -- cashew oil is one of the main ingredients -- and it is a very strong allergen.

funny, poison ivy no longer bothers me ---

but cashews do

and so do wax begonias (break out just like with poison ivy)

----

truly weird some of the allergies people have.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:16am
post #19 of 73

That is interesting about the poison ivy! I knew cashews to be highly toxic until they are properly roasted...but did not know they were in the same family as poison ivy. Hm.

Swede-cakes Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:20am
post #20 of 73

jonahsmom, I'm glad everything turned out fine in your son's class! I'm also glad that little girl's parents are doing a good job of teaching her to be self sufficient and aware of her allergy when they're not with her.

Doug Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:22am
post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

That is interesting about the poison ivy! I knew cashews to be highly toxic until they are properly roasted...but did not know they were in the same family as poison ivy. Hm.




http://www.nybg.org/wordpress/?p=3739

Kitagrl Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:31am
post #22 of 73

LOL I believed you, Doug! icon_smile.gif

AnotherCreation Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:32am
post #23 of 73

My daughter has a peanut allergy. Her's is only affected if she comes in contact(eats or touches) the peanuts. There are those who have an airborne peanut allergy. There is one student in her school that has the airborne allergy so her school has been "peanut free" for the past two years. Students are not allowed to even bring P&J sands.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:36am
post #24 of 73

If my kid had a peanut allergy that deathly (airborne), I'd homeschool him....rather than change an entire school's lunch code AND more importantly, risk something being overlooked.

Just sayin'..... icon_redface.gif

Doug Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:36am
post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

LOL I believed you, Doug! icon_smile.gif




oh, I know -- just though you might like some extra reading.

and on another site if found that WWII soldiers called them "blister nuts" due to reaction from handling them raw.

(and I can't even handle them cooked!)

7yyrt Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:37am
post #26 of 73

Not allowed to bring PB&J sandwiches? What do they eat?
PB&J is one of the cheapest ways to feed kids.

Swede-cakes Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:37am
post #27 of 73

Anothercreation, my daughter is similar. External contact from peanut or peanutbutter causes hives in under 2 minutes. Ingestion results two separate reaction courses; itchy, swelling mouth and throat, and severe nausea. But she's eaten pre-pkgd food with the "equipment" or "trace amounts" warning label and been fine. Reactions are so vastly varied.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:41am
post #28 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

Not allowed to bring PB&J sandwiches? What do they eat?
PB&J is one of the cheapest ways to feed kids.




I guess they eat ham and cheese or something.

I've heard of alot of schools "de-nutting" their schools...I don't think its quite fair to change 500 kids lunches for the sake of one...

For a time my son had to be on a strict diet...he has chronic urticaria (hives) and we were for a time, avoiding all preservatives and acids and tomatoes, etc. (He still has it, but no food sensitivities any longer...he is on like 11 pills a day for it though including an immunosuppressant!) Anyway while we did have people who tried to accomodate his diet, I never expected everybody to change all their plans just because we were going. If I had to, I kept him home, or I brought food he could eat.

That's why I say...if sniffing a PBJ sandwich would kill my son...I'd totally school him at home. No question.

AnotherCreation Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:44am
post #29 of 73

swede-cakes....The same with my daughter with the "processed in a plant that handles peanuts" food we have not had a problem. The only time she has touched peanut butter was back in preschool and they knew she had an allergy but they did a craft project making a bird feeder with peanut butter and bird seed. To say the least, I received a call as she was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital for me to meet them there. She had severe hives and had started turning blue.All turned out ok but we now know she can't touch it!!!

jonahsmom Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 2:47am
post #30 of 73

At a few of our schools (not my son's thank goodness!) kids that bring PB & J have to sit in a separate area in the cafeteria. Yep - they put all the PB & J kids together and they don't get to eat with the rest of their friends.

If my guy couldn't take PB & J for lunch I don't know what we would do!!!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%