Hi. I was diagnosed years ago with a walnut allergy. It is not life threatening, I just get sick to my stomach. I was strongly encouraged by the allergy doctor to be careful of tree nuts. I have no problem with cashews, almonds or peanuts. I haven't tried any other kinds of nuts and feel no need to. However, I have a 20 month-old- daughter and I'm wondering could I have passed this allergy to her? could she be more susceptible to nut allergies than children whose parents don't have an allergy. I don't plan on giving her any nuts or nut butters til she is three as seems to be the reccommendation for all children now. However, I babysit a 3 year old who does eat peanuts and I am very careful that she gets cleaned up really well after eating peanut butter before touching my daughter or sharing toys. Am I overreacting?
You are not overreacting. There is often, but clearly not always, cross-reactivity from one nut to another. For any nut, one can experience a severe reaction to a nut, such as walnut, having experienced only mild reactions. Strong cross-reactivity between walnuts and Brazil nuts has been described, the latter often present is commercially available "mixed nuts".
Yes, you could have passed this allergy to your daughter. She could be more susceptible to nut allergies than a child whose parents do not have any food allergies. Children with bad eczema, a history of urticaria, commonly called hives, or asthma are more likely to have food allergies.
You should check with your daughter's doctor on this, but it would be prudent to inform the parents of the 3 year old of the risk that your daughter may have peanut allergy and insist that the 3 year old not eat peanuts or peanut butter before coming to your home and that you exclude peanuts and peanut butter from your home including the provision that the 3 year old not bring either with her, when you are baby-sitting her.
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