Tweety’s Peanut Allergy Based on a true story By: Jackie Kelly
Dedication This book is dedicated to my brother, Joe whose understanding and courage make him an inspiration to anyone with a peanut allergy.
Hi, my name is Tweety, I am three years old, and I have a peanut allergy. This is the story of how it all began.
It started out like any other day. I woke up, Granny helped me get ready for preschool, and then Granny drove us to Maple Hills Preschool.
When we got to school, I gave Granny a kiss good bye, hung up my backpack, and went to play with my friends. My teacher, Miss Robin, told the class we were going to make a tasty snack to eat. She gave each of us a spoon, some bird seed, peanut butter, and crackers. She showed us how to spread the peanut butter on the crackers and then she put some birdseed on top. Now, it was our turn.
I started to spread the peanut butter on a cracker, and then I started sneezing, and my eyes started to tear. I wiped my eye to dry my tears, and then my eye started to itch like crazy. I couldn’t stop rubbing it.
I told Miss Robin that my eye hurt, and she wiped it with water. It didn’t feel any better, so she called Granny and asked her to come pick me up.
Just before Granny got there, my face felt really tight and it hurt a lot. It felt like I was a balloon and someone was blowing me up. I couldn’t see out of my eye.
Miss Robin told me Granny was here. I was scared because I couldn’t see her. She hugged me and told me we were going to see Dr. Feather and everything would be alright.
Granny carried me to the car and drove us to Dr. Feather’s office. The nurse took us to a room and Dr. Feather came in. He asked Granny what had happened. Granny told him that I was making a snack at preschool with peanut butter and bird seed. Dr. Feather said, “I know exactly what is going on with you Tweety. Your body is having an allergic reaction to peanuts.”
Dr. Feather told me he was going to give me medicine to stop my body from reacting to the peanuts. I sat very still while he gave me a shot of medicine in my leg. Dr. Feather told me I was very brave. The nurse asked me to lay down and she put medicine in my eyes. I didn’t like it, but it made my eyes feel better.
When we were done, Dr. Feather asked us to come into his office so he could talk to us about peanut allergies. Dr. Feather explained that everyone’s body has an immune system. It fights off bad stuff like germs and diseases. When someone with a peanut allergy comes in contact with peanuts, their body becomes very sensitive to the protein in the peanut. The peanut protein causes the immune system go crazy. The immune system sends messages all over the body telling it to attack the peanut protein.
I asked Dr. Feather why the immune system goes crazy. He said that doctors and scientists are not really sure. He asked Granny if she had any food allergies. He told us that if your family has food allergies, you are more likely to have them also. He told Granny there was a small chance that I could outgrow my allergy. But, until then, I have to stay away from peanuts.
Dr. Feather gave Granny an epi-pen, the same medicine that he gave me in my leg. He told her I needed to have it with me all the time just in case my body reacts to peanuts again. He also told Granny that I have to wear a medical alert bracelet. It is a bracelet with my name and my allergy on it, in case Granny isn’t around and something happens to me.
My eye was feeling better and Dr. Feather said we could leave. He said I had to keep using the eye drops for five days so my eye would get better. He gave me a sticker and told me again how brave I was.
It turned out to be nothing like any other day. I sure am glad Granny and Dr. Feather took such good care of me. I was very scared, but now I know I will be fine as long as I keep away from peanuts.
Facts About Peanut Allergies 1.5 million people in the United States are affected by peanut allergies. Researchers aren’t sure of the cause of peanut allergies. People with family history of allergies are at greater risk. Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are part of the legumes family like soy beans, pinto beans and licorice.
Effect of Family Life Most children with peanut allergies are anxious about eating away from home because they are afraid that some of the food might have come in contact with peanuts or peanut oil. People with peanut allergies sometimes avoid attending events where there are large amounts of people eating a variety of foods (sporting events, concerts, etc.) because it can be potentially dangerous if the nut dust gets circulated in the air. At school, the effected child needs to sit at a separate table where no peanut products are allowed. The classroom needs to have peanut free snacks for snack time and parties. Field trips need to be carefully planned as well. Living with someone with a peanut allergy requires you to be very conscious of everything that is happening around you.
Reactions Reactions to peanut: can be mild or more severe. can take place minutes or hours after exposure. Symptoms include: itching, redness, swelling, shortness of breath, wheezing, nausea, abdominal pain, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness. The most serious reaction, anaphylaxis can develop immediately after exposure. It makes it hard to breath and blood pressure drops. There may be a loss of consciousness.
Exposure to peanuts can occur in three ways: Direct contact, eating peanuts or kissing and touching someone who has been in direct contact with peanuts. Cross-contact exposure to peanuts during handling of a food product that contains peanut. Inhalation by inhaling dust or aerosols containing peanut, like peanut flour or peanut oil cooking spray.
Prevention Know and avoid foods that cause symptoms. Read food labels carefully. Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. Carry an epi-pen with you at all times. Notify people that you come in contact with about your allergy. Recognize symptoms and explain them to anyone spending time with you.
Treatment Antihistamines may reduce symptoms. They control the reaction and relieve discomfort. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid peanuts and peanut proteins. For a reaction causing anaphylaxis, Epinephrine should be given with an antihistamine. Also, a trip to the hospital is necessary to make sure the reaction is under control.
Present State of Research It is one of the most serious allergic reactions to food. It is a growing problem and has doubled over the past ten years. There is currently no cure for this allergy Research is being done to help people with peanut allergies
Why should we increase funding to find a cure for Peanut Allergies This is a serious growing problem. Peanut allergies have doubled in children less than 5 years old in the past 5 years. This allergy affects every aspect of their lives.
Work Cited Books Morgane, Wendy. Allergies. Brookfield, Connecticut: twenty-fifth Century Medical Library, 1999. Encyclopedia “Peanut Allergy.” Wikipedia. 2007. 2007 Edition. Websites Peanut Allergy. 2006. Mayoclinic.com. April 17,2007. http://mayoclinic.com/health/peanut-allergy/DS00710 Peanut Allergy. 2007. Wikipedia. April 17,2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/peanut-allergy Peanut Allergy. 2007. Nemours Foundation. April 18, 2007. http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/nutrition/diets/nut_allergy.html