My Son Drank Almond Milk and He’s Allergic…Yikes! Here’s What Happened Next…

My wife and I are always very careful about our children’s’ food allergies, and we are especially diligent about warning others who are watching them or may in any way be exposing them to foods.  This past Saturday, we learned that no matter how careful you are about outside of the home risks, we must not keep our guards down in our own homes too.

To make a long story short…our 6 year old thought he was taking a sip of regular iced coffee, but the one he drank was made with almond milk.  According to his numbers, he is highly allergic to almonds.

Now the fun part…waiting….

Interestingly, we weren’t sure what to do.  As food allergy parents, we read so much about the importance of prevention and what to do when there’s a reaction…but this was unfamiliar territory for us.  What is protocol after a food allergen is ingested but before there is any sign of a reaction?  Furthermore, knowing the potential window for a reaction is 4 hours, could we let our son go to bed before the 4 hours were up (the whole saga began around 6pm)?

In the end, we gave our son Benadryl, monitored him closely for 2 hours, and after no sign of any reaction at all, put him to bed at his normal bed time.  We then checked on him every ten minutes or so for another 2 hours to make sure he looked good.  Thankfully, we dodged a bullet.

But the question remains…what is protocol in such a situation?  What steps should food allergy parents take after a food allergen is ingested but before there is any sign of a reaction?  I plan on posing this question to a food allergist and sharing her response in a coming blog post.

But in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts…


  1. Loren Berkovics

    Definitely following up with an allergist is key, however, knowing the emergency care plan well and going over scenarios with your doctor can make an uneasy situation easier.

  2. Carol

    Have you no allergy action plan worked out by or with your doctor? You need one! Ours calls for immediate epic pen if known ingestion of allergens and an immediate trip to the ER. Delayed reactions are not unknown (beyond 4 hours). You were a fortunate family.

  3. Katie

    My thought is if he didn’t react and is highly allergic to almonds I would of course follow up and possibly do a good challenge to see if he is even still allergic. Benedryl would be go too even without a reaction and monitor.

  4. Tracy

    As a mom with a peanut allergic son, and query nut allergies (only scoring on some tests, but never having a real reaction to any nuts that we know of), if this happened we would definitely watch closely and have the epi close by, not go away anywhere that medical help would be far away. You did well watching him closely. The one thing I would have left out is the Benadryl. Benadryl is really only for comfort. If someone is itching like crazy, or very uncomfortable. It also may take down swelling, but these are signs that anaphylaxis could be in progress. Benadryl may prevent you from seeing a reaction that is worsening, and may need Epinephrine, and/or medical help. It may also make a child sleepy and nap, which can be a symptoms of anaphylaxis. It would be better used for discomfort in a controlled setting like the ER where other things are being closely monitored.
    We had a situation where my son ate a may contain, especially concerning as the company makes popcorn kernels(which is what he had), and nuts and seeds. I didn’t check that label, as I always check the label for popcorn, and even if it says 100% corn kernels, I am still skeptical. This time it was a new brand, and it dawned on me as he had had a couple handfuls that it was the same brand as seeds I didn’t allow him to have! He had not eaten much, but we just watched him very closely, for the entire evening, and slept with him at night, just to make sure.
    It is hard, when as you said too, you try so hard to prevent these situations, and bam, one slip up and there it is! You learn from each little mistake though!

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