Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Witt to the ER

I'm going to use Talk About Tuesday to ask you mom's a question! But first, let me set the stage...

Yesterday, my husband and I were at a funeral for a dear friend in a town 1.5 hours away. Almost immediately after the graveside service, Jeff's cell phone rings. He talks for a minute and motions for me to come to him quickly. I hear the word "ambulance". Turns out, my MIL had given our infant (5 months) his first bottle of milk-based formula and he swelled up, turned red, and started clawing at his face trying to scratch. She called an ambulance to come get him because the other two boys were in bed for a nap. In the ER, they gave him shots of Benedryl and steroids. The swelling went down and he was doing much better. When we arrived at the hospital, Witt was sleeping and looked like he had the measles: little red dots all over his face. This morning he still has a few "spots" remaining and we have a follow up appointment today with his pediatrician.

My questions are: How have you dealt with food allergies? Did your children grow out of them? Are food allergies always this severe (or worse)?

I know these are questions I'll be able to ask the doctor today, but I wanted some opinions from "the field". ;0)


[Update on Witt]


Jen said...

My son is lactose intolerant and is one of less than 50 people ever in the world who have this from birth. It was a nightmare because breast milk is loaded with lactose, but everyone believes babies are never allergic to breast milk, they are allergic to something you ate. It's so rare many doctors have never heard of it and/or have no experience treating it.

He will have it his entire life, but after he turned 2 and we got past the perpetual diarrhea from hidden milk products in food, its much easier to deal with than an anaphlactic reaction like your son had. *hugs*

He still avoids milk-based products, but if he accidentally has some, there is a supplement that can help, he doesn't have to carry an epi-pen as he would with a regular allergy.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this, its so scary!

I was told when my daughter (daughter had a slight sensitivity to milk protein) was a baby, that 50% of babies with milk protein allergies outgrow them by age 1, and 80% outgrow them by age 3, if you avoid all milk containing products until then.

Cocoa said...

How scary! Glad they were able to control his allergic reactions. I don't have any experience with food allergies. I am allergic to chocolate but, um, as you can see that hasn't stopped me a bit! Jen has really done great with her kids and their lactose intolerance. She has great advice.

Ornery's Wife said...

I am so sad you had to experience that horrifying thing! My son is also allergic to milk, or at least we think that is what his allergies as a child were, but at 21 is now able to enjoy a bowl of Cold Stone ice cream every so often without ill effect. He still avoids drinking milk, and would probably be better to avoid it altogether, but is managing. He is still, however, allergic to metal.

When he was a baby, he had one pair of pj's that had metal snaps on the front. We discovered by accident that those snaps were the cause of a rash he had all over his chest. He has never outgrown this, and wears his military "dog tags" hooked on his pants and inside his pocket instead of around his neck. He has never worn jewelry except for watches, and tries to stay away from metal bands except for when he is in his dress blues.

All that to say, some allergies they do outgrow, others they don't. I am learning with my healthy living research, though, that there are several factors that play into our children having allergies, and researchers are just discovering (or just revealing) the ill effects of things like plastic, perfumes, etc. Some allergies we think are food allergies are actually side effects to the body's reaction to external toxins.

The reverse can also be true, in that sometimes we have symptoms of seasonal allergies, when in reality they are related to food allergies. That was the case with my husband, a former wheat farmer who had hay-fever his entire life. This year when we took him off wheat and sugar, he has experienced almost NO symptoms--for the first fall EVER!

I am sure your doctor will do some sort of allergy profile, and your life will probably take a new turn you never imagined. Best wishes as you discover the healthful path for your family.

Kassie said...

I've never dealt with something like this with my kids, but I wish you and your son the best. I hope you get the information you need.

Anonymous said...

Ah, we are a family with allergies. My son and daughter are allergic to milk (lactose) and my younger son is allergic to dust. Now tell me, how do you keep dust out of the house? Impossible. I just try... the same with food allergies. I do all that I can to make notes, and keep to the stuff I know.

Great post.

I have a fun Talk about Tuesday today, too.


Lisa@Take90West said...

Wow, that is scary. Glad he seems to be better.
Luckily, we have avoided food allergies around my house, but I know it is a real struggle for some families out there.

Good luck, and thanks for visiting my blog today!

Christine Rockwell said...

My kids had a couple little alergic reactions {diaper rash, etc} and they did eventually grow out of them. Something with as serious a reaction might be different though I have heard they CAN go away. How horrible for you to have to go through that! Glad to hear he is doing better though. Good luck, hope you are able to get some good answers!

Org Junkie said...

My son is severely allergic to milk and we found out the same way you did when he was 6 months old. Please please carry epi and benedryl with you at all times and practice total avoidance. My son is eight now and hasn't outgrown his allergy but I remain hopeful. Email anytime if you have any questions.


missbecky75 said...

Thank you all SO MUCH for your comments. I must say they have helped me through a rough day. It is always nice to know that others have made it through and learned to cope. I appreciate your kindness so much.

The Lazy Organizer said...

Good luck to you! We're allergy free at our house and I'm hoping it stays that way!

Anonymous said...

All three of my children were born with milk allergies, and the oldest for sure has a peanut allergy.

My oldest threw up anytime I tried a milk-based formula with her (at a sitters for example), and actually soy did the same thing. Now in retrospect I realize that the fact that she got really crabby whenever I ate pizza or anything cheesy, must have been due to the milk protein passing through the breast milk. She outgrew it by age 4.

My middle child was the worst. He had bloody stool in his diaper from about two weeks old. Cutting out all milk, soy, wheat, nuts and fish from my diet did not help. Two colonoscopies later he was put on Neocate formula by the pediatric gastroenterologist. That is a very special (and very expensive) formula that contains only basic proteins, unlike the hypoallergenic "grocery store" formulas. By age 1, he had outgrown it and could drink milk.

The baby got fussy after I ate pizza my first night home from the hospital and, in light of my past experiences, that was it for me and milk! At 1 she got diarrhea and spit up when I gave her some cheese, so I stuck to soy milk. Now at 21 months she tolerates cheese.

The peanut allergy manifested itself when my oldest touched some peanut butter at 9 months-old and, after I had washed her hand, she rubbed her eye. It swelled shut and the skin around it broke out in hives. I am so glad she never ate any! The allergist confirmed a positive peanut (and milk and egg) allergy. We also have an epipen.

I keep the other two away from nuts also, and am planning a return trip to the allergist soon. My understanding is that most milk allergies are outgrown by age 1, or 3 at the latest (my oldest was 4 before she outgrew hers). I read somewhere that peanut allergies are only outgrown 20% of the time.

Hope this wasn't too much detail and that it helps!

If you ever need any moral support, I am at unplugyourkids "at" gmail "dot" com.

Amanda Pope said...

My oldest daughter, Emma, had an egg allergy. I learned how to substitute for eggs in my cooking and was able to make most recipes sucessfully with the substitution. She outgrew this allergy by the time she was 2 1/2.

My youngest daughter, Olivia, had a milk allergy (although not as bad as you described). We discovered it at about 1 year old and I switched her to soy milk. She was able to eat small amounts of cheese and things cooked w/ milk. As far as I can tell, she has outgrown this allergy, although she still prefers soy milk and doesn't drink cow's milk in very large quantities.

Olivia also has some other minimal allergies that I'm trying to nail down. Red dye and vinegar seem to be two culprits.

Best of luck in the milk-free living...he's lucky to have a mommy that is trying so hard!