My older son has food allergies. Learning that he had them, and learning how to deal with them, has been an ongoing process. I’ve been hoping that by some miracle my baby wouldn’t also have them.
Having one child with food allergies that we didn’t diagnose until he was about eight months old really messes things up for the baby behind him. I’m constantly on the lookout for excessive fussiness while nursing that could indicate an aversion, any signs of discomfort after eating, weird poops, red butt rashes, eczema flare ups and the obvious hives that could indicate a food allergy.
I take pictures when the baby has something suspicious happening. One day my big little man high-fived the baby in the face. I’m not sure what was on his hands – possibly baked egg, baked milk, soy from his Earth Balance – but the baby ended up with a nasty red reaction around his eye. I went to the pediatrician for them to tell me what I already knew, that it was an allergic reaction to something. That it could have been egg was enough that they wouldn’t administer the flu shot when he would need it and told me to call the allergist.
We already have an excellent allergist with whom I have a relationship from the ongoing appointments for my big man. I was glad for this relationship when I jumped the gun and brought in my baby at about two months, concerned that he may have a dairy allergy. She told me that unless I wanted blood work already, just to watch and wait.
Today was our “special flu shot” appointment. Basically, before they will administer a flu shot they have to see if there’s an egg allergy or a potential reaction that could happen from the vaccine itself. I don’t think the allergist was unhappy to see me, but a bit surprised I was back already.
The photos of the rashes along with dates (thanks, iPhone!) and the notes of potential allergens, as well as the foods most commonly consumed in our house limited the skin tests to about 18 potential allergens. I only suspected two, maybe three: egg white, milk, and possibly walnut.
Food allergies are real
Before my older son tested positive for food allergies, I thought they were kind of bullshit. I blamed the alleged rise in allergies on overprotective parents who believed the sort of nonsense that has led to so many people thinking that gluten is the devil. I only knew one person who had a peanut allergy as a teenager, so the idea that my kids would have allergies wasn’t plausible.
So today we found ourselves here again with a pattern of dots and letters on my six-month old, waiting to see which serums cause a skin reaction.