Tag Archives: Hives

Tbt – Anaphylaxis: Back to the Basics

Today’s “Tbt” brings us back to that initial allergic reaction to yogurt. Looking back at that Saturday evening and the months that followed, the term anaphylaxis overwhelmed me to the point of being in denial about it.  When I spoke about TJ eating that first taste of yogurt, I would say that it was a severe allergic reaction.   However, because he did not stop breathing, the words anaphylactic reaction never left my mouth.  It wasn’t until TJ turned 1 that I started to admit to others, to myself, that his reaction was indeed an anaphylactic reaction.   However, because we did everything that we were suppose to do with calling 911 and going in an ambulance to the hospital, TJ received medical attention before anything even more serious occurred.

learn to Create stunning flat designs.jpg

THE BASICS: An anaphylactic reaction usually involves more than one part of the body.   This may include the heart, gut, brain, mouth, eyes, skin, and lungs. Looking back at that evening, it is important to mention that TJ did have several early signs of anaphylaxis within seconds of having that infamous spoonful of yogurt. His symptoms included:

  1. fussiness within seconds/reaching and scratching at his face and mouth
  2. red rash and hives all over his body
  3. swelling of his lips and tongue
  4. TJ cried a lot and then was zoning out.   I must admit that in those minutes that felt like hours, I was most scared.   Getting into the ambulance, he started to cry because he did not see me.   This was a great sign because it meant he was breathing.

 

Here is an excellent resource about anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis-Severe-Allergic-Reactions

Source: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/


I am recapping this event because I want people to understand that a serious allergic reaction does not always mean the individual has stopped breathing.   Instead, there are several other symptoms that do categorize it as anaphylaxis.

Because we know that God is forever by our sides, like that snowy December evening, we smile on helping to educate others too…

Tbt – The Early Signs of Food Allergies

Months ago I first posted some of this as my first “Throw Back Thursday.” However, it was before I had many followers and I wanted to add more to this topic

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To start, in our case, predicting food allergies during the first few weeks or even months was really impossible.  First of all, because I myself never had a food allergy, I never considered the thought that I may have a high-risk baby.   I now know that a baby is considered high-risk for food allergies if at least one parent or sibling has allergies.   TJ has no siblings yet; however, a dad who is allergic to fillet fish and walnuts. While I did know about these allergies before TJ’s anaphylactic reaction to yogurt, I did not know that my husband was also allergic to eggs as a baby and child, and suffered with horrible eczema until the age of 8.   In fact, his eczema was so bad as a baby that he had to be held 24/7 to prevent him from scratching and getting staph infections.  Maybe that is why he also did not sleep through the night until he was 3.  Not to mention, he was allergic to regular diapers and needed to use cloth ones. So yes, my son and any other children I may have one day are all considered high-risk.


 

Check out this article: Prevention of Allergies & Asthma in Children


Secondly, I do believe that TJ was born with these allergies and that is was nothing that I did or did not eat while pregnant or breastfeeding that caused it.   While TJ was born with eczema, I was told by doctors that it was common in babies and that he would probably outgrow by the age of 1.  I have read studies that show that symptoms, incidents, and the severity of eczema are all often reduced in babies who are exclusively breastfed during the first months of life.    I breastfed TJ exclusively for 13.5 months; however, his eczema and skin reactions were not an issue until October 2014 when he was five months old.  Coincidentally, that was also the month when I introduced solids.   Knowing what I know now, I would have and would wait until six months of age to introduce solids for any of my children.  His body just wasn’t ready. It was and is just too pure for the foods we eat these days.


With that being said, I do believe that he had some signs of food allergies early on, but the tricky part was that they are symptoms common among most babies.

  1. SPIT UP: While TJ never projectile vomited (minus the one time he had the stomach bug), he did spit up A LOT!  In fact, we both needed to have wardrobe changes throughout many days.  However, because he always gained weight nicely, this spit up was never an issue to doctors. So we did not worry.  Heck, there were so many other aspects with a young baby to worry about.
  2. ECZEMA: Looking back, TJ’s eczema did tend to flare up after nursing.  It was never a horrible flare up that seemed to cause him discomfort.  However, certain areas would become slightly red and irritated.  It wasn’t until he was five months that this eczema started to cause him discomfort, sometimes even resulting in hives and red rashes.
  3. LOOSE STOOL:  At a breastfeeding group meeting, I remember a mom discussing her daughter’s stool and everyone having a conversation about poop.  I had never spoken about poop so much in my life as I did during those first few months.   Anyways, I did not even think twice about it when TJ continued to have loose poop.   Many of the other babies started to have different kinds of stool when they started solids.  Instead, introducing food to TJ’s diet did not bring any change for him.  Instead, he always had loose stool that also called for many wardrobe changes.  However, there was no blood in it so once again no one thought that food allergies were to blame.

Looking back, I do believe that these three symptoms were signs of food allergies.  Although they were not to the extreme level or to any level that caused anyone including doctors to worry, they were present in a modified version due to breastfeeding. Or at least, this is my theory about them. (Remember I am no doctor and these are just my personal views and experiences.   Refer to my disclaimer on my “About Us” page.)


Additional Resources Regarding Early Signs of Food Allergies

1) Possible Signs of a Food Allergy

Source: http://kellymom.com/


2)Food Allergy Reactions

Source: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx


3) Babies With Food Allergies

Source: http://www.parents.com/


4) Food Allergies – Food Allergies While Breastfeeding

Source: http://www.askdrsears.com/


5) Infant Allergies & Food Sensitivities

Source: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx


From now on, I would (and would recommend others wearing similar shoes) request for allergy testing to be done before introducing high-risk foods or any solids to a high-risk baby’s diet. While I brought TJ to an allergist before introducing any food because of his eczema, there would be more of a conversation and plan the next time around. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about this wild world of food allergies…

tj cartoon

 

 

Does My Dog Have Allergies Too?

At my son’s 18 month appointment with his pediatrician, we were relieved to learn that he was gaining, growing, and developing wonderfully despite his food allergies, diet limitations and the fact that he is still barely eating when he is at day care.   During this visit, he had two shots and barely cried.  (He is braver than me who passes out with shots or blood work sometimes. Ha!)

Then, the weekend came and so did some crazy symptoms yet again.   Waking up on Friday evening screaming, shaking, and sweating with a fever of 104, we were told this was probably a reaction to one of the shots and would pass soon.   Otherwise, he looked great. There were no signs of sickness or infection. Then, this lead to another weekend of barely eating and another eczema flare-up. This is stressful and frustrating because I wish I could do more to take this all away.

To add to this, my husband came in from doing yard work with a skin irritation.   Hives or a rash of some kind are common after an hour or two outside mowing or raking.   Usually, a shower helps these to fade.

I have three guys in my life though; the third being my 3.5 year old yellow Labrador, Bailey.

bailsEvery Autumn and Spring he begins to chew away at his paws often making them raw.  Due to the timing of this, veterinarians have told us that he suffers from seasonal atopy because of pollen and ragweed allergies.  He experiences this mostly in the Fall though.

Check out more about dogs and allergies:

Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

Source: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/dog-supplies/pr/c/3307


While in our case our furry guy has seasonal allergies, it is also important to mention that dogs can also have food allergies or an intolerance.

Here are some related links about this topic:

Food Allergies & Food Intolerance

Source: http://www.peteducation.com/


Most Common Food Allergies in Dogs

Source: https://www.cesarsway.com/


How can you help your dog when he or she is experiencing allergies:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/19/pet.allergies.mnn/

Source: www.cnn.com


Vet Advice: Relief for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin

Source: http://thebark.com/


Allergies & Dogs

Source: http://www.webmd.com/

Hoping my three special guys have some relief soon, we smile on and wish everyone a great week.


Tbt – A “Bumpy” Car Ride

Today, we go back to the morning of January 9.  It was about three weeks since my son’s anaphylactic reaction and learning of his multiple food allergies. I had just stopped crying and was starting to think that I could and would totally make the best of all of this.  Just when I started to gain control of my emotions and life….Just when I started to feel like I was indeed a great mom for my son….

We ended up back in an ambulance to the emergency room.

AMBLUANCE

As we were driving to work and daycare, I heard my son gagging in the back.  So, I pulled over and saw that he had a red rash all over his chest and neck. In addition to this, his throat was slightly swollen. I panicked, called my husband to come, yelled to two random guys in the parking lot to help me.  I had no idea what was going on.   He had only nursed that morning and I had cut everything that he was allergic to out of my diet. I did not understand what was going on. I was terrified that I would need to administer the EpiPen.

Within minutes, a cop was next to me and calling for an ambulance.   My husband also soon arrived.  As I held my son, I knew that this was a different kind of reaction from his anaphylactic one to yogurt.  He even smiled  at my husband and the cop at one point.  Of course, like the night of December 13, it was snowing so it took a little longer than normal for the ambulance to arrive.

SNOFLAKES

While we took the ambulance to the hospital, he did not need anything but Benadryl. Within two hours, we were on our way home and scheduling to meet with our allergist.

After the allergist, we learned some new information about my son and living with food allergies.

  1. My son was diagnosed with dermatographic urticaria. Click here for more information about this skin condition.  This mixed with his multiple food allergies was making everything more complicated. He has very sensitive skin and gets random hives and reactions to environmental factors in addition to having many food allergies. Therefore, he needed to start taking a low dose of Zyrtec at night. With this Zyrtec, we would hopefully be able to control “random” environmental hives and reactions.
  2. More food allergy testing was done but testing is tricky at this age because they are so young and it’s not so accurate. This is when he ordered for many fruits, vegetables, and meats to be tested.  They also tested for autoimmune diseases.
  3. I also learned that in addition to his EpiPens/Auvi-Qs, I should always be carrying Benadryl with me too.

AUVI-Q

After blood work results…

Based on his IgE levels, my son would now need to avoid soy and sesame in addition to the others (dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, oats, barley, wheat, coconut). However, we also gained some positive news.   All of the other tested fruits, vegetables, and meats were safe for us to continue to introduce.   This also included rice and corn which have been beyond helpful to his diet.  We were also informed that autoimmune diseases were not something that my son was dealing with based on these levels.

Today as I look back at some of the scariest times of my life, I realize how far we have already come and how much we all have grown in the process.  Despite it all, we know that we have so much to be thankful for so we smile on…

tj cartoon

My Random Musings

Five Fast Facts About Hives

Since my two loves (husband and son) both experience “random” hives due to dermatographic urticaria and/or other environmental factors, I found this article informational so wanted to share and smile on…  

Five Fast Facts About Hives

(Source: http://allergicliving.com/)

Tbt- Introducing Food 

Like many parents, I was super excited to introduce solids into TJ’s diet. At 4 months of age, we inquired to our pediatrician at the time when we should and could start. She recommended that since he was gaining nicely on breast milk, there was no reason to introduce before six months. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed mainly because I was excited for this next stage.

However, it was also around four months that TJ went through sleep regression, waking during the night and fighting naps. As sleep deprived parents do, we searched for answers and solutions to get our little guy to sleep again. In the search, we often came up with different theories that varied day to day, week to week, parent to parent. Once again I felt like we were playing detective…

DETECTIVE

Could it be teething?

Could it be a cold, virus, or infection of some sort?

Could it be a developmental leap? (A wonder week?- Yes, I believe in them.)

Could he have a stomach ache?

Could he be too cold or too warm?

Could it be the transition to the crib from his rock n’ play? (If I am blessed enough to have another little guy or gal, I would not wait until 4 months like we did with TJ to transition to the crib.)

Or…

Could it be that he was hungry and needed more food/breast milk?

Hmmmm… I decided to call our pediatrician with this theory to see her thoughts.  I mean he was now showing interest in the “allergy-filled” food that I was eating.   (The thought of how many times I ate a peanut butter sandwich or a slice of pizza while holding or even nursing him still makes me cringe. We were definitely being looked over during those many, many moments.)


THE PLAN (MY PLAN) FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS

(*This was the plan that I set up for TJ BEFORE knowing about his food allergies and what I learned from each step.)

STEP 1) After consulting with our son’s pediatrician, we all decided that it would be in TJ’s best interest to start solids at 5 months. Therefore, being the planner I am, I created a chart of what we would be introducing each day for the next couple of months using information and charts from one of my favorite baby websites,  Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic’s  – 4-6 Month Old Baby Page.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: TJ’s “random” hives and red rashes on his face and body started to happen at 5 months of age. This is also around the time when he had his first flu shot and a couple other vaccinations. We would soon learned that he was allergic to oats. Yet, I gave TJ oats several times for two months with no hives or reactions occurring after that.   Most of his skin reactions were in the mornings after I ate some dairy and breastfed.
  • TIP: For an infant, like TJ, at high-risk for allergies, I would now wait until he or she was at least 6 months to introduce solids.  I believe that there were too many new exposures for his “already-hyped-up” immune system during this month with his shots and introducing new foods.            (Of course, I would consult with our doctor before doing anything and recommend that others do the same.)

STEP 2) Before even giving TJ one taste of food, I decided that he would try each new food for 3 days before moving on to the next one.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: Waiting 3-5 days was recommended and most suggested waiting 4-5 days for each new food before introducing another. But at that time, I had no worries about food allergies being an issue. Ha! I laugh at how naive I was to all of it.   However, while it has taken me almost a year, I have also forgiven myself for that same naivety, which has allowed for a much clearer outlook. But, forgiveness is a whole other topic for a whole other post SMILES
  • TIP: Wait the 5 days per each new food.   What is the rush anyways? These cuties are only babies once and time flies by way too quickly to rush through any of it.

STEP 3) Since I had read and heard a lot about infant rice cereal constipating babies, I decided we would skip rice cereal all together and start with infant oatmeal cereal.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: I was more comfortable introducing wheat and oats than rice.  TJ is allergic to wheat and oats; however, not allergic to rice.  Everyday from 11 to 16 months, he would go on to eat that same rice cereal I skipped over in those early months. (Never having any issues in the constipation area.) How ironic!
  • TIP: I would start with rice cereal or whatever my doctor/allergist recommended.  I would also inquire more about allergy testing for any future children I may have before introducing any food at all.

STEP 4) After making all or most of the first solids that TJ tried, I could not wait to start giving fun-flavored pouches.

  • LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: One of these first fun-flavored pouches would end up being the one that contained yogurt, thus causing TJ’s anaphylactic reaction. TJ was and is highly allergic dairy which explained a lot of his other “not-so-random” skin reactions.
  • TIP: I would not recommend giving dairy products like yogurt before the age that doctors recommend.  Technically, I gave this pouch with yogurt a couple weeks before the recommended age. In addition, I would follow the recommended ages for all foods using extra caution with the top allergens.
  • Kidshealth.org – Common Food Allergens
  • Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic – Food Allergy Information
  • I felt a lot of guilt about  giving TJ his first taste of yogurt two weeks before it was recommended.  I had even questioned myself that evening about whether or not to give that pouch. (At that time, I questioned myself not because of the direct fear of food allergies, but instead because of it being 5 pm, a little over an hour before his bedtime. Reflecting back, I guess I was indirectly worrying about a reaction.) Mother’s intuition yet again was trying to save the day. 
  • In the beginning, I even blamed myself for his allergies, which doctor after doctor would explain to me was not the case. (I asked many of them and some of them many times.) However, I now believe that TJ’s anaphylactic reaction happened that Saturday evening in December for a reason.  While I don’t know the exact reason for any of this yet, I truly believe that it ultimately saved him from an experience even scarier.  In addition, I know that it taught us how to best keep him safe. Therefore, I am forever grateful for his safety and protection that evening and throughout those early months before knowing about his confirmed allergies. Despite my plan, I was once again reminded that there is an ultimate plan that God has designed much greater than any of us can sketch out. With that being said, we will continue to do whatever we need to do every single day of our lives to ensure that TJ is not only safe and healthy, but also truly happy. Therefore, as we walk in faith, we have no other choice than to enjoy each moment and smile on… 

EXCELLENT RESOURCES FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS

Here is my favorite site for baby food, recipes, etc. At 16.5 months, we still use it for recipes.

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/solid-foods.htm

Since we made all of TJ’s food for many months, we have become close with our baby food maker.   Here is the one we have and love. We still use it to steam his vegetables.

Babycook Pro – BEABA


Today’s “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley” related to my message above so I thought I’d share…

“God Acts On Our Behalf 
Philippians 4:6-7
We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we’ve begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God “acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isa. 64:4 niv). Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.
In this devotion, we’ll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait. First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.
Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: “Trust Me.” And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, “I don’t trust You.”
Finally, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can’t see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.
Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way.”
 How Do You Like Them Apples_(1)