I haven’t updated in ages about Blake’s GERD and other allergies. We were finally able to stop the GERD meds about 2 months ago. Yay! Just in time, as his prescription cost has gone up significantly from $8 to $60-something. Of course I’d pay it if I had to, but I’m glad we don’t.
Since an infant he’s had an allergy to milk protein and was on Nutramigen. We reintroduced milk slowly at about 6/7 months and had some slow reactions with his eczema. We’ve battled eczema since he was an infant. Nothing too serious, more of a nuisance, really. I wasn’t sure if the eczema flares were related to anything, or if they were, what food was triggering it exactly. He began to get hives every once in a while, and started developing cold-like symptoms. Heavy coughing, snotty nose, and the like. At this point I suspected a dairy allergy but I wasn’t entirely sure. His doctor and I had a difficult time deciding if this was food related, or if it was his reflux acting up, in which case we’d have to increase his dosage. Fast forward 3 months or so, the decision was made to stop dairy and see if symptoms lessened. I’ve learned that GERD and a food allergy can often mimic the same symptoms. It took us 3 months to finally get this all figured out. Tricky stuff, GERD and allergies, when your child has both.
A few weeks ago I informed his daycare that he shouldn’t have any dairy, because the eczema and hives were getting worse. Poor Blake had to give up his beloved Baybel Cheese, and vanilla yogurt! Asking daycare not to give particular foods requires a lot of paperwork! They said they would stop the dairy, and asked that I bring milk in for him. At first I brought in Almond Milk, then was asked not to do so because it’s a “nut free” school. Ugh. I get it, I get it. There are some dangerous nut allergies out there and the slightest exposure can send some kids off. I shouldn’t complain. So I won’t. I switched to Coconut Milk and he never seemed to notice the difference, which was good. Two weeks ago when I picked him up from daycare I noticed his daily report said he’d had mac ‘n cheese for lunch. I lightly mentioned to his teacher that he shouldn’t have dairy. I didn’t make that big a deal about it, thinking he wouldn’t suffer from symptoms. Not that eczema and hives aren’t uncomfortable, but it isn’t life threatening like symptoms from some others who have severe food allergies. Let’s get “severe” then…Later, he developed a big splotchy red rash on his face, and his eye swelled closed. He wasn’t acting as if he was bothered by much, but kept rubbing at his swollen eye–probably trying to open it! I gave him Benedryl and after an hour or so the symptoms started to fade. Not that I’m 100% certain,but the only thing I could think of that triggered it was the mac ‘n cheese. He hadn’t had anything else. I probably should’ve called the doctor’s office right then, but I often fear that I’m over reacting to things. I did call, but it was way after the fact. The triage nurse told me that food allergies can often worsen over time and symptoms can get worse with every exposure. She said the next time could mean anaphylactic shock. SCARY!
I took a pic of his face after much of the rash and swelling had gone down.
I spoke with his doctor on the phone later that day, who is really great about explaining everything in such great detail! Awesome for someone like me who feels lost. He assured me the likely hood of anaphylactic shock was slim, but prescribed us an Epi pen any way, just in case. He wanted to prescribe us 3 packs of 2. One to keep at home, one at daycare, and one for the diaper bag to travel around with us. Unfortunately, our insurance company would only pay for 1 pack, and with a coupon AND insurance, it was still slightly over $300. (I could buy the other packs if I wanted without my insurance, for $500 EACH. No, thank you.) So rather than having 6 pens, we have 2. And I cart them back and forth from daycare to home each day. It’s not like it’s a chore to do so, but, like, today, I walked out forgetting to pick them up from the front office. Of course I’m not going to intentionally give him any dairy but…..enter next story.
On Sunday Blake and I went to a Christmas party. I brought food for him to eat. Since I didn’t prepare the food or know what was going to be in it, I didn’t want to risk the chance of giving him something with dairy. There was an assortment of bread and crackers on the table and he LOVES bread. I figured giving him a croissant wouldn’t hurt. So I did. He had about 2 bites before I realized it was glazed with butter. (Dairy.) I took it away. I wasn’t really worried about it. Didn’t think any thing would go “wrong”., but after I realized I didn’t want to continue giving it to him. About 10 minutes later he started throwing up. Right away I figured it was the butter. The only other thing he had to eat was the food I’d brought from home. His doctor told me it’s good to use the Epi pen when 2 symptoms are exhibited. After he threw up I gave him a once over to check for hives since he’s had a history of those. There were 2 on his legs, but none others. I don’t know if it was good or bad that I didn’t give him the Epi. I figured 2 hives wasn’t that many? And after he threw up he wasn’t acting off at all.
This is the part where I struggle. It’s always better to be safe, but I think what an over reacting fool I would look like if I had given him the Epi and went to the ER (which is what I was instructed to do if I ever use it) and when they asked me his symptoms I’d say, “He threw-up once and had 2 hives.” People always say to go with your mommy gut and my mommy gut told me it wasn’t a big deal. I just don’t want to be wrong!
He was back to his normal looking self hours later. He cuddled up next to me and brought a book over on the bean bag with me. We read “Sophie the Giraffe”, his favorite book. I love snuggly book time!
I really hope he grows out of this!
Not the book snuggles. The dairy allergy, of course.