Sunday, September 20, 2009

How Do You Know If Your Child Has Food Allergies?

There are various types of food allergy reactions.

When my daughter was born, I was breastfeeding and the nurses wanted to give her similac formula in the hospital. They didn't feel like she was getting enough from the nursing at the time. I reluctantly gave her some formula and she started to throw up within minutes of taking the formula. 

I called the nurse and she said it was probably due to her getting some amniotic fluid in her lungs. But, I never gave her formula again. I only gave her breastmilk from that day on. 

As she grew older it was time to introduce baby food into her diet. But, I would notice a rash around her mouth with certain foods that had milk in them. I was a new mom and really didn't have alot of knowledge of food allergies at the time. So I mentioned it to her pediatrician. She said some kids might be a little sensitive to milk. She didn't seem very concerned, so I continued to experiment with various foods. 

When she was 10 months old she grabbed some scrambled eggs off of my plate and started eating it. After just one bite she began to projectile vomit, wheeze, flail her arms, and started turning cyanotic or blue. Her father was holding her and said he didn't think anything was wrong. 

I knew something was seriously wrong and called 911. They came within minutes and put her in the ambulance, started giving her oxygen and hooked her up to an IV with epinephrine in it. This all took place immediately once they got her into the ambulance.  

I remember sitting in the ambulance seeing her struggling to breathe. I cannot tell you how scarey that was to see your child suffering like that. All I could think of was, please don't die, please don't die. And I just prayed that God would save her life. 

Once they stabilized her in the ambulance, we went to the Denver Children's Hospital Emergency Room where they monitored her for about 3 hours. After the 3 hours of close observation she was finally stable enough to go home. 

I called my pediatrician the next morning and she said we needed to see an allergy specialist to see if she had any food allergies. Why couldn't she have thought of that before when I mentioned the rashes my daugther would get around her mouth? That was very frustrating for me as a new mother. 

We went to an allergy and asthma specialist and he did bloodwork and skin tests to determine what foods she was allergic to. And sure enough she was extremely allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, sesame and mold. Two years after the initial tests she also developed an allergy to mustard. Which I am told is a very common allergy. 

I have since learned that gastrointestinal issues can be a sign of a food allergy as well. 

If you suspect that your child may have a food allergy, you should have them seen by a specialist. Only then can all of the proper tests be done to determine whether or not food alleries are an issue. 

Don't wait for your pediatrician to tell you that you should. It can't hurt them to be tested. But it could hurt them if they are not tested and they end up having an anaphylactic reaction. 

Debra Denhart  


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