I will warn you guys now that this may be a long one. I am so overwhelmed with all of this allergy stuff already!
Rylie had her first appointment with the allergist yesterday. First he came in and asked a bunch of questions. Rylie has had symptoms of allergies her whole life (respiratory symptoms, dark circles under her eyes, eczema) so he was surprised that she didn’t have asthma. He said that she paints a picture of a kid that will develop it, so we should watch for it. Great. I was told that about Bryce too, because of the bad case of eczema he had as a baby. So far neither of them show symptoms of asthma, so I hope these doctors are wrong.
We talked about the cashew allergy first. He basically scared the crap out of me, and now I am afraid to give her anything that might even have a 0.0000000001% chance of coming into contact with any kind of nut. Ugh. He said that we should avoid ALL nuts, even peanuts. I told him that she eats peanut butter several times a week, and he said that if we give it to her, that we need to watch her because it could be cross-contaminated with cashews. Really?!?!?!
Let me talk about this cross-contamination nonsense for a minute. Now that I have to pay attention and read food labels, I honestly cannot believe how many items have nut allergy warnings on them. It seems as though these companies just slap these warnings on their foods willy nilly as a CYA move. It’s ridiculous. Are there no regulations regarding this? These poor kids with allergies can’t have ANYTHING, if you really take heed to all of these warnings. Of course being the paranoid person I am, I am minding all of the warnings so far, but I’m wondering how far to take this? I mean, Rylie has eaten some of these foods for the past two years with no problem. Should I cut them out now because the manufacturer lists every single allergen that could have “possibly” come into contact with their product? I don't even know what to do about her birthday cake for next weekend. We ALWAYS get cakes from Publix, and she has had several cakes and cupcakes from there, but everything from their bakery has nut warnings on it. I'm telling you, this is driving me insane! I received an email yesterday from one of my “bloggy buddies” about her severe peanut allergy and how she manages it, and she advised that if nuts are not an actual ingredient, then the food is 99.999999% safe. But I honestly couldn’t live with myself if I gave her something that she ended up reacting to.
OK, so back to the doctor visit…
Rylie has to go get blood drawn to test for the nut allergies. We know she is allergic to cashews, but he wants her tested for 10 or so other kinds of nuts. He said if the blood draw comes back negative then he will do a skin test. I don’t understand why we aren’t just doing the skin test to begin with, since apparently that is more reliable, but I’m sure there is a reason. I will probably have Brian take her to get the blood drawn. I will cry, I just know it. He will be able to be brave for her. It is going to suck either way.
After we talked about the nut allergy, we talked about environmental allergies. He seemed shocked that I didn’t have her on antihistamines. Um, I don’t feel like putting my kid on meds because she gets a runny nose now and then. No thank you. And honestly, even if she tests positive for environmental allergies, I most likely won’t agree to daily meds either. I did agree to do the testing for the environmental allergies, though. She had the first two groups last night and tested negative to all of them. I have no idea what was included. He said he will give me a comprehensive report when everything is done.
She actually did better than I thought she would during the test. For those who have never had allergy tests done, they have this little contraption that the nurse was calling a “spider”. I believe it had 10 “legs” that were each dipped into an allergen, and then she pressed it on Rylie’s back and I think it goes just under the skin. It doesn’t really hurt that much, so that didn’t seem to bother her. She had two of those done. Waiting for the reaction is the hard part. The poor kid was itching so bad, and was crying about it. I pulled up YouTube on my phone to try to take her mind off of it and that helped some. That was a LONG 20 minutes! She did really well, though, and didn’t try to scratch it. I really was proud of her. Oh yeah…and they wrote all over her back with a purple marker to mark the testing spots, and I could not get it off last night. She thinks it is so cool!
We go back for the other two groups of environmental allergy testing next week. She knows we have to go back, and isn’t happy about it, but hopefully she will do OK with it. And then there is the blood draw at some point next week too. That is what I am really dreading. No kid should have to go through any of this.
I have to mention that Rylie is doing very well with asking if foods have nuts in them. It’s even annoying at times, but I always just answer her and tell her thank you for asking. I hope she continues to always ask if someone tries to give her food.
I want to hear from moms of kids with allergies! I really do! Please comment on this post, email me, send me a tweet, whatever, and tell me your experiences. I would like to know how you manage this. Do you pay attention to all of the seemingly frivolous allergy warnings slapped on everything, or do you look at ingredients and go by that? For those that have kids in daycare or school, what do you do about parties where parents may be bringing something in? Our daycare requires only store bought foods, but what if someone brings something that contains nuts? Do I find some “special treats” for them to have on hand for Rylie in case she can’t eat something? I’m sure I’m going to have a ton of questions as I become more familiar with this, so I would love to chat with those of you going through the same thing. Thank you for all of your help!
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