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Please can somebody talk me down?! Really long, sorry.

(35 Posts)
DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 10:20:16

Hi all

Have thought long and hard about whether to post here, and whether I will just make myself worse, but (as the name implies!) I am driving myself a little bit crazy with worry about DS and could do with a little bit of perspective from those in the know about these things.

DS is now 19 weeks, and a couple of times over the last few months has had a nettle-type rash appear, the first time across the back of his neck, then down one of his cheeks. The rash was red with white patches and flat, not raised. It disappeared completely within half an hour and he did not seem to be in any discomfort, no scratching or crying, etc. Both times it was a hot day, and I put it down to heat rash. Now that I think about it both times either DD or I had been baking and had contact with raw eggs.

At the weekend I was breaking eggs and happened to brush the back of his hand, leaving a little egg white on it (didn't realise this at the time). No reaction, until his fists went up to his face and the same rash appeared to one side of his mouth. He was rubbing his left eye with the eggy hand and it became red and sore looking - no swelling - and a patch of the rash also appeared between his eyes. He sounded a bit snotty too, but did not have a runny nose. There was no reaction at all on his hand where the egg white had touched him.

I wiped the egg away from his hand and also wiped his face. Again, the rash had gone completely within half an hour. He had a cry and went to sleep, but he was overdue a nap so I don't know if the tears were from discomfort or tiredness. (This is typical behaviour when he is resisting sleep!)

To cut a long one short, I took him to the GP on Monday, who was not overly concerned and thought it could be hayfever rather than an allergy as there was no reaction at the site where the egg had actually touched. Seems to me a little odd to develop random ten-minute bouts of hayfever that disappear as quickly as they show themselves, especially when you are indoors with the doors closed hmm. I now have to see the nurse to assess whether or not she can do a blood test at the surgery or whether he will have to be referred to the hospital allergy specialist. This initial assessment is not until next Tuesday and if she then decides that she cannot perform the blood test it will be up to another 8 - 12 weeks before the hospital can see him, so I have to start weaning him without knowing if he will react to any of the foods I give him.

Anyway, I am aware that this is the longest post in history, but I am trying to get everything down that might be relevant. Congratulations and thankyou if you are stll with me! I am now beside myself with worry that this might just be the tip of the iceberg and scaring myself to death that he will end up with peanut allergy, and all the associated problems that brings. I can't eat all day, I have a constant butterflies in my stomach nervous feeling and cannot think about anything else. I know I have to keep my strength up as I am breastfeeding but I just can't summon up any appetite. I have lost 4 pounds this week and feel shattered sad.

The straw that I am clutching at is that DD eats loads of egg - fried, omelettes, egg pasta, etc and is all over him. He has never had a reaction to any of these things being smeared all over his face! This morning she had lemon curd on toast before school and was kissing him before I even realised that it contains egg but again there was no skin reaction.

I know that putting this post into context, and having read some of the threads on this board, there are far worse scenarios that I could be dealing with. (I have had to stop reading them as I think I am just seeing the worst possible outcome and losing a sense of perspective), but I feel as though I am almost in mourning for the life my son could have led without having to constanly worry for his safety before I even know what the problem is. Trouble is, I just can't see any other reason for him to have this reaction, and I just have this horrible black cloud of fear hanging over my head.

Does anyone else have similar experience of such a reaction? How on earth did you cope with the anxiety while you waited to learn the full extent of your childs allergies, and how do you cope with the day to day worry of what the consquences of your DC's allergies could be? I could really do with some sensible heads to bring me down from the ceiling please!

Thanks so much if you got this far smile. It has helped just getting it all off my chest.

babybarrister Thu 14-Jul-11 11:05:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

baldbyfifty Thu 14-Jul-11 11:31:43

Bless you, deep breath........ and stop worrying.
As he is 19 weeks you don't need to be worrying about the weaning thing too much and if they haven't got to the bottom of the allergy thing by the time he is ready for solids just give him pureed/mashed up fruit and veg.
There are excellent baby jars these days with a whole list of ingredients i'd give him the very basic and simple stuff til you know what your dealing with avoid all the trigger foods, eggs, strawberrys, nuts etc and tackle it once you know what your actually dealing with.
And please don't worry he sounds like he's got a damn good mummy looking out for him xxx

DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 12:29:04

Thanks guys. I feel ridiculous worrying like this, things could be so much worse. Thought I'd got all the preciousness out of the way with my first! All I can see is the limitations that might be placed on him in the future and I just can't get the thought of potential anaphalactic (sp?) shock out of my head. It's so frightening sad.

I know I'm lucky to have spotted this early rather than when he's got a mouth full of scrambled eggs! At least I have til six months to try to get to the bottom of it.

DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 16:45:56

Whoops, wanted to add a question but the site was down.

Should I be avoiding eggs too if I am breastfeeding? Should I also avoid other allergenic foods? Have been eating strawberries non-stop lately confused.

baldbyfifty Thu 14-Jul-11 19:05:46

To be honest love I haven't got a clue!! lol I wouldn't imagine so because it would be so diluted but best to check, thats one for the health visitor!! xx

Katisha Thu 14-Jul-11 19:14:58

DSs have been allergic to eggs their whole lives - it has not had a massive impact on our lives. One or two things to sort out, like jabs based on egg, birthday cake avoidance, clear instructions to childminders and others.
They are 11 and 9 now.

What I am saying is, there is no need to panic.

DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 20:11:20

Thanks Katisha smile

I know I sound slightly hysterical. DH is of the 'don't panic until you know what you're dealing with' school of thought, but I need to know the ins and outs of everything before I'm satisfied. Of course, the danger of this is that I always see the worst case scenario because I end up with too much information!

It's ironic really, I found it very difficult to bond with DD. She was a difficult sleeper and I was really overwhelmed with the sheer exhaustion and lack of personal space involved in having a baby. It took me a long time. With DS, I fell head over heels instantly. I've been so much more relaxed with him and just allowed myself to enjoy him. He's so completely perfect to me that I'm finding it really hard to take on board any potential threat to his health.

Do you mind me asking, is your DSs reaction to egg very severe? Do they always react with the same severity or can it vary? It seems such an unknown quantity.

gingergaskell Thu 14-Jul-11 20:22:18

My kids had various allergies.

If it is egg allergy I'd say the difference between your daughter eating eggs, and your baking, is that it's cooked when your son comes into contact with her, and raw when he's come into contact with it when baking.
Cooking breaks the food down so it has less effect.

If it is an allergy showing on the skin it's a skin allergy {as distinct from gut, they are different, although you can have them both at the same time} the way they test that is by skin pricks on the skin.
My experience is that they didn't do those until a year old {when they are likely to be more conclusive}, but see what they say when you see your own specialists.

In the mean time if you are confident it is a problem, just keep it away from him and be careful when you do come to wean. I found it pretty easy to avoid foods up to a year, and then introduce.

Regarding excluding during breast feeding, I had mixed results with this, and you will get different advice. Is he generally unsettled? Both of mine had reflux symptoms because of their allergies.
For something like egg, which you eat cooked and not in great amounts I don't think it will make much difference excluding it. Especially if he doesn't have gut allergies {but again you can have both, my son did}.
If he is unsettled you can trial excluding it to see if it helps though. Make sure you look for traces in foods etc in ingredients too.

trixymalixy Thu 14-Jul-11 20:26:37

Egg allergy is very very common in babies and most grow out of it.

DS is allergic to eggs, but can tolerate it cooked in egg pasta, but vomits if he has cake.

It really depends on the proportion of egg and how well cooked it is. The less cooked it is the more allergenic.

youarekidding Thu 14-Jul-11 20:35:20

Yes ginger said what I thought. It could be raw eggs opposed to cooked.

Not to worry you but DS has tomato ketchup allergy which doesn't react on his skin but does digested or on skin on face.

However he also gets rashes (atm on his neck!) which is related to heat/ hayfever who knows!. And I find aquarious calamine helps to cool the skin and itching if you want to try something.

Can you keep some antihistamines on you in case? Would the GP allow him to have them at this age? May be worth asking.

As the others have said above you can live with this. My DS allergies are mild but when he had a bad reaction and got an epi-pen I had to be peeled off the moon, never mind the ceiling. wink But this board has helped me loads so stick with us.

MN such as Babybarrister, Greenbananas, Trixy and Whelk have been a great help. (and others btw sorry if Ive not mentioned you). We laugh, cry, slap people with fish wink everything here but most importantly we don't judge - we listen and support.

Hope LO is OK soon.

DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 20:41:36

He's not unsettled at all, Ginger. He did suffer a little with colic until around 3 months, but since that subsided he has been fine. Never any hint of reflux. Do you think that points more toward a skin allergy than a gut allergy? Or is that too simplistic a way of looking at it? My concern with breastfeeding was more that I could cause him more food sensitivity by continuing to eat allergenic foods.

DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 20:43:01

Sorry, also meant to say thanks all for taking the time to reply. I feel I am coming down from the ceiling slowly!

DrivingMyselfCrazy Thu 14-Jul-11 20:50:29

Am really slow with typing tonight as DS is sleeping on my lap. Lots of cross posting, sorry.

Youarekidding, the doc prescribed Piriton in case he had any further reaction so it is going everywhere with me! Thanks for being so welcoming. I namechanged for this thread as I felt embarassed at my slight hysteria so it's nice to be embraced as a 'newbie'!

Katisha Thu 14-Jul-11 21:17:08

To be honest I have never really worked out the pattern. Sometimes they are OK sometimes they are not. ANything raw or lightly cooked is obv out (licking spoon when mixing a cake, omelettes, quiche...) But then DS2 has been OK with shop cakes lately, but not home made (eggier I suppose). And sometimes albumen can be way down the list of ingredients and make them feel sick and at other times an egg-based dough like brioche will be fine.

Actually I finally got them blood tests last week, awaiting results, as DS2's latest foray into cake had a worse reaction that usual, so I'll see what the results say and whether an epipen might be a sensible acquisition just in case...

DrivingMyselfCrazy Fri 15-Jul-11 08:22:53

Sorry to hear that Katisha. Fingers crossed for their results x

gingergaskell Fri 15-Jul-11 08:39:27

Personally I wouldn't worry about excluding from your own diet if he is not unsettled then OP, that shows it is not really bothering him.
I excluded dairy from my diet so I could keep feeding my son, but he was also allergic to histamine things on his skin {anything with acid}, and I didn't exclude them and it didn't seem to matter.

Also wanted to reassure you that, as others said, it's not as alarming as it seems, so hope you are able to feel more calm having read others exepriences, I know it's a bit over whelming to start.

My son's skin allergies were pretty severe. He would instantly come up in welts just from transfering. So say someone gave him a spoon from their coffee that had been licked 'clean' to play with {amazing how often that happened!} Because it had been in milk {in the coffee}, that was enough to cause a reaction.
He never needed an epi pen though, and grew out of all his allergies {he had multiple skin and gut} by 2 1/2 years old.

With my {younger} daughter, since I was aware of her allergies from the start and was experienced with what to do from my son this is how I weaned her:

I excluded the major allergens until one year old:
- wheat
- dairy
- soy
- egg
- nuts
- meat {since in our case their gut allergy was a protein one}
There are others, such as sea foods and histimine things {acidic so tomato, citrus fruits and so on}
For that first year, don't touch on any of them, just stick to the basic foods.
Then I introduced them individually slowly.

This might sounds alarming but there are substitutes and I promise it's not as hard as it sounds, the main thing is you cook a mostly scratch.
I don't want to over load you with too much info, but do come and post again when you are up to weaning, and get some step by step then. smile

DrivingMyselfCrazy Fri 15-Jul-11 10:24:06

Thanks Ginger, that' reassuring. TBH, with DD she was still mostly breastfed til a year anyway, and that was what I intended to do with DS too. Food was just complimentary to milk.

I had this confused germ of an idea in my head about whether its better for him to take in traces of allergenic foods from my milk so that they enter his system while he still has my transferred immunity IYSWIM? Or whether that would do more harm than good?

Have been a bit up and down today. DS has been having really disturbed nights and can be up every 45 mins for a feed on a really bad one. When I put him back in the cot, he is thrashing around all over the place in his sleep and I have to hold him until he enters a deep enough sleep to stop the movement and stay asleep! Somewhere in the wee small hours my brain made the connection that this restlessness could be down to what I had eaten for my dinner and I realised that on one of the really bad nights lately I had made a veggie lasagne with loads of cheese sauce. Queue me back up to the ceiling imagining a dairy allergy [is there an emoticon for 'ridiculous drama queen'?!] Then this morning DD shoved the cheese and pickle sandwich I had made for her lunch straight into DS's mouth and I nearly had a heart attack!

Popped in at the Surestart this morning to say hello (DD used to go to loads of groups there) and one staff member started up the whole CPR/epipen route as soon as I mentioned the egg experience. I had to make my excuses and leave before I burst into tears on the spot! This thread, however, is helping to keep me sane. Deep breaths...

Whelk Fri 15-Jul-11 11:05:18

Just to add our experience dd1 is allergic to egg. She can tolerate egg baked in cakes and things (following a challenge in hosptial) and it really is entirely manageable and has not affected her very much up to now.

I understand how overwhelming and disasterous it feels now. I felt exactly the same and wondered how we would ever cope.

But you just learn fast what foods might contain egg and learn to always have a stash of a favourite treats with you so that if other kids are having something your dc can't, you can whip them out.

Also it's advisable to always have Piriton with you- you can buy small medicine bottles and decant it into those. I always have one in my handbag, change bag, under the push chair, in the car.

You and your ds willl be OK.

Whelk Fri 15-Jul-11 11:12:15

I read your last post- tbh you would probably know if your ds has a milk allergy. My dd2 (milk allergic) comes up in hives as soon as milk touches her skin.
So if he's coped with a cheese sandwich being in contact with his face, he's probably ok.

However the best thing to do is to puch for a referral for skin prick testing.

Becaroooo Fri 15-Jul-11 11:16:46

He is your child...of course you are worried!

It is acutally the egg white that is the allergen with eggs but, luckily, its a common one to grow out of.

Good luck x

gingergaskell Fri 15-Jul-11 12:44:04

As far as building up immunity to allergens by feeding etc, you'll get mixed information about that.
For example, knowing that my older son had multiple allergies I asked our specialists / dieticians etc if I should exclude dairy at least {our main one} from my diet when pregnant with my daughter.
All said something different. That's because it is really hard to get conclusive results. As I said with both of mine the advice was not to even bother testing them until one year old, so many other things can make a difference before then.

Anyway, in the end I did continue with dairy while pregnant {I don't actually have much anyway, just cheese a few times a week really}. My daughter was allergic, but it's impossible to know if excluding it would have made a difference.

To your point about building up tolerance by exposure, more study is being done now, as the anecdotal evidence is things like say the wide spread exclusion of nuts these days for children, has actually resulted in MORE children having nut allergies. There is a weaning food in Israel apparently which actually is made of nuts, and the amount of nut allergies in children there is a lot lower.

HOWEVER once you do actually establish that an allergy / intolerance is evident, then my advice is to exclude it in babies. As their digestion system matures {which is why you usually wait until they are a year} then you can start introducing, when they are more likely to be able to tolerate small amounts etc.

With regards to the time he was unsettled over night. Next time/s you are feeding, check if he is having trouble as he feeds. How it presented in mine was that during the feed they would start to arch their backs, and swing their upper arms. It shows that acid is building up. If that is happening , then yes look into the possibility of that being a reaction.
Mine weren't just unsettled ocassionally though, they spent a lot of their day / nights screaming constantly. sad

DrivingMyselfCrazy Fri 15-Jul-11 18:36:48

sad Poor things.

The night-time limb thrashing seems to be more of an inability to control his twitchy arms and legs. You know the score - arms go up, slowly float down to the mattress, huge startle as hands make contact with mattress, arms and legs all over the place, repeat for the next twenty mins until baby is wide awake...DD did something similar until she started to be able to roll in her sleep and peace was restored! It's just that in the sleep-deprived wee small hours it's easy to read the worst into behaviour that I would regard as completely normal were I not so flippin' paranoid about further allergies!

Thanks again for all your responses. It's great to hear some voices of reason - feeling less tense and nervous most of the time smile

Katisha Sat 16-Jul-11 09:40:38

Glad you are coming down a bit! THere's always something to worry about isn't there...

Re the restlessness, have you considered cranial osteopathy? DS1 was a very agitated baby (ventouse delivery maybe?) and while we didn't have the miracle cure some people talk about, I think it did calm him down a lot.

DrivingMyselfCrazy Sat 16-Jul-11 17:55:23

Actually, DS was a really straightforward birth - went into labour at 1030pm, had him at 315 am and was home by 8am!! DD was another story - back to back (they didn't realise this til about 2 hours of pushing had gone by hmm) and emergency spinal block/forceps. I hope that once he starts to roll in his sleep it should right itself, otherwise we might have to start looking at something like CO for the sake of my sanity! He's really chilled out apart from the twitchy nights, bless him. Unlike his mother at this point!!

Went to my mums this afternoon and was terrified any time anyone went near him in case they had been eating something that might bring on a reaction. I think I really need to have a stern word with myself at this point...

Have been reading some more on the boards. Can I ask another question? Does the blood test simply confirm the suspected allergy or can it give an indication of what other foods will have a reaction? Is it right that it can only give a result for any food that has previously been ingested by the person being tested? Can it give an idea of how severe the allergy is? (Way more than one question there but would be grateful if anyone could help me understand what sort of information we are likely to be able to glean at this stage). TIA

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