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Multiple kids, multiple allergies - how do you cope?

(10 Posts)
Teapig Thu 20-Feb-14 01:29:44

DD 1 is 10 months with serious multiple food allergies and very nasty and persistent eczema. It's sad to see how much these things affect her daily life and DH have really tussled over whether it's 'fair' to have another LO knowing they are likely to have the same atopic diseases. That sounds a bit dramatic I know but I have this terrible sense of guilt that DD's atopy is gentic and wonder whether it's somehow selfish to have another when they would likely have the same.

So I wondered whether anyone has any tips on coping with more than one LO with allergies especially if their allergies are different to each other.

freefrommum Thu 20-Feb-14 09:29:04

My DD is 12 and has coeliac disease so can't eat gluten. She has also recently developed environmental allergies to pollen and animals. DS is 6 and has multiple life-threatening food allergies plus asthma and severe eczema. It can be quite challenging sometimes, especially eating out with 2 children with different food issues but we generally just get on with it and don't let it stop us doing things as a family. We jokingly blame DH for DS's problems as DH is also asthmatic, had eczema as a child and is allergic to nuts, feathers and cats. However, DD didn't have any allergies as a child and has never had asthma so while there is an increased chance of having a child with allergies when one or both of the parents has a history of atopy, it's not guaranteed and I know plenty of families with no history who have children with allergies and vice versa.

Guilt is major part of being a parent, especially a mum in my experience. If you didn't feel guilty about the allergies and eczema then it would be something else. I don't think there's a day gone by since having kids when I haven't felt guilty about something (eg working, not working, stopping breastfeeding, not cooking everything from scratch, forgetting their gloves etc etc etc). It is hard to see your child suffering and in my experience severe eczema is particularly cruel but with the right treatment things will improve. Have you seen a dermatologist or skin nurse? If not, make sure you get a referral (even if you have to kick up a fuss to get it). GPs are often not very good at treating severe eczema as they're not up on the latest developments plus they tend to believe that all steroids are bad and just dish out useless hydrocortisone 1%.

My DS is a very happy healthy 6 year old boy who plays football 5 days a week, has bags of energy and loves life. He doesn't let his allergies hold him back and I believe that he lives life to the full and grasps every opportunity partly due to what he's been through. I certainly don't think it's selfish for you to consider having another child and who knows, they might not have any atopic conditions - it's not guaranteed, no matter what the family history.

Teapig Thu 20-Feb-14 16:45:32

Thanks for your words of wisdom and sense freefrommum. I fully believe in grabbing life with both hands and I'm determined to help DD do this without feeling held back her allergies.

I think you're about the mother's guilt, if it's not one thing it's another - just part of being a parent I guess.

I thought I'd kind of come to terms with her allergies - she has that are life threatening plus a nut allergy but I know there could be more that we're not yet aware of. But her eczema just seems impossible to control, her cheeks are nevee free of it and people always comment which worries me for her self esteem when she's older. To see her scratching is terrible. We are under St Marys in London for her allergies and eczema and see a local allergy nurse too.

We have 1% hydrocortisone for flare-ups which I use and then worry about all the horrible possible side effects.

Oh what a long whinge that turned out to be. Thanks again for your reply, I think I really needed that perspective.

freefrommum Fri 21-Feb-14 12:35:18

1% hydrocortisone is worse than useless in my opinion (and our skin nurse's). For flare ups on the body you really need a stronger steroid such as Eumovate as hydrocortisone simply won't do the job. With a stronger steroid you should be able to get the eczema under control much quicker and easier whereas you could be using hydrocortisone for weeks without it ever fully getting rid of the eczema so although it's a weaker steroid, overall you'll probably still be using more steroid plus your little one will continue to suffer for longer. I was very nervous about how much Eumovate our skin nurse prescribed initially as I'd had it drummed into me by GPs that all steroids are bad and should be avoided as much as possible. But she explained that the recommended 'safe' levels for steroid ointments is far higher than any of us realise. The exception to this is the face as the skin is thinner so it's safer to stick to hydrocortisone for the face as much as possible (although we did initially have to use Eumovate sparingly on his face as it was so bad).

I'm sure you've already been told this but the other important thing is to apply the emollient (NON steroid) ointments as often as you possibly can. When DS was a baby we used to apply his emollient 5 times a day but these days we're down to just twice a day normally or 3 times when he's having a flare up. We also don't have the radiator on in his bedroom, even in the winter, and keep a cup of water on a shelf in the room to stop the air drying out. I have to use Surcare washing powder/liquid and the 'sensitive' cycle on the washing machine as it has an extra rinse. We never use shampoo or soap and just bath him every night in Dermol then apply the steroid ointment, wait for 20 mins then apply the emollient. I really hate eczema, it is so cruel and a constant battle to keep it under control. Good luck, I hope your little one improves soon.

calina Fri 21-Feb-14 20:10:34

We have a similar problem with eczema and we have done all the steps that freefrommum recommends plus another thing that help us a lot was to put on ScratchSleeves at night.
Good luck.

craziedaisy Sun 23-Feb-14 19:29:53

As a child I was allergic to dairy , eggs, nuts, dust mites , dogs, cats , pollen to name but a few. My brother had no allergies, so it may not follow that a future child would be the same anyway.

craziedaisy Sun 23-Feb-14 19:31:18

And quite bad eczema too! Which again my brother never had.

Pitmountainpony Mon 24-Feb-14 17:30:45

My first has severe food allergies.
My second has none.
So lottery factor to it I reckon.
It is great seeing both kids together.

Applebloss Tue 25-Feb-14 11:03:34

Freefrommum is right re keeping it under control. My dermatologist has said the same especially re the hydrocortisone. I wish I knew then what I know now re eczema. My paws dermatologist has been invaluable in this way.

I have two out of three DC with severe food allergies and eczema. Middle DC has none. In my experience the mix has worked well. The allergic ones support each other and the middle one never has any treats in front of them that they can't have (eg milk chocolate). Middle child is avery supportive and considerate. We don't ban any food at home but family meals and snacks are suitable for everyone to enjoy.

They are all still young but having other children has helped DC1 cope really well with the psycho-social side of allergies. She also feels good being able to help the younger one with self-care skills re staying safe around food etc.

Ilisten2thesoundofdrums Wed 26-Feb-14 15:27:29

DS has multiple food allergies.
DD has none

DF is coealiac.

Put DS and DF together with DM who doesn't eat meat and you have difficulty feeding everyone the same thing - but its possible!
DS is now a teen and the allergies are just as bad as ever, however he knows all about them, is cautious when out, his friends parents understand and accomodate him and its fine!

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