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Baby, allergies, confusion!

(9 Posts)
Knackeredmum13 Fri 07-Mar-14 22:40:49

My 7 month old has been diagnosed with several allergies based on the results of skin prick tests and blood tests. Apparently he is allergic to milk, eggs, wheat and cats.

He is ebf now but had one or two bottles of formula at night from birth until about five months old when he suddenly reacted to it. DH had given formula during the night to give me a break and the next morning DS had come out in hives on his neck. He hasn't had any formula since. I have given him a yogurt on one occasion and I didn't notice any reaction. I'm scared to try again since his diagnosis.

He has never eaten egg. I did give him a small piece if bread once that may have had a trace of mayo on it but that's the only direct exposure he could possibly have had. I've been told he must avoid it now.

I have given him bread on a couple of occasions. He had toast with butter a few mornings. All with no noted reaction. The allergist said I can continue giving it but I don't feel comfortable and wheat containing foods usually also have egg or milk anyway.

We have cats at home and DS loves to try and stroke them. I've not seen him react to them. He does have severe facial eczema but this flared again when he was away from the cats for a week after being almost clear. So I don't think they are the cause.

I haven't been told to cut any of his allergens out of my own diet by our allergist. My health visitor said I should but I'm not sure if that's the correct advice? I eat hardly any dairy or egg anyway so that won't be too hard.

I'm feeling very confused with the differing information that I've received so far. My GP pretty much insinuated that the NHS would not have sent DS for allergy testing for eczema and that it was a load of crap.

I've probably confused myself more by reading too much online. I'm now paranoid about anaphylaxis or DS developing asthma because I've kept our cats/ got rid of our cats * delete as applicable depending upon which studies you read!

Anybody else out there facing something similar or that has any experience with allergies that can reassure me?

gretagrape Sat 08-Mar-14 07:35:44

Hi knackered - sorry that your son has been diagnosed with these allergies. My son is similar - he tested positive for egg, peanut and cats at 6 months and the consultant diagnosed delayed onset allergy to dairy (based on symptoms when I was ebf'ing). It's very difficult as he was tested before we started weaning, so he hasn't actually had ANY of these firsthand. Yesterday he had his follow-up visit, and the test results were the same except he also tested for house dust mite (a real blow, as I'm not the most houseproud person!).

We have been told that until the skin reactions are smaller than the 'control' reaction to histamine, then we can't start introducing the allergens. Re dairy, we've been told we can start to introduce baked goods when he is 18 months to see whether there is any reaction.

It's hard for you to know whether you should cut out the allergens but it doesn't sound like he has ever reacted to your breast milk, just the formula that one time? What are his symptoms - just eczema? You could give it a go, but it would be several weeks before you could expect to see a difference and if it fluctuates so much anyway you might never get a definitive answer.

I'm in a similar position re cats to you - we have a cat and my son has had eczema, but it fluctuates so much that at the moment we aren't considering having the cat rehomed - there are no signs of asthma or runny nose/wheezing so until the issue of it actually affecting his health comes up then the cat stays! I would say though that we never encourage him to touch the cat or chase her - he has already been given two nasty scratches now that he is able to chase her, so we are getting in early to really get it ingrained in him that he needs to keep his distance, treat her gently and always give her the space to run away otherwise she might hurt him. Eczema can take a few days to flare up, so you never know that the cat might have been the cause of your son's face getting worse when he was away. I'd err on the side of caution and start teaching him to keep a bit of distance from the cats.

Knackeredmum13 Sat 08-Mar-14 10:58:03

Thanks for the reply. Did you find weaning difficult? I'm nervous about introducing anything just in case. I've been told to introduce peanut butter which terrifies me.

There were no positive and negative controls used in DS skin prick test??

I will have to start keeping him away from the cats. I was encouraging him to stroke them gently to see if I noticed any reaction but I will stop.

gretagrape Sat 08-Mar-14 17:05:35

I found the IDEA of weaning terrifying, but the reality has been very different. It's taken a lot of organisation - making sure I have lots of stock made and frozen so I can use that to make 'white' sauces, making up batches of purees and then meals which are frozen because you can't just whip up an omelette if you don't have anything prepared, etc, but I've found it really useful to do a meal planner for each week so I know what I need to prepare. For emergencies, Ella's pouches are free of all our allergens. It was very time consuming at first because we had to introduce one food at a time for 3 days, so I was cooking for him and us separately, but once he'd had a wide range of foods I was able to start making meals that all of us could have - now I'd say 5 out of 7 of our meals are the same which definitely makes things easier.

I'm really surprised you've been asked to introduce peanut butter - usually if there are any allergies you're advised to avoid peanuts until 2 or 3 I think. We've been told we can start to introduce sesame if we monitor him closely, but to continue to avoid all other nuts for the moment.

Obviously I've only got our history to go on, but I would have thought there should always be a 'control' test done because otherwise you've got nothing to compare his reactions with to gauge how serious they are. Maybe someone else with experience could answer that for you.

Were the tests done privately? Maybe you could ring them for more clarification - it seems strange that they are saying you can carry on giving him bread when he is testing positive for wheat, and to introduce peanut butter. If you can get them to confirm exactly how serious they think his allergies are and what they think he can safely eat then it might put your mind at rest a bit.

Knackeredmum13 Sat 08-Mar-14 20:28:50

Yeah we went privately to one of the top allergists. We have a follow up with him soon so I will be taking a list of questions with me.

Apparently the current thinking is to introduce things like peanut butter early to stop allergies from developing. We have a list of things we've been asked to introduce. The skin prick and blood tests indicate that DS is not allergic to peanuts but I still feel a bit anxious.

Knackeredmum13 Sat 08-Mar-14 20:29:44

Re the bread I was told I can give small amounts since DS did not react when given it in the past.

gretagrape Sat 08-Mar-14 20:36:25

Oh ok. It does make sense and to be honest I hate not giving my son lots of things not knowing how serious his allergies are - my gut instinct is that not allowing him ANY exposure to various foods based on a skin prick test (which can have false positives or negatives) could end up make him sensitive to them when he might never have had a problem before. God it's such a minefield, especially like you say as there are so many conflicting reports/healthcare professionals.

Truffkin Sat 08-Mar-14 23:03:52

Sorry you have had this diagnosis for your son, it can feel overwhelming and quite sad. My son was diagnosed with a milk allergy at around 9 months after a hive reaction during weaning and follow up skin prick tests, egg after a blood test and fish after an anaphylactic reaction last summer. He has since had another anaphylactic reaction to milk.

There is loads of choice now for free from foods and I have found a lot of useful information online. We have six monthly reviews with an allergist and a dietician, as well as more regular check ups with a dermatologist as DS also has eczema, which is affected by his diet.

I never noticed any reaction in him when I was breastfeeding, but his eczema started at about 3 months, so in hindsight it may have improved more quickly if we had known about the food links.

As far as advice goes, we excluded all dairy completely and continue to do so firstly as a result of the regular (bi annual) skin prick repeats and more recently as a result of the anaphylaxis. We avoid all fish as well for the same reason and DS has an epipen at home and at nursery in case of another serious reaction.

DS has egg in moderation and not as a main ingredient (so ok with cake, but not with omelette) as we believe that is more a sensitivity than an allergy, based on no significant reaction. Blood tests are notoriously unreliable for allergy diagnosis in atopic patients, so we only go by skin prick testing now.

Food diary might be useful for you to track any reactions (either hives or worsening eczema) through your milk. There are lots of substitutes for cow milk when weaning (oat, rice, soya in moderation) and the same with yoghurt, cream etc. Plus egg replacement for baking.

Allergyuk.org is a good place to start IMO. Good luck!

Knackeredmum13 Sun 09-Mar-14 08:21:52

Truffkin how scary for you! Is your son likely to grow out of his allergies or does the anaphylaxis mean that he won't?

I didn't realise that blood tests were not always reliable but that makes sense.

I will be cutting dairy out of my own diet to see how it affects DS eczema.

I'm also wondering whether other types of milk or cheese are tolerated when there's a milk allergy? Would I be ok eating buffalo mozzarella for example?

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