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Advice from HV - is this dangerous or am I paranoid?

(31 Posts)
strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 21:28:05

Hello. I posted on here a week ago about my DS who is 6 months old because I thought he had an allergic reaction to cows milk.

I saw my HV today about it and she said I should give it to him again to check whether he has another reaction and if he does I should give him baby piriton. hmm

Am really nervous about this, is there a risk that he could have a bad reaction? The first time, he had a little bit of milk and he came up in a hives type rash around his mouth. He also has eczema and has been sick since birth which I put down to reflux. He is small (2nd centile for weight). He has been fully breastfed so that one bit of cows milk is all he has had (thanks DH!).

I suspect I'm being a paranoid mummy but I feel really worried about giving him something he might be allergic to. Someone on here mentioned testing it on his skin but I don't really understand how to do that or if that in itself could be dangerous.

MrsMattie Tue 02-Sep-08 21:29:16

See your GP. I wouldn't personally go with what an HV says about something like allergies.

Onestonetogo Tue 02-Sep-08 21:30:10

Message withdrawn

LilRedWG Tue 02-Sep-08 21:30:54

When it comes to allergies (potential or actual) you need to speak to your GP in my opinion.

strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 21:41:16

*It wasn't formula*. DH put semi skimmed cows milk into pureed parsnip because he thought it was too think. He feels terrible so am not being to harsh on him though! He hasn't had any formula at all and no other cows milk, only breast milk and pureed fruit and veg that I have made myself.

I did speak to my doctor but she is shockingly rubbish and told me to discuss it with the HV.

Between them, I don't really know what to do about it, I feel like I have no where to go for decent advice sad

Mogsmum Tue 02-Sep-08 21:41:30

I didn't think you were supposed to give cows milk til the child was year old [confused smiley]

lankyesme Tue 02-Sep-08 21:41:32

Ask your drs practice to see the Dr with the skin/eczema/allergy specialism. HV gave me very dodgey advice, so def see the GP. Soy formula is available on prescription upto a year if appropriate!

Mogsmum Tue 02-Sep-08 21:42:44

Oops crossed posting - I would have used formula or water to thin the puree.

strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 21:46:04

I know mogsmum, I had used ebm to thin purees, DH misunderstood and thought I had used milk. V annoying because I had been so careful and I think its just about the only time he has actually fed him. Like I said though, he does feel really bad about it and I guess it would have happened sooner or later if it is milk so perhaps better it was such a small amount.

strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 21:46:21

I know mogsmum, I had used ebm to thin purees, DH misunderstood and thought I had used milk. V annoying because I had been so careful and I think its just about the only time he has actually fed him. Like I said though, he does feel really bad about it and I guess it would have happened sooner or later if it is milk so perhaps better it was such a small amount.

strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 21:46:23

I know mogsmum, I had used ebm to thin purees, DH misunderstood and thought I had used milk. V annoying because I had been so careful and I think its just about the only time he has actually fed him. Like I said though, he does feel really bad about it and I guess it would have happened sooner or later if it is milk so perhaps better it was such a small amount.

edam Tue 02-Sep-08 21:47:05

IIRC (ds is five so my memory may be failing) it's no cows milk as a drink till a year. You are supposed to be able to use cows milk when preparing food.

Strawberry, the hives around his mouth would worry me. Don't think I'd be happy, personally, to give him cows milk again for a while. (Worth noting, though, that most babies who don't respond well to cows milk grow out of it fairly quickly so it isn't necessarily a long or even medium term thing.)

strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 21:47:06

oops blush, computer got stuck!!

Mogsmum Tue 02-Sep-08 21:48:48

Ah poor DH, bet he feels awful. I wouldn't worry about it - just don't give him milk until he's a year old. If you really think you need allergy advice then go see your GP - but then I really don't rate HV shock never had any good advice from mine, so given up asking!

MissisBoot Tue 02-Sep-08 21:49:49

Get a referral to the allergy clinic from your GP - if you want to be fast tracked through then go to A&E if any severe allergic symptoms are present (ie swollen lips etc) You will then already be ahead of the system if you chase them.

RE: testing on teh skin. If you literally dab a drop on the cheek by the side of the mouth not on lips. Any reaction will show a red or raised hive type bump. This is not a foolproof method though by any means.

If you need to put your ds onto formula I'd stay away from soya formula and ask for a prescription for Neocate or another similar specialist formula. Soya is generally not recommended as many babies who are allergic to dairy are also allergic to soya.

scaredoflove Tue 02-Sep-08 21:52:58

Wouldn't he have got cows milk through breast milk?? I know that a friend had to go dairy free herself to continue bf as her daughter had severe dairy allergies

emma1977 Tue 02-Sep-08 21:53:08

Could it be the parsnip that caused the reaction? Has dc had that before and been OK? DS had a similar reaction the first time he had apricots.

If you think it was milk, then I wouldn't give it again unless your child has been reviewed by a paediatrician. Allergic reactions involving the mucous membranes of the mouth and upper airways can be very rapid and serious. There is always the potential that a subsequent allergic reaction could be much more pronounced than the first.

Sidge Tue 02-Sep-08 21:53:38

If he is breastfed and you use EBM in his food then really there is no need for him to have cows milk anyway, so I wouldn't worry about trying to 'test' him now.

My DD3 seems to have an intolerance to milk and cheese - she gets a rash around her mouth and gets constipated and sick. I spoke to DD2s dietitian who said cows milk intolerance is not uncommon but most babies grow out of it by the time they are 2, and if possible avoid cows milk completely until they are at least one, preferably 18 months. Funnily enough my DD3 can have milk in things eg cooked and prepared foods, but just not as a drink or on cereal. I wouldn't worry too much now and leave it until he's older.

hester Tue 02-Sep-08 21:54:15

My GP advised me to do this, too. It's bad advice. There is a risk that the next reaction will be much stronger. Oh, and Piriton is not licensed for use on children under one.

Having said which, I understand why they give this advice. They want to be sure it is a real allergy before they bother with a referral to a paediatrician, because those referrals can take months to come through. And though you're not supposed to give piriton to a child under one, that's what they do in A&E.

Personally, I would NOT give your child cow's milk again for now. Given the eczema etc, I'd play safe and keep him dairy free for now. I'd also be tempted to tell your HV that you did follow the advice and got the same reaction and now need a referral. By the time that comes through your son may be 12 months and you'd be wanting to try cow's milk again. It may be dishonest but I think it's the best course of action - my experience of my GPs and HVs is that they knew next to nothing about allergies and their advice was downright dangerous.

You probably know that they nearly all grow out of dairy allergy by 3, but you don't want to mess around with what might be a dangerous reaction until they do.

emma1977 Tue 02-Sep-08 21:55:54

Oh, BTW my advice comes from the viewpoint of being a GP.

AlexanderPandasmum Tue 02-Sep-08 21:59:08

Mogsmum (and others) : You can give cow's milk from 6 months, just not as a drink (in cooking or cereals supposed to be fine).

Obviously if SC's DS has had a reaction she probably should think carefully about giving it again. I double check everything the HVs tell me to do because I have been told things before which I know to be incorrect.

I would also go to your GP and ask for a second opinion from them

CantSleepWontSleep Tue 02-Sep-08 22:01:26

Your ds will be getting some dairy from your breast milk (it passes through in many women), and this may be the cause of his sickness and eczema. I had to go on a dairy free diet myself until dd grew out of her intolerance around 20 months.

One of the tests that the paed that we were referred to asked us to do was to put some cows milk on her lips and see if it brought her up in a rash, so I actually think that your hv is quite advanced in her thinking on this.

Your dh was not unreasonable to use cows milk btw. It is suitable for use from 6 months, but just not nutritious enough to be used as a main drink until a year.

Assuming that he does turn out to be milk intolerant/allergic, you will need to label check everything remotely processed that you give him, as it's amazing how much stuff includes it.

You might also like to consider going dairy free yourself to see if it improves his sickness and eczema. 2-3 weeks of this should be enough for you to notice a difference if there is going to be one.

And agree with whoever said not to use soya. Not appropriate for children under 2.

strawberrycornetto Tue 02-Sep-08 22:08:27

Thanks everyone, that is all really helpful. I am very tempted by Hester's advice about telling them I did get another reaction. I am allergic to brazil nuts and so am really worried about causing a bad reaction unsupervised. Saying that, my HVs are usually pretty good so it may be that CSWS is right too.

I would just really like some sensible advice about the whole issue, it may be just paranoia as I said but my intuition tells me that something is not quite right with DS in comparison to DD, what with the sickness which hasn't got any better, is weight gain being only just ok and then the eczema and this. I am happy to keep feeding and to avoid dairy myself if it will help, but am not a doctor and feel like I need guidance on it.

MegBusset Tue 02-Sep-08 22:09:17

Hi Strawberrycornetto. Your HV's advice is actually standard practice where only a mild reaction might be expected. We were told to do the same test with peanut butter on DS but this was only after he had already tested negative to peanut allergy in a blood test.

We were told that first you should put a small amount on the skin (not on the mouth), eg on the arm. Wait 20 mins, then if no reaction put a small amount on the lip. Wait again, then if no reaction give a small bit to eat.

The advice to give Piriton is also one we've had, and in fact have used on DS when he's had a hives reaction.

However, I can totally understand your reluctance to do this without having an expert's advice first. So I would press for referral to a specialist and leave cows' milk out of his diet for now.

tobytortoise Tue 02-Sep-08 22:12:21

DS (13 months) has an allergy to cows milk (hives, swelling etc) so has a completely dairy free diet. I am still BFing him. He had terrible eczema but I didn't know he had the dairy allergy until 7 months. I have gone dairy free myself now. His eczema completely cleared within a couple of weeks - I was amazed! He is never sick anymore either ...

Occasionally DH has prepared something e.g. a cheese sandwich and forgotten to wash his hands before picking DS up. The hives rash appears on his arm or wherever straightaway so the allergy is obviously still there.

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