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Breathing problems - alergy?

(19 Posts)
koalabear Mon 15-Aug-05 10:52:35

Hi - my 15 month old son has "breathing issues" every time he goes to sleep. He breathing is very loud, raspy, and often interupted (a big pause, followed by a big breath) - in short, he sounds like a tractor.

When he drinks from a bottle, it takes forever as he needs to breath through his mouth at the same time.

He was not always this way, and we think it started at age 1 when we introduced cows milk. However, he was breast fed until 6 months, and then had cows-milk-based formula until 12 months, so this doesn't entirely make sense to me. Surely, if he was alergic to cow's milk, he would have presented with this breathing thing way back at 6 months ??

Does anyway have any advice?

I have asked the GP for alergy testing, but the wait is quite long.


mumtosomeone Mon 15-Aug-05 10:55:56

try a cows milk free diet for a while and see if it makes a difference!!!!

koalabear Mon 15-Aug-05 10:57:03

does that include cheese, yogurt (which he eats in buckets)?

should i substituate goats milk, or something else?

koalabear Mon 15-Aug-05 11:03:14

ok, i know its a simple question, but i just don't know what the rules are with potential alergies

has anyone else had same symptoms?

koalabear Mon 15-Aug-05 13:09:05


mumtosomeone Mon 15-Aug-05 14:20:04

sorry I went shopping!!
Yes all cow milk based foods!
Yoghurts cheese check labels etc.
Bit of a pain but as a rule 10 days without then 10 days with should show you!

koalabear Mon 15-Aug-05 14:23:09

ok, thanks - will give it a go as alergy testing has at least a three month wait!

mumtosomeone Mon 15-Aug-05 14:27:12

thats terrible. I am only speaking from experience, by no means an expert and maybe you should get some advice from a dietician?

tatt Tue 16-Aug-05 06:16:18

hi the proteins in milk are changed by processing so if he has cows milk intolerance (which does sound possible) then he may be Ok with formula still or with cheese but not milk. Goats and cows milk proteins are quite similar but there are still quite a few children who are fine on goats milk but not on cows milk. Unfortunately if cows milk is a problem soya can be too and there are other concerns (nut allergy, oestrogen effect) about that.

Have you tried putting him back on to formula? I'd give nanny (goats milk formula) a go before giving up on milk completely. If it doesn't help 10 days off and 10 days on confirms the problem but you really need a calcium supplement if you're going dairy free with a child.

koalabear Wed 17-Aug-05 08:29:17

thanks tatt - will try that - also, someone suggested "adenoids" - so going to see doctor about that tomorrow

foxinsocks Wed 17-Aug-05 08:38:19

if you tell the doc he has noisy breathing at night, he should check his tonsils (to make sure they are not oversized). Dd had very noisy breathing and snoring for a while and I was convinced it was her asthma when it turned out her tonsils were quite large. We didn't have them taken out (it was a borderline decision as they weren't completely obstructing her throat) and now she's fine.

Just a pointer for your gp appointment!

koalabear Wed 17-Aug-05 13:56:02

thanks F.I.S - will follow up on that too

tatt Wed 17-Aug-05 14:13:42

I keep forgetting - the wait for an allergy clinic is usually months if not years BUT your gp can take blood and send it off to check if he has a high IgE level. If so he's allergic to something and they can also test for milk protein. However being bunged up like this is more often milk intolerance than an IgE allergy, so the tests can be OK and he can still have a problem. If he has big tonsils/ adenoids you'll still have to wait to have them out so you'll have time to test for milk intolerance.

Also if he does have any sort of problem with milk givig him a probiotic may help with that. We're experimenting with a combination of probiotics and lactase at the moment.

koalabear Thu 18-Aug-05 09:27:24

thanks tatt - this is getting confusing - so we are checking out the tonsils/adenoids this morning with the GP - but to check the milk interance, it seems like we shouldn't go for goats milk (too similar to cows milk) or soy (reported problems with hormones etc), but maybe back onto formula - so which formula do people think is best for this purpose?

foxinsocks Thu 18-Aug-05 09:38:26

if he has a cow's milk allergy (allergy to milk proteins) he would have reacted to formula as well

Ds had soy milk and was fine - dd was allergic to soy as well as cow's milk (this is quite common).

The problem with milk allergies or intolerances is that if they are not anaphylactic they can quite often be subtle. Dd has apparently outgrown her milk allergy but if in one day she has lots of yoghurts, ice creams, chocolate milk, her eczema will flare up terribly and I can hear her wheeze - however, according to the allergy bloke, because it doesn't require an immediate medical response and because I keep an eye on her milk intake anyway, she no longer qualifies for being called milk allergic (and she does not react to milk in her blood test or skin test).

I'm wondering (if it's not tonsils/adenoids) that he may have a sort of slow burning milk problem like dd. Perhaps it's worth trying soy just to see if there's any change (I think they normally suggest 6 weeks).

hercules Thu 18-Aug-05 09:44:12

I would go privately to get tested if you can. I think it's about 100 pounds for allergy test.

koalabear Thu 18-Aug-05 11:53:23

Gp reports that adenoids and tonsils are all fine

He says its probably "dust" ???? I don't get that myself - we vacuum, clean etc - GP says "vacuum more often" - he wouldn't do the IGE test as suggested by tatt

So, we wait for the NHS alergy clinic - we are looking for a private alergy clinic too - and in the meantime, will try to look at taking DS off milk and trying alternatives to see if it makes a difference

thanks for everyone's advice

jenk1 Thu 18-Aug-05 13:18:03

she has been referred to a paediatrician specialising in allergies now so it shouldnt be too long

tatt Fri 19-Aug-05 07:20:09

It is confusing koalabear. Basically you can have either an allergy (which means your body produces too much IgE) or an intolerance. Allergies can be detected with standard tests, intolerances can only be tested by excluding the food then reintroducing it. Ideally that is done without the person being tested knowing what is in the test food. If the problem is a true allergy then any trace of the problem food is likely to produce a reaction. He'd probably have reacted to formula but the fact that he developed problems on milk but not formula suggests he has an intolerance not an allergy. If the problem is an intolerance you may be able to have small amounts of the food, especially if you don't eat it more than once in 4 days, but when levels build up in the body you get problems.

Gps are almost always badly informed about allergy because they get very little training. Our latest one didn't even know where to send someone for testing. It is possible your child reacts to dust mite but it is extremely difficult to avoid that - you need to get rid of carpets, put soft toys in the freezer etc, vacuuming isn't enough. Ordinary vacuum cleaners put a lot of allergens back into the room, you need one with a HEPA filter. Its easier to test milk first.

This is an excellent book

and this is a good source of information online

Allergy clinics are the best place to go to get advice. If your gp would agree to it the best formula to try would be something like nutramigen or neocate (prescription only) but they taste foul and your gp probably won't prescribe them. In your place I'd try nanny (goats milk formula) before soy because he was Ok on formula before and goats milk is a bit less allergenic than cows. I'd also get a probiotic.

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