Allergy Testing

When Miss C last saw the dietitian in December I asked if she could be referred for allergy testing. I wanted the tests done so that if any other allergies showed up we could be prepared, especially with her going to nursery in a few months. I’m feeling a little apprehensive if I’m totally honest. I’ve been able to control all the environments she’s been in up until now and even though it has been drilled into her about not picking up anyone elses food or drink, she is still really young, plus one of us has always where ever she is to oversee what’s going on.

She had her appointment with the Specialist last Friday so I thought I would cover off what happened and let anyone else about to go through the process know what to expect. We are in South Lanarkshire so we went to Wishaw General Dietetics Department where she was first seen as a baby.

To date, we are aware of 7 allergies/intolerances and the reactions they cause:

  • Cows Milk Protein – tummy trouble, diarrhoea, blood in her stool
  • Soya – vomit
  • Tomatoes – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
  • Peppers – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
  • Strawberries – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
  • Bananas – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
  • Oranges – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
  • Beef – sore stomach

We went to the shop and I let her pick a magazine, this is the best treat in the world for Miss C, she spent ages choosing one and then managed to drop the entire shelf of magazines all over the floor. The man working there was not a happy bunny and when I tried to pick them up he nipped the face off me! Anyway, we paid and walked to the Outpatient clinic and were taken pretty quickly. A lovely nurse took her height and weight and was chatting to her about her magazine and who was in it. While she was being distracted, I filled in a questionnaire about allergies and what to do in case of reaction including anaphylaxis. We waited for 5 minutes and went in to see the Consultant. He was lovely and I’m fairly certain that I have seen him before about her allergies. We talked through what she was allergic to and what kind of reactions she had and if I had any other concerns. I told him that I had a good handle on her allergies but that with her going to nursery, I wanted to make sure we were 100% on everything. He sent us back outside to wait and then would be sent to the nurse for the test to be applied.

After a few minutes we went next door to see Angela who had laid out all the things that Miss C was to be tested for. She explained it would be a sick prick test and then itemised everything that would be administered. I told Miss C that Angela was going to put some medicine on her arm and she had to sit nice and still until she was finished, then I sat and chatted random nonsense to try and distract her.

Angela then drew on her arm, a letter for each item that was going to be tested for and a little smiley face 🙂 Angela was great, she told Miss C that she had a to put special bubbles on her arm and then C had to guess if she could pop the bubbles or not. She worked quickly and Miss C was brilliant until there were about 4 to go and then she started to get a bit upset. Once we were finished we were sent to the waiting room for 15 minutes when we would be called back in to see what reactions we had.

So we toddled off to the waiting room and had a drink and a snack and before we knew it we were being called back in. The Consultant had a look at her arm and confirmed that everything we thought she had issues with had shown up. Soya was the most red and inflamed and milk didn’t show, but since her reactions are all tummy related we wouldn’t have expected to see anything show up on her arm for milk.

The good news is that there are no new reactions, especially to nuts or sesame seeds so we talked through the next steps. I am going to gradually reintroduce everything that is on the list. I started a few months ago with tomatoes and after a few tries and a couple of reactions, she can now eat them cooked. This week we are going to tackle them raw and see how we get on!

So I can relax a bit about her starting nursery in a few months although we will always need to be on the look out and keep drilling into her that she can’t lift other peoples food or drinks. The Consultant was very reassuring that I have been doing well to  manage the allergies and was happy with my plan for reintroduction. While I was there I also mentioned to him about Little D and his reactions to egg and he is going to get him seen as soon as he can.

All in all, it was a great experience. The staff were all lovely and everything was done quickly and Miss C was absolutely brilliant through it.

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Egg Allergy

I’ve posted about Miss Cs food allergies before and a few of them snuck up and gave us a surprise. When I started weaning her brother I was particularly vigilant to make sure there were no reactions. All allergies react differently, it could be a rash, hives, vomiting, gas, the trots and some cases even anaphylaxis.

When I was weaning I would give the same food at least 2 days in a row to see if there was any reaction. The first food that caused a reaction was lentils. I had made a lentil and vegetable puree and after he ate it he had a rash around his mouth which looked a bit like prickly heat. I gave him more the next day and he instantly got the rash again.

A few weeks later I had made his sister some dairy free scrambled egg made with almond milk and within 5 minutes he was refusing to eat, his skin was all red and blotchy and he was scratching like crazy. I stopped giving him the egg and watched him for 5 mins to see if that was the only reaction. He seemed to be getting itchier and all of a sudden his breathing seemed laboured. I decided to give him some antihistamine and phoned Mr B who was working locally just incase I had to take him to the hospital. As soon as I gave him the Piriton he was sick but thankfully it seemed to do it’s job and his breathing went back to normal after 10 mins and the rash started to fade.

I wasn’t sure what it was that he had reacted to, it could have been the eggs or the almond milk and I knew from experience that I would have to give him eggs again without the almond milk to rule it out. I left it a few weeks and gave him scrambled egg with cows milk and he had the same reaction. I treated it with Piriton again and he was fine.

We have been avoiding egg and to be honest, we haven’t really had that much of an issue. Most of his food is made from scratch by me and if I do need to buy anything then I just need to check the ingredients.

Yesterday I made his sister scrambled egg for lunch and as always, I made sure that everything I used was kept away from his plate and utensils. All was well, she ate her egg, he ate his sandwich and his peach. Miss C decided to help her brother and gave him a few bits then started dancing round about him. I was clearing up when I noticed he was scratching his chest so I went to have a look and saw that he was red and covered in hives. I couldn’t figure out what had happened then realised that Miss C must have had remnants of egg on her hands when she touched the fruit. Again, within a few minutes his breathing started to become laboured and he was clawing at himself. I gave him some Piriton and cleared everything away and cleaned his chair and tray just incase there was anymore there.

When you are dealing with your kids allergies you usually know what to look out for and what kind of reaction to expect. Certainly with Miss C we know what happens when she reacts to different foods but we have never had any kind of reaction like this. I need to make sure I always have a bottle of Piriton in my bag at all times and I am going to speak to the allergy specialist who we are going to see on Friday for Miss C and enquire if we can get him tested to make sure we are managing his needs properly.

Here are pics of yesterdays reaction:

Cx

 

Allergies, A Beginners Guide

Once we had a diagnosis for Miss Cs cows milk protein allergy I didn’t really think much more of it. She was only a few weeks old and I didn’t need to think about food and weaning because at that point all she needed was milk and we had that covered.

When she was admitted back in to the Paediatric ward, the Dietitian told us that we would be seen when she was around 5 months old to talk to us about weaning. Sure to her word I got a letter a few months later to go to our local hospital to see her. The Dietitian was really helpful and gave me loads of helpful tips and advice but mostly (the bit I was worrying about) what to look out for on food packaging. She sent me on my way with a head full of information, a booklet about weaning, a few notes on websites etc to look over and her contact details with a promise that I would contact her if there were any problems.

After the appointment I went to Morrisons and had a look around for substitutes for milk, cheese and butter. I easily must have spent about half an hour just staring at packets and referring to my booklet to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I found dairy free butter and picked up some soya milk as that’s what the Dietitian had recommended we go with.

When Miss B was a baby I used my Annabel Karmel cookbook like a bible! I had never weaned a baby before and didn’t really know what I was doing so used this as a guide. It was always my plan to do the same with Miss C but I wasn’t sure how that would work with her allergy but I decided to just go for it and use substitutes for the dairy parts. I followed the guide again and started with fruit and vegetable purees. I waited the full six months to start as she didn’t seem overly fussed about it, where as her sister used to sit like a hungry puppy every meal time staring at every bit going in your mouth!

I started with baby rice mixed with her formula milk at her lunch time feed and the smell was awful! Like I’ve said before, the formula milk smells and tastes like nothing I’ve ever come across and I felt terrible giving it to her. She didn’t seem to mind at all and hoovered it! I stuck with baby rice for the first week and added in a little vanilla essence to flavour it a little. In week two I started giving her another solid at dinner time gaving her fruit or vegetable purees and just built it up from there. She took everything I gave her and was always looking for more! This girl has a fantastic appetite and can’t seem to get enough grub 🙂

Around week 3 I tried her with some banana which she loved but about an hour after she ate it she started passing really loud wind. This is always a tell tale sign that she is having a reaction. She starts off with loud wind then terrible nappies and depending on how bad the reaction is, there can be blood in her stool. The problem is that since she had tried lots of new foods that week, I wasn’t entirely sure what had caused the reaction. As expected she had awful nappies for about a week afterwards but her tummy settled pretty well after that. I think in my naivety I just assumed she would only be allergic to cows milk protein, it never occurred to me at all that she would be allergic to anything else and oh how wrong I would be!

Over the next few weeks I followed my meal planner and picked up some dairy free cheese and some soya yoghurt to try. I pureed some mango and put that in with the yoghurt. She scoffed it, but then, like before she started to get a rhumbly tummy. I had tried her with mango before so was pretty sure it wasn’t that so waited until the next day and gave her some more yoghurt on its own this time and straight away she reacted. I couldn’t believe it! The Dietitian told me that most cows milk could be replaced easily by soya products so the fact that she then reacted to it was a bit of a blow.

The weaning process continued and we have discovered that she is allergic to Cows Milk Protein, Soya, Strawberries, Bananas and Tomatoes. I think she also had a reaction to peppers so I need to expose her to them again to see if she definitely is. I was also advised to avoid beef which I couldn’t see why but thinking about it makes total sense. It’s cow and contains the protein in the milk. Thankfully I’ve replaced all my recipes with lamb which is tasty and Miss C loves it!

When I was looking for more information, I had a Google and found three FaceBook support groups which I joined and they have been a great. Lots of parents in similar situations who have or are going through the same as me. It’s also nice to know you aren’t going through it alone. It might sound silly but allergies are a strange thing to deal with and sometimes it can be quite difficult. These pages have given lots of help and support and have been invaluable.

Despite all the allergies, Miss C is thriving and LOVES food. She will happily sit with a bowl munching away and most days there seems like there is no filling her up! I decided that I would blog about it because initially when I was looking for information and wanted a parents perspective and couldn’t really find anything. I want to try to help other parents who may be in the same situation so my plan is to blog recipes and food ideas that be useful.

I think the main thing I would advise anyone in the same situation is to listen to your instincts, ask for advice when you need it and listen to your baby. Be aware of what their types of reactions and be vigilant.

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Told you she loves her grub 🙂