Monday, April 8, 2013

The Unexpected Allergy (or how I completely failed at the elimination diet)

What a day and what a doctor's appointment!

First off, the boy hit his five month "birthday" today and weighed in at 19 lbs and 27 1/2 inches (when I first brought him in I was asked if he could stand on the scale!  He's that big!).

I learned that my attempts at an elimination diet have, it seems, completely failed.  The one thing that I thought Patrick wasn't allergic to was the thing that he is very allergic to and the things that I thought he was very allergic to came back negative on the skin prick test.

It makes me a little nervous, so I'm going to slowly start reintroducing the other foods, once we have the allergy under control again.

And the culprit?

Milk.  And pretty severe eczema.

I have no idea how I missed it (the milk that is).  He certainly didn't seem to be having a reaction when I reintroduced it.  But the large red welt on his back where the milk scratch was, was most definitely reacting as all the other faded away to nothing.

And then we met with the doctor again(with everyone commenting on how smiley Patrick was after just having the tests) and discussed our plan of attack in a step by step list.  First off we eliminate all dairy from my diet.  Then we apply "barrier protection" which means lathering him in a 50/50 mix of vaseline and crisco every morning and every night.  If that doesn't work I'm supposed to use "wet wraps" and wrap him in two layers of gauze every day (oh please let the vaseline and crisco work!!!).  I'm also not supposed to use soap (I hardly do now, just an oatmeal wash).   The next step is "anti-inflammation".  I need to continue to apply cortisone cream in the morning and at night for two weeks and then continue it as needed.  And he's supposed to take 1/2 tsp of hydroxyzine every night before bed to eliminate the itchiness.

Lastly they took us into a room where we watched a movie and went over epi-pen use and then were prescribed two epi-pens.

I asked if the doctor was sure and he said he was.  But of course, our pediatrician had a talk with me at the end of our last appointment and said that sometimes the allergists don't find anything, but the child will still have a reaction and so it's not like you can give them the food in question... so we're proceeding with caution.

I'm really hoping he's right though.  A single dairy allergy would be so much easier to work around (although we've decided as a family to stay gluten free since the girls and Paul feel so much better and my asthma went from every day inhaler use to once a month inhaler use).

And that's what we've learned so far!  I'm excited and cautiously optimistic!

Thank you all for all of the prayers!


  1. Now that I think of it, the eczema and when it appeared would make a whole lot of sense. My daughter started showing eczema when she was four weeks old. Not this severe, but she was young. And it is common to have eczema and asthma for some reason. My mom said for severe cases it was recommended (she is a nurse at Duke) for the kids to have their pajamas go through the rinse cycle and spin cycle then put on wet. Not so practical for bottoms on a baby, but maybe a solution with tops as the weather gets warmer...glad you have some answers. And glad it wasn't corn! You are right is is in EVERYTHING!

  2. Ah that's such good news. At least it's just that simple. Phew! And eczema is imminently manageable :) Huzzah.

  3. Grain and dairy free sounds like paleo.

    I wonder how many things have dairy in them.

    Perhaps with both gone your need for the inhaler will go down even further?

    Prayers for success!

  4. Good news Cami! Hope things are on the up from now on. My Patrick went through a really bad eczema phase when he was around 4-5 months as well - he was misdiagnosed. Ended up seeing a specialist who gave us the RIGHT cream to clear it up and the right information to deal with it. He was so unhappy though. He was covered in itchy skin and would scratch his head til it bled. Yikes, glad it has passed. And so will this phase. He's a happy boy!! Must be a Patrick thing. :D

  5. Did the doctor say specifically what it was in the milk that he is allergic to? For example, some people believe they are lactose-intolerant, when really, most of these people are not. It is an enzyme in cow's milk they are allergic to, not lactose. Give them goat's milk and they do fine. Is his allergy cow-specific?

    Thank God you seem to be on the right path. May the culprit be identify and eradicated! And may his giraffe make him forget the whole mess ever happened. :-)

  6. Can you start posting gluten free recipes? Or your weekly menu

  7. My oldest son was allergic to milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, pineapple and tomato at one point. He's now almost six and only allergic to the milk and peanuts still. Milk is a really annoying allergy to have, because it changes the way you cook everything - no more butter or cheese. But you find ways to cope. I substitute coconut oil for butter in most baking recipes and things turn out just fine. We use hemp milk as a milk substitute in baking too.

    As for the eczema, I have another child who has horrible eczema. If you aren't comfortable using the drugs on your baby, I've had wonderful luck simply by avoiding baths (we only do one once a week and spot clean otherwise), only using truly natural soaps (that Aveno stuff is junk), and making my own lotion bars. I know you like to cook and stuff, so maybe making lotion bars would be fun for you too. Here is the recipe I use - Whenever my son's eczema starts itching him he asks me to rub the bar on him and he usually feels better shortly after.

  8. Also wanted to add that I would follow up with a RAST test to confirm the allergy. Prick tests are notorious for false positives, so most allergists say the best way to truly confirm an allergy is a combo of the prick and RAST tests. If you suspect that the other foods are still causing him troubles, I would also ask for a RAST for those too. We always had mixed results with my son from the skin tests, but the blood test always gave us a much more accurate picture of the foods that were causing him reactions.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!