Mystery Reaction

Trying new (to Charlie) processed foods is always tricky, but usually ends well. Recently, though he popped. That’s the way it goes.

Here’s how we introduce Charlie to a new processed food: By the time it gets to our house, we’ve already scoured the ingredients list (we don’t keep food he’s allergic to in the house). But we don’t trust the ingredients list alone. We start feeding it to him by giving him a single, tiny bite. He waits 10 minutes and, if he’s not displaying symptoms of a reaction, he gets a slightly larger bite. We continue until we’re comfortable that he’s OK with the food and can eat large bites. This is similar to the food challenges we do at our allergist’s office. It’s a good way to catch a problem food early, but it’s rough on Charlie’s patience. He’s three.

This time, we found some veggie popsicles that looked fine, ingredients-wise. He loves the fruit version of these, so we started our home challenge with one after dinner one night. Bam. He popped.

We’re always read for this – we were at the hospital nine minutes later. When we walked up to triage, I said “I have a three-year old with-” and the nurse immediately waived her hand in front of her face and said “an allergic reaction, I see. Come on in.” I really love the staff at our hospital.

Charlie Reaction

Charlie sporting hives. He’s feeling chipper, though.

Luckily, steroids did the trick, and no epi was needed. He was lucid and even happy the whole ride to the hospital, which made the ride much easier for all of us. When you’re trying to determine if your kid is headed into anaphylaxis, a boatload of hives on his face will make you more than a little tense.

What triggered it? We don’t know, and that’s always frustrating. But that’s just the way it goes with food allergies: you’re always worrying, and you’re always watching, you always know how far you are from the hospital and you’re always bristling with epinephrine injectors.

Food Allergy Challenge: Peanuts

This kid tolerates peanut butter.

This kid tolerates peanut butter.

Charlie tolerated peanut butter at his food challenge today. No, he shouldn’t eat it again. But, it’s not lethal to him. MK and I are so happy, we could pop.

After being off his allergy meds for several days, Charlie walked into the doctor’s office, hopped onto the little bench, and downed 10 consecutively larger portions of peanut butter, starting with a portion so small he couldn’t even taste it, and ending with a sizable bite. We waited 10 minutes between each portion, and I (and the nurses and doctor) monitored him closely. The whole thing lasted an hour and a half, but it felt like 20 minutes to me.

Charlie’s face didn’t display any hives during the test, but his arm got a bit red at the inside elbow and a tiny hive appeared on the other arm. The doctor also skin- tested him for environmental stuff (he’s allergic to mold) and tree nuts. He’s allergic to everything except hazelnut. (We initially thought that opened the door to Nutella, but it contains whey.)

At this point, the doc says, the peanut butter appears to exacerbate Charlie’s eczema. The doctor thinks Charlie will outgrow peanut by his next food challenge, which is in the Spring. But, for now, we’re happy just knowing that he’s not likely to experience anaphylaxis from accidentally eating something that has peanuts in it.

Still on the anaphylaxis list are egg (confirmed), dairy (confirmed), and tree nut (possibly). Knocking peanuts off the list is a huge win, and gives us hope that the others will be outgrown, too.