Food allergy information

This is going to be a food allergy post, peppered with photos from the trip we took this week to Old Sturbridge Village (because a post should never be without photos!).

We took 'A' to Children's Hospital Boston, the Waltham branch, yesterday, to see a pediatric allergist. This visit was long overdue! We should have gone a few years ago. However, I don't think I would have known what to ask a few years ago, so perhaps it's good we went when we did.

Here's what went on and what we found out:

She is still highly allergic to dairy, casein, eggs and peanuts. We also added corn, green peas, sesame, and honeydew melon to the list of allergens.

She was skin tested for all of the above, and had blood drawn to be tested for all of those and a few more (like cumin, and a full nut panel). We also skin tested for chickpeas and cinnamon, both of which are negative.

I asked about the cough and the rash she gets around her mouth when she eats raw carrots, apples with the skin on, bananas and watermelon. The doctor believes this can all explained by Oral Allergy Syndrome. In a nutshell, OAS is a problem for people who are allergic to trees and weeds. When she eats the raw fruits and vegetables, her body thinks that she is ingesting tree and weed pollen, and it reacts accordingly. In her case, her throat gets scratchy and she gets a rash on her face. The solution to this is easy: get her on a dose of antihistamine every day until she can start allergy shots. Her seasonal allergies are very hard on her anyway, so the allergy shots will help her in more way than one.

I asked about the oral immunotherapy clinical trials, and if 'A' would qualify for one. He told me to check with Mass General and Mt. Sinai, and other hospitals. The trial at Children's Hospital is for children 7 years of age and older. The doctor does believe that within 10 years, oral immunotherapy will be available to a wide range of children and if she hasn't outgrown her allergies by then, she would benefit from it.

The doctor believes she has a chance of outgrowing her allergies. I asked specifically about dairy. Has he ever seen a child her age (6 years old) who is this highly allergic to dairy outgrow it? He said yes, within a few years even.

One new blood test is being done to see whether or not she's allergic to eggs when they are baked for at least 20 minutes. When eggs are baked, almost all the proteins break down, and some people are not allergic to those that remain. I look forward to finding out the results.

Our family reactions to the visit are all over the place.

'A' is very angry about the corn allergy diagnosis. She LOVES to eat corn. She refuses to believe that she is allergic to it. She still wants to eat it.

I won't speak for Jeff - he can do a guest post about his take on it if he would like.

As for me, I saw it coming, but that doesn't mean I'm not upset. I have observed her for a few years and I knew that she was allergic to these new things. Everytime she would eat hummus, she would cough while she ate (it was the sesame she was allergic to). Same thing with peas and corn. And when she would eat honeydew melon, her face would break out in hives and her throat would swell shut. Now I have some answers and I understand which foods she needs to avoid.

I'll tell you one thing, this makes it a lot harder to prepare meals for her!

More to come. I'm drained. It's not easy to parent a child with food allergies. I'll tell you about how I feel, which cookbooks I've revisited, the direction I am taking with 'A' and with this new information, these new challenges.


Amber J Chapman Says:

Jill, You pictures of the Village and the children are lovely! We loved visiting there and we used to home school as well. I am so sorry to hear of the many food allergies 'A' has. I loved your comment on her thoughts- 'Angry and refuses to believe it'. It must be tough as a mom AND as a kid. Justice suffers from some type of asthma that I still don't understand,(and frankly don't quite believe is 'asthma' since so many kids I know around his age and older walk around with the same symptoms and nebulizer w/ drugs...He too sees an allergist though his doctor I respect-he's gotten Justice on a great preventive plan and medicine. I know what it's like to have a sick child, though our times come and go. Yours is constant-you have such patience and seem to be handling it so very well. Thank you for sharing your story and I am going back to your blog to read more;)

Mama Jillian Says:

Amber thank you so much for your comfort.
Asthma like food allergies is increasing, and I can see your point, it's not regular asthma. I don't believe that the food allergies that kids face today are the same food allergies they faced years ago. They're different. We're living in a different world now, and I'm not so sure I like all of it.
And can I just say, I love your blogs!

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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!