setbacks in “growing out of” food allergies

Today we went out for lunch after church. To Vietnamese, where you can get rice noodles, and grilled meat, and if you ask they’ll leave off the peanuts on the order.

On paper, the dishes seemed safe.

According to the waitress, the dishes should be safe.

Unfortunately, just an hour and a half after eating, she started to complain that her nose was itchy. Then her underarms. Then her elbows. Then she started crying that she was itchy all over.

Time to get the Benadryl.

Then it was into the bathtub for a cool water bath.

Then it was no end of trying to distract her from scratching herself raw by letting her play with my Blackberry. Eventually she fell asleep with me holding her. At least then she wasn’t scratching anymore! Kind of heavy, though. And as we were sitting at the kitchen table, on a somewhat uncomfortable chair… sigh.

On a side note, if you want the kids to be knocked out, Benadryl will definitely do it… not that I am advocating that you should use it for any reason other than its intended purpose… 🙂

When your food allergic child is having a reaction, it’s a bad feeling as a parent. Bad because you know that it was your job to make sure that she doesn’t eat anything that she’s allergic to, and bad because YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER, and bad because your child is crawling out of their skin with itchiness, and bad because you just may have caused her to be allergic to whatever it is for the rest of her life because of your carelessness. “Aaugh!!” as Charlie Brown used to say.

The prevailing thought is that how a child ‘grows out’ of an allergy is through complete non-exposure, and given that a child’s immune system is not fully mature until around age 5, if the child has not been exposed and has not had a reaction, when the body’s immune system does ‘set’ itself, it will do so with a reduced reaction or possibly no reaction to that particular allergen.

You can see how our anxiety is pretty high about these accidental exposures, and how disappointing it is when she does get exposed. I kind of view each one as a sort of setback, and it’s painful because you don’t know if this will be just a setback, or the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As I write this our daughter is sleeping peacefully, the bedtime dose of Benadryl having its effect. Hopefully the symptoms will stay away. I guess I can’t dwell on it too much. We just have to try our best.

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