What do I do? Suspected strawberry allergy in my toddler - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's our story: After DD was born, she developed a bit of a rash on her face and some redness around her anus that came and went. It didn't seem to bother her. I tried to go dairy-free to see if that would help, but since it was coming and going, I couldn't tell if it was helping or not. After a few months, the rashes and redness pretty much disappeared, so I stopped worrying about it.

In her first year, she would occationally have those dark blue patches on her face right underneath the inside of her eyes, kwim? To the point that my MIL pointed it out to me. She often has red rings around her eyes, too, and I can't figure out why (not tired, not upset, etc.).

Also in the last half of her first year, she developed a pair of rashes around where one's "lovehandles" would be, toward her back, right where her diaper wraps around. At first they were invisible but you could feel them, but recently (I'd say after around 18 months) they turned red and scaley. She also has many more patches on her back and front now. She never scratches at them, and they don't seem to bother her. It got to the point that I took her to the doctor, who said that they were just ezcema caused by genetics (I've had ezcema in the past). Badger Balm seems to be helping them, when I remember to put it on. (The only soap we use on her is California Baby Super Sensitive, and she only bathes a few times a week).

A few weeks ago we were visiting with some family. My aunt served strawberry shortcake, and gave her lots and lots of strawberries. She loves strawberries, but I've never given her more than four or five at a time. She ate a TON. The next day she woke up with one cheek all bumpy and red. The redness faded after a day or two, but the bumps spread all over her face. Her face is still a little rough. It didn't seem to itch.

I gave her one strawberry the other day to see if it would elicit a reaction, but it didn't appear to.

Finally, the other day I was putting her hair up (something I don't do too often) and I noticed that she had dark yellowish flakes on just one part of her scalp. They scratch off. They're kinda yucky. Her scalp doesn't seem to be itchy. Or, who knows, maybe she just has a high pain tolerance and doesn't know how to scratch yet. I've never seen her scratch at anything on her body in her life.

So what should I do now? Take her to the doc and insist that they test her for strawberries? Do I have to stop giving her strawberries altogether, or just in smaller amounts? Is there anything I should be giving her? I've tried giving her different supplements in the past, but she never cooperates. Will giving her too many strawberries kill her? Could she be allergic to other fruits too that are related to strawberries?

This whole allergy thing is new to me, and I feel overwhelmed.

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#2 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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With ongoing symptoms (eczema that doesn't go away, cradle cap, dark circles), my guess is that you're dealing with more than just strawberries. Strawberries are, however, a very common allergen, especially in kids that are already allergic to other things because they (the strawberries) contain high amounts of histamines.

When you cut dairy, did you eliminate ALL dairy (trace and hidden amounts)? Also, it can take 6 wks for dairy to leave the system. Did you do it for that long at least? And finally, if you're dealing with strawberries AND dairy AND something unidentified AND/OR environmental allergies, the symptoms will wax and wane until you identify all of them.
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#3 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Were you having a lot of strawberries off and on when you noticed all the symptoms the other times?

If the dry patches/eczema are around pretty much all the time, it's doubtful that it's strawberries, if she hardly has them. It's much more likely to be something she's having all the time. Dairy, soy, gluten....

What you're describing on her head sounds like a cradle cap type thing (I call it "scalies" and flake them off my DD2s' head when she sits on my lap quietly (that's rare).

Strawberries can be anaphylactic (any food can). If you go to an allergist and get a test, and it says she's allergic to it, then you have answered ONE question. If she's not allergic to it, she's either intolerant to it (IgG vs. IgE) or she's intolerant to it AND something else or she's intolerant to something else completely (or a bunch of things).

Start keeping a very detailed food journal with all symptoms noted (under-eye circles, eczema, other rashes, sleep, poop, etc.) and see if you notice any other correlations. Then do specific elimination-challenges.

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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#4 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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Oh, and food reactions can change over time. So a baby might spit up, have mucusy poop and an allergy ring, but with continued consumption, it can lead to eczema and other symptoms. This can lead to further, more serious reactions or chronic problems like asthma. Google "allergy march" or "allergy triad."
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#5 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache View Post
With ongoing symptoms (eczema that doesn't go away, cradle cap, dark circles), my guess is that you're dealing with more than just strawberries. Strawberries are, however, a very common allergen, especially in kids that are already allergic to other things because they (the strawberries) contain high amounts of histamines.

When you cut dairy, did you eliminate ALL dairy (trace and hidden amounts)? Also, it can take 6 wks for dairy to leave the system. Did you do it for that long at least? And finally, if you're dealing with strawberries AND dairy AND something unidentified AND/OR environmental allergies, the symptoms will wax and wane until you identify all of them.


Really? It could really be more than the strawberries?

No, I didn't cut the diary for that long. I'm a diary addict. By myself, I go through a gallon of milk a week (and my husband goes through another gallon). Plus dairy is in just about everything. I tried, I did. It lasted about as long as my trial of veganism in college, and worked about as well. (Kept accidentally consuming diary, either because I didn't realize that it had diary in it or I just plum forgot! Plus it was seriously depressing!) I only lasted three weeks to a month (can't remember exactly).

I'm a total foodie. I love to cook. I love to eat. The thought of having to cut out an entire food group frightens me.

Anyway, how do I figure out what she's allergic to? Will the docs know what to do? Sometimes I don't think they know what they're doing.

nak
and she also nurses a TON still. and she eats whatever i eat. we share.

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#6 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 05:03 PM
 
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So basically you're saying you never really did an elimination of dairy. It's not impossible. I still love to cook and I love to eat, and I'm dairy, gluten, and soy free. And my kids are free of a lot more than that. But if you want to get to the bottom of her issues, then you will have to do something. The biggest resource is you. You can go to a doctor if you want but everyone here has had good and bad results from allergists, GI doctors, and others.

Does she eat strawberries enough to coincide with all her symptoms every time? If not, then I'd say you're looking at either more culprits or different culprits. For instance, everyone was having strawberry shortcake. Let me guess, there was whipped cream or ice cream (dairy) and shortcake (gluten, dairy). So she didn't JUST have strawberries.... So it could go back to the dairy (or gluten which is usually consumed every day... or soy... or corn....).

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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#7 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post
:

Were you having a lot of strawberries off and on when you noticed all the symptoms the other times?

If the dry patches/eczema are around pretty much all the time, it's doubtful that it's strawberries, if she hardly has them. It's much more likely to be something she's having all the time. Dairy, soy, gluten....

What you're describing on her head sounds like a cradle cap type thing (I call it "scalies" and flake them off my DD2s' head when she sits on my lap quietly (that's rare).

Strawberries can be anaphylactic (any food can). If you go to an allergist and get a test, and it says she's allergic to it, then you have answered ONE question. If she's not allergic to it, she's either intolerant to it (IgG vs. IgE) or she's intolerant to it AND something else or she's intolerant to something else completely (or a bunch of things).

Start keeping a very detailed food journal with all symptoms noted (under-eye circles, eczema, other rashes, sleep, poop, etc.) and see if you notice any other correlations. Then do specific elimination-challenges.
I can't remember exactly if she or I were eating strawberries during her earlier episodes. Generally, we only eat strawberries during the summer when they're in season. The strawberries a few weeks ago and the follow-up strawberry were exceptions.

What is the difference between allergy and intolerance? I need to wikipedia that...

I've kept food diaries for her before and her symptoms usually are mild/slow to come on, etc so I can never figure it out. Plus, for the top allergy foods, we eat them often, like every day. *sigh* I need to wait to do this until we get back from christmas vacation, since I can't control what we'll be eating exactly as we'll be staying with family. I hope she'll be ok until then.

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#8 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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No, I didn't cut the diary for that long. I'm a diary addict. By myself, I go through a gallon of milk a week (and my husband goes through another gallon).
From all the research that I've done, which has been confirmed by my own story.... the more you crave a food, the more likely that YOU are intolerant or allergic to it. I was a HUGE dairy addict- by far my favorite food group. I removed it from my diet when DD showed signs of allergy, then decided just for fun to have myself tested too (ELISA IgG testing) and what do you know... I'm allergic to dairy too.

It really is hard to make a change that major, but usually well worth it. I didn't even realize that I had symptoms until I cut the foods from my diet, because they were just part of who I was and didn't really bother me.

And even if you don't have symptoms or turn out not to be allergic- seeing your baby's health change for the better is all the motivation you need.

Anyway... don't have time to type much more, but my 2 favorite books that I would recommend are:
Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children by Janice Joneja, and
Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski

(And our story is in my blog if you're interested.)

Mom to DD1 (10/07) and DD2 (3/11)
geek.gif I blog about our life with food allergies and eosinophilic disorders.
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#9 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache View Post
Oh, and food reactions can change over time. So a baby might spit up, have mucusy poop and an allergy ring, but with continued consumption, it can lead to eczema and other symptoms. This can lead to further, more serious reactions or chronic problems like asthma. Google "allergy march" or "allergy triad."
Wow, I never knew that! I guess it makes sense though. It's enlightening to learn that this isn't a static condition, that it can worsen.

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Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post
So basically you're saying you never really did an elimination of dairy. It's not impossible. I still love to cook and I love to eat, and I'm dairy, gluten, and soy free. And my kids are free of a lot more than that. But if you want to get to the bottom of her issues, then you will have to do something. The biggest resource is you. You can go to a doctor if you want but everyone here has had good and bad results from allergists, GI doctors, and others.

Does she eat strawberries enough to coincide with all her symptoms every time? If not, then I'd say you're looking at either more culprits or different culprits. For instance, everyone was having strawberry shortcake. Let me guess, there was whipped cream or ice cream (dairy) and shortcake (gluten, dairy). So she didn't JUST have strawberries.... So it could go back to the dairy (or gluten which is usually consumed every day... or soy... or corn....).
Ahh, I know, I know. But I grieve the loss of my precious food. I'm going to try not to think about that right now, so I don't spoil my focus when we get back from the in-laws. I'll try to cut back her dairy consumption though until then.

Speaking of which, yeah, there was whipped cream on the cake. In fact, she has a sippy cup of whole cow's milk with every meal every day, on top of the cheese and other dairy I cook with. It's pretty much a constant exposure. I'll switch to rice milk when we get back from ND.

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Originally Posted by changingseasons View Post
From all the research that I've done, which has been confirmed by my own story.... the more you crave a food, the more likely that YOU are intolerant or allergic to it. I was a HUGE dairy addict- by far my favorite food group. I removed it from my diet when DD showed signs of allergy, then decided just for fun to have myself tested too (ELISA IgG testing) and what do you know... I'm allergic to dairy too.

It really is hard to make a change that major, but usually well worth it. I didn't even realize that I had symptoms until I cut the foods from my diet, because they were just part of who I was and didn't really bother me.

And even if you don't have symptoms or turn out not to be allergic- seeing your baby's health change for the better is all the motivation you need.

Anyway... don't have time to type much more, but my 2 favorite books that I would recommend are:
Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children by Janice Joneja, and
Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski

(And our story is in my blog if you're interested.)
Your blog had a lot of great info! I'll check out the books too. I've suspected I've had some kind of diary intolerance for a while, but it doesn't bug me to the point that I care to cut down on my diary, since I like it so much.

I would like to do some elimination diets first, and maybe have some kind of diagnostic testing done after that, depending. Idk. The doc that I took Bekah to didn't even seem to think it was an allergy. She just said "eczema, it's hereditary" after she saw it, even though she didn't even ask me if I or my husband had it! (turns out I do, but still...) I always feel stupid at the doc's, because they always seem to brush things off. (totally ot: once years ago in college I told the doc I was depressed during my annual and she told me that I needed to exercise more. I don't want to come off as one of those "know-it-all" patients, but at the same time I have to be an advocate for my child...sorry, this is turning into more of a rant of sorts.

ANYWAY, I have another question: We're planning on TTC in January. What effect will elimination diets have on TTC? Can I take my supplements while doing an elimination diet? I take rainbow lite prenatals (once-a-day kind), iron (the amino acid kind, forgot what it's called), Ca/Mg/Zn, Flax oil, and vitamin d.

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#10 of 10 Old 12-16-2008, 08:55 PM
 
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I wouldn't be surprised if your eczema went away after eliminating dairy for your dd.

I avoided a lot of things while pg with my last. As long as you get a balanced diet and make up for the things you're avoiding, I think you're okay. I'd also say to start working on healing your gut so your newer lo has a better chance with this allergy stuff. Take cod liver oil, dairy-free probiotics, etc. One thing, too, a lot of people allergic to dairy are also sensitive to soy. You might want to cut it out at the same time to be sure. What kind of doctor did you see before? An allergist? If not, I'd try to get a referral and have testing done on your dd. It's not definitive, but it might give you a place to start (beyond the elim. diet and food journal which are so essential).
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