Allergy medication...stuck in the middle! Aggg - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok so I have a DSS that is 7 and this is the first summer that I have been married to DH and his ex let us do "childcare" for him (instead of going to daycare he comes to us 8-6) on top of the custody arrangement.

His biomom recently scolded me for not giving DSS his allergy medication. She gives him Zyrtec every single day. The thing is DH believes that all this medication is over-kill and so he gives it to DSS only when he is showing symptoms or discomfort. He will spend a week here and not receive allergy meds and be totally fine....no symptoms whatsoever. This medication is not prescribed by a doctor or even recommended by his doctor. Biomom just thinks that they are necessary. I have 2 of my own kids and my personal philosophy is the less meds the better, but DSS isn't mine. I feel bad giving him medicine. It makes him a bit groggy, but I don't feel like it is my call to make. I have suggested to DH to take him to an actual allergist and figure it all out once and for all...he might be wrong/she might be wrong...it won't matter. What matters is that DSS gets what he needs.

I guess this is more of a Stepmom vent than anything else. It's hard to care for someone and feel a total lack of control at the same time.
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#2 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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Ummm I believe Zyrtec once a day is the type of medication that builds up in your system to fight off allergies, it isn't like Benedryl to kill a serious reaction to an allergy.


Missing doses when on zyrtec or clariton isnt going to HURT your kiddo, but it will definately make the medicine much less effective. Why wait until the kid is feeling crummy if they have a prescription, and you all agree that they have allergies then i'd just go by what is on the bottle.


I dunno, if my kid had allergies an they affected his nose or breathing then I would probably stick to a prescription. My son actually DOES have allergies to dust mites, but the doctors have never prescribed once a day type medication. We have an inhaler for his breathing.


Heres a link about zyrtec for those interested

http://allergies.emedtv.com/zyrtec/zyrtec.html

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#3 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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You are in a tough place. If she scolds you ever again, I would refer her to your DH. This is really a discussion for the two of them.

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#4 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Yoshua,

I just wanted to make it clear He doesn't have a prescription for this medicine. In fact, a few months ago DH took him to the doctors because he was sick. Doctor said there was really no reason to give him allergy meds every day.

Biomom has been actually very polite to me and since this is not my child I agreed to make it my responsibility and give him the meds as she has requested. I told DH if he has a problem with it, to please take it up with her. I don't feel like it is my place to go against what the mom has asked for.

Also, no one on my side of the family has ever suffered from allergies so I admit that I am not exactly sure how it works. My point to DH was, that if he IS suffering from terrible allergies, let's take him to a specialist and figure it out!!! Maybe he is allergic to cats (biomom has 3) and that is why he seems fine here???
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#5 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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Bless you for being such a caring and levelheaded mother to your DSS. I feel bad that you are caught in the middle with no power, and have no suggestions on that aspect.

As far as the Zyrtec is concerned, it's something that needs a few days worth to build up, like a pp stated. Zyrtec is essentially a prescription medication. It was prescription just a few months ago, but now it is OTC, mostly because the patent ran out, not for a medical reason, and the medication has been out there for long enough to build a track record. For that age of child, there isn't really much else besides Zyrtec or Claritin (which is also essentially a prescription medication that turned OTC because its patent ran out).

Also, for seasonal allergies, like pollen, grass, ragweed, etc, it's really important to start the allergy medication before the symptoms start, not after the symptoms begin. I'm with you, I don't like to give medication when not necessary, but my dd is on Zyrtec everyday for this reason. (But of course, yes we consulted with a pediatrician and an allergist.)

Now, does your DSS have allergies that make the Zyrtec medically necessary? Who knows? Maybe biomom has a good reason for giving the child Zyrtec that she is not articulating correctly? Maybe biomom has no good reason for giving the child Zyrtec? There is certainly no way to know because you don't have all the information. Seeing an allergist may or may not be necessary to determine that. Maybe getting your husband to have a face-to-face with the pediatrician would be enough.

I know that my dd's allergist says that once the first hard frost hits, we can try to stop the zyrtec for a week to see if symptoms return, and if they don't, we can back off until March, a little bit before things turn green outside. We ususally do Zyrtec year round, however, because dd also has an allergy to dust mites, which is year round.
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#6 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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I missed the part about the 3 cats at biomom's house. Of course, you're brilliant! You're probably right. I'll bet the cats are it, and I'll bet is has nothing to do with seasonal allergies.

In that case, yes, I think a trip to an allergist would be better than a trip to the pediatrician, simply because allergist is used to looking for things in patient's household. Allergist will start with an interview. Asking questions about DSS's house. I.e. pets or no pets. However, the interview questions will assume that DSS spends time in only one household, not in two households. Whoever takes the child to the allergist needs to plainly state to the allergist that DSS spends lots of time in two households, one of which has three cats at which there are allergic symptoms, and the other household that doesn't have cats.

Hopefully, allergist will have a clue and won't need to test for cat allergies. Honestly, the allergist will probably suggest that the best thing for DSS would be to get rid of cats. (That's why our household doesn't have any pets.) But that is probably not an option that biomom would entertain. So allergist can suggest things like keeping cats out of bedroom, and other things that might help. (I've forgotten what they were, you could probably google cat allergies to find out.)

Since DSS is at the cat house everyday, my guess is that DSS has symptoms everyday when he's at the cat house, so maybe the Zyrtec everyday is not unreasonable.

To be honest, I think your deduction about the cats has just saved yourself the cost of a trip to the allergist. Until your son is 6 or 7 and old enough for allergy shots, googling cat allergy lifestyle strategies and Zyrtec/Claritin is pretty much all an allergist can do. At that age, all an allergist can do is try to do the detective work to try to figure out what the child is allergic to, and you appear to have done it.
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#7 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 05:32 PM
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I'm not a stepmom so I can't comment on that part of it, though it really does sound like you are in a difficult position. But I have numerous allergies and DS (and DH) also has allergies so I can comment on the allergies.

As others have pointed out Zyrtec takes time to build in the bloodstream. If your stepson does have allergies, he may be fine at your house because his biomom has been giving him the meds and you are seeing the benefits. If you don't give him the meds, she may be seeing the negative results of that on the other end. I'm thinking of week at one house then switching type arrangements. It might also be that he doesn't need the meds at all. I just wouldn't assume that based on the information posted here.

I always advocate for a trip to the allergist if allergies are suspected. Here's why. I am allergic to a lot of stuff. One of those things is dustmites. If I do all of the things that reduce my dustmite exposure it reduces my overall allergy load and I am better able to tolerate other things I am allergic to, like pollen. If I don't do all those things, then when pollen season hits I am miserable. Without allergy testing it would look like a straight pollen allergy and I would be missing the benefits of reducing my exposure to dustmites.

I would also note that it isn't really possible to just implement a program to minimize exposure without knowing what someone is allergic to. If someone is allergic to pollen, you close windows, run a/c, etc. If someone is allergic to dustmites, you open windows. (If they are allergic to both, like I am, you weigh which allergy is worse and which strategy will be most helpful.)

On the point of getting rid of the cats at biomoms, my allergist advocated the opposite in my case. His view was that I was allergic to many things and there was no point in killing the family pets (or rehoming them) especially as children often feel like it is their "fault" if this happens. We kept the cats out of my bedroom and mom was good about dusting, sweeping, etc. I am so glad my parents didn't have the cats rehomed or put to sleep; I would have felt guilty forever.

When I suspected allergies in DS, we took him to an allergist. And even though it was a fairly miserable afternoon of scratch tests and a really unhappy 2 year old, it was very much worth it to have the information I need minimize his allergy syptoms over the long haul.

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#8 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I think you & your husband are right about unnecessary medication. Kids' livers or kidneys process all of that crap, the results of which may not be evident until adulthood. I'm sure that, legally, your husband is entitled to exercise his own judgment when the child is with him (unless he were refusing a prescribed medication). If your concern is that the mother might start sending him to daycare because she's upset about this,

#1 - My state has a "right of first refusal" clause, such that custodial parents aren't allowed to arrange childcare for kids if the non-custodial parent is available and willing to parent them. If your state doesn't promote that right, you should be contacting all your legislators about it!

#2 - Now that Mom has set the precedent of allowing your SS to spend this time with his father, I cannot imagine a rational judge siding with her in saying that the child must return to daycare because of their difference of opinion on an over-the-counter medicine.

Also, look online. Some OTC allergy medicine was recently in the news because it's permanently destroying people's sense of smell...

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#9 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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Yikes! I just read further and heard about the cats at Mom's house. You can't know for sure without testing, but to reject the idea that those could be a factor - or to imagine that just keeping them out of a child's room (when children live all over the house) - sounds like my relatives, who marvel over why their young kids have sinus infections all the time and refuse to consider that smoking in the house might be a factor!

FWIW, I am not allergic to anything, but if I so much as walk in a room with cats, I immediately have itchy eyes and if I stay in a house with indoor cats for an hour or so, my eyes will tear up and I'll have uncontrollable sneezing and a runny nose. Whereas, we have the world's biggest, fluffliest, hairiest dog and he doesn't irritate me a bit.

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#10 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

Thanks for all the information on allergies and the way that this medication works! I did follow the link to learn more about Zyrtec. It does make me feel better about giving it to him. Part of the reason that I think DSS mom is so concerned about his allergies is that she has A LOT of allergies herself. I can see her point that if he isn't getting the build up of medication from the constant Zyrtec and if he is allergic to something at her house that it could be a problem when we skip doses. I didn't realize that this was the way it worked. I still would really like for him to see an allergist. That way we could find out what (if anything) he was allergic to. Maybe he would just need it seasonally or maybe we could limit exposure to certain things. It would be really nice to know and it would solve the whole debate because (obviously) if he has seasonal allergies it would be better for him to have the medicine.

Oh and I explained how the Zyrtec worked to DH and he seems much more understanding.
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#11 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
I
#1 - My state has a "right of first refusal" clause, such that custodial parents aren't allowed to arrange childcare for kids if the non-custodial parent is available and willing to parent them. If your state doesn't promote that right, you should be contacting all your legislators about it!

#2 - Now that Mom has set the precedent of allowing your SS to spend this time with his father, I cannot imagine a rational judge siding with her in saying that the child must return to daycare because of their difference of opinion on an over-the-counter medicine.

Also, look online. Some OTC allergy medicine was recently in the news because it's permanently destroying people's sense of smell...
#1: ROFR does not include a step parent unless it is during the parenting time of that parent's partner. DH would have to be able to care for the child during that time and not the SM.

#2: Mom would have a case about removing the child from this situation if it isn't working. It is mom's parenting time. If she sent those meds to a DCP in their original container, they would aminister them. Also, it seems to have been discussed throught this thread already that Zyrtec is a daily allergy med and not one that is used symptomatically.

#3: The OTC "allergy med" that was discontinued was not an allergy med at all... it was Zicam- a cold remedy nasal swab. Not ever a prescription.

OP, I am glad you have somewhat resolved the situation. Allergies can be awful if they are not treated correctly.
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#12 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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Just wanted to add: If it makes him groggy, see if she's okay with giving it at bedtime.

Wife to a great DH, SAHM to 3 great kids
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#13 of 16 Old 07-17-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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My step son has an RX for zyrtec and it states to be given at night. Maybe talk to mom about giving it to him at night. It does help them fall asleep and stay asleep and when given daily it builds in the system and helps with the allergies during the day.
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#14 of 16 Old 07-17-2009, 02:54 AM
 
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My kids are all very allergic, and my DH (we are not a blended family) NEVER sees when the kids are miserable! Zyrtec is good if it's working on your DSS, and yes it seems like he's allergic to the cats. It's also best taken at night because it can make you groggy- so PLEASE talk to his mom and see if she can change when she gives it to him.

If his ped is not seeing the need, maybe HE does not know about the cats, or isn't really listening to what the MOM has to say(since she's the one seeing the symptoms). It's hard, sometimes when a condition is under controll- like here with the Zyrtec- to see exactly what the issue was to begin with!

Also, I would suggest that you look up any kind of medication your DSS is on, because maybe DH doesn't know exactly what it's for or why it's needed. Some Men often don't really connect the dots about sick kids and the meds they need. Not trying to be mean or upset any guys that DO get it. And sometimes the parent that sees the behavior doesn't do the greatest job of explaining to the OTHER parent what's going on! Communication is the key.....

Married to Michael and Mother of Jake 9, Jillianne 7, Jensen 5, Jacen 4. I've got severe osteoporosis, a fractured hip and chronic pain-so please be patient with me! Pagan,Crocheter,Reader,Homeschooler- that's me in a nutshell.

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#15 of 16 Old 07-17-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conifer View Post
Hi,

Thanks for all the information on allergies and the way that this medication works! I did follow the link to learn more about Zyrtec. It does make me feel better about giving it to him. Part of the reason that I think DSS mom is so concerned about his allergies is that she has A LOT of allergies herself. I can see her point that if he isn't getting the build up of medication from the constant Zyrtec and if he is allergic to something at her house that it could be a problem when we skip doses. I didn't realize that this was the way it worked. I still would really like for him to see an allergist. That way we could find out what (if anything) he was allergic to. Maybe he would just need it seasonally or maybe we could limit exposure to certain things. It would be really nice to know and it would solve the whole debate because (obviously) if he has seasonal allergies it would be better for him to have the medicine.

Oh and I explained how the Zyrtec worked to DH and he seems much more understanding.
For a person who hasn't any previous experience with allergies, you are very smart. Everything you have written is absolutely correct. If I had a situation like this, but had an actual say in the matter, I would be at the allergist office too.

The problem is that neither the biomom nor your DH seems to see it your way, and that you don't have the authority to just pick up and take DSS to an allergist. They seem like reasonable people, and you have such a logical way of expressing perfectly valid concerns. Do you think you would be able to persuade them both to take DSS to an allergist without antagonizing them?

If not, then perhaps you could make a consultation appointment with an allergist, don't take DSS with you, and describe your situation to the allergist? Allergist would naturally be reluctant to discuss specifics without examining DSS, but if you stress that you are just asking general questions about airborne environmental allergies, I'm sure they will be happy to discuss what kinds of things to look for and simple natural lifestyle changes that you can make at home to help your DSS. At the very least, an allergist can explain in general terms how zyrtec works and alleviate some of your concerns even more.

I think you might want to keep a log to figure out when (what season of the year and what time of day), where, and under what situations DSS has allergy symptoms so that when you eventually can bring your DSS to the allergist, the allergist has information to help him/her figure out what is going on. That can often be a lot more useful than allergy testing alone.
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#16 of 16 Old 07-20-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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I agree. It's for her and your DH to work out. No matter how much you hate it, it's not up to you. That is SO hard too. I have BTDT.

Samantha, Student, wife to my best friend (1.30.09) Mama to three beautiful daughters and and a handsome little son
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