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Our story of discovery

721 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  sarahariz
As posted as an intro on another board - copied to here.

I just found this site today. I was actually on the net googling "Equate Children's Vitamins" to see if there was any information on them being dairy free or not, and stumbled here along the way to my answer.

My name is Lea. I'm a 28-year old Canadian, SAHM. My husband is Brad. We have 2 children - "Boo" (2002) and "Bug" (2004). Our story is about our son "Boo".

Almost 3 years old now, Boo still nurses a couple of times a day. When we discovered his allergy to milk he was only 11 months old and pretty much exclusively nursing still. Thankfully. I honestly believe his dedication to nursing is the only reason I can still hold him in my arms every day.

The date : Aug 14, 2003
The weather : Hot, humid, sticky, blah all around.
The mission : Find and but a washable swim diaper for Boo.

We've done a couple of stops and not found a suitable swimsuit yet for our very chunky little monkey boy, and we're all hot and sticky and starting to get cranky. It's mid-way between lunch and supper and nobody's really hungry, but we're all thirsty.

So I sit down and start to nurse Boo in the car while my husband goes into the Reid's Dairy store that is 2 doors down from the children's store we had just been in. Boo finishes his drink and we all get buckled in and head out to the next location on our list.

We had been planning on waiting until Boo was a full year old before introducing dairy to him, but as his first birthday was less than 2 weeks away, I didn't see how a simple TASTE of my milkshake could bring him any harm. Afterall, it was cold and he was hot. So, I touch my finger to my straw and get a single DROP of milkshake on my finger and put this onto Boo's lips. He licks his lips and smiles. I've almost finished my drink, but give him a second drop of milkshake from my finger before it's gone. By this time, we're at the next store anyhow, and my drink is gone.

Now for the complications. We get into the store and I notice that Owen's face is a little red - especially around the mouth. I point it out to my hubby. Well, okay we think he might be a bit sensitive to the milk, we'll hold off a little longer before we try again - and start to look around.

Just as we find the swimwear, I take another look at Boo and he's beyond red - he's full of hives and swelling up too.

Before I can get my husband's attention - darkness - the power went off.

I get hubby and ask a clerk where the nearest walk-in clinic is. It's about 4 blocks away - I take off RUNNING with Boo. I knew in my heart what was going on, and I was scared. My son was swelling up, he was red and covered with hives - all within less than 5 minutes of his first exposure to milk - ANAPHYLACTIC shock.

In hindsight, I should have told them to call 911, but didn't think of that at the time.

The traffic is stalled, and my hubby gets to the clinic just a few steps ahead of me - it's CLOSED !!! But there is a Shopper's DrugMart right beside it. Because of the power outage, the staff is outside saying they cannot let me in. But I turned Boo to look at them and was literally pulled back to the pharmasict.

The pharmasict grabbed a bottle of Children's Benadryl and gave Boo 2 Tablespoons full (his dose is 1 TEASPOON) and told me to get my butt to the hospital. She said she would call an ambulance, but it wouldn't get there on time because the traffic was gridlocked for miles around - the power was out through most of Ontario and several States as well !

It took us 25 minutes to get to the hospital, and they tried to slow me down at the doors with their SARS precautions - Boo's breathing was getting laboured and his hives were spreading and getting worse, and they wanted me to put a mask on him and read and sign papers !!! And they refused entrance to the hospital to my husband who had gone to park the car.

I have to say that going into an ER with a toddler who's O2 stats are in the low 70s and is covered with huge red hives and swelling (his eyes were slits by now) is a sure fire way to get preferential treatment - we were taken into an exam room immediately and a doc was screamed for.

Boo was given an oral dose of epinepherine, which I have never heard tell of. The doctor said that due to the huge amount of Benedryl in his system, an injection would overload his system and cause more problems at that time. Boo's O2 stats were monitored for what felt like forever (3 hours maybe) - and we were released with a referal to a pediatrician when they had climbed to 95% and stayed there for an hour. We were told to come back at the first sign of breathing difficulty, but it took a couple of days for the hives to go away fully.

I don't think Brad or I slept for a few nights after that - we were on high alert. When we got power back on long enough, I did a lot of research and we totally cleared out our cupboards.

Learning to shop again was tricky, but it's old-hat to us now.

We did end up seeing a pediatrician, and an allergist, and now carry an EpiPen wherever we go. We're still on alert all the time, but have not had to use the EpiPen yet. We have given Benedryl a few times as a prophylactic measure though - when we aren't 100% certain that he's been exposed, or when we know he has had contact exposure without ingestion.

It's been a scary road, but we've learned a LOT.
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wow, what a story! That must have been so so scary!

what kind of milkshake was it? chocolate, strawberry, mango...?

I'm wondering if it's the flavouring component rather than the milk he reacted to? Because he had most likely been exposed to dairy proteins via your breastmilk, though not in the same format as he would by consuming milk directly. And anaphylactic reactions to dairy would be very rare, though such reactions to flavouring ingredients would be more common. And there may have been soy lecithin in the ice cream or flavouring that is highly allergenic (soy is related to peanut).
Not that there's anything wrong with avoiding dairy but it would be a good idea to make sure it's not something else? Of course if you've done that already, than just ignore little ol' me.
(a pharmacist who is shocked that a pharmacist would give your toddler *six times* the recommended dose!!! I can see double but that much is just asking for trouble...)
It was a "vanilla" milkshake.

His reaction is to cows milk protein. Proven both by allergy testing and subsequent reactions.

As for the pharmacist - I honestly think she panicked or used the tablespoon measure accidentally instead of the teaspoon measure. I didn't know exactly how much she gave him until we were at the hospital - I'd stuck the measuring spoon thingy in my pocket and brought it out when asked by the doc if he'd had any meds - yep doc - 2 of THESE full. Doc was unimpressed I think, but I didn't care how impressed or unimpressed someoe was at the time - I just wanted my baby better.

He slept like a log that night though - which was odd. He's still not consistently sleeping through the night now.
Okay - yeah, about the breastmilk. I am lactose intolerant, get very bad cramps and such from more than a small amount of dairy myself, so seldom ate it at all. He seems to tolerate my small amount of dairy intake through my milk with no reactions - not sure if my body breaks it down enough, or if what he is reacting to is specific to him ingesting it himself.

Originally Posted by LizaBear
As for the pharmacist - I honestly think she panicked or used the tablespoon measure accidentally instead of the teaspoon measure.
ok, I'll give my colleague the benefit of the doubt since I am absolutely certain that she meant well!


Originally Posted by LizaBear
He slept like a log that night though - which was odd. He's still not consistently sleeping through the night now.
I'll bet he slept all night! On top of all the Benadryl, to have to run around like that in order to get treatment...
I remember that blackout and thinking how glad I was that I wasn't there. My DD's dad and a good friend of mine live there. I wonder how many other people from that corner of the world have stories like yours - of such near-catastrophes due to the power outage. Wow... I'm so glad you shared your story.
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Just an add-on.

A few days after, when we'd had time to calm down and process a little - we called the local radio stations and sent a public thank you to the staff at that Shopper's Drug Mart for going above and beyond the call of duty and in that likely saving our son's life.

We also sent a card directly to the store saying thank you.
Thank you for sharing this. My dd gets ezcema from my breastmilk if I eat dairy. Twice she has gotten the hives all over her body-once from the odor of ammonia after I cleaned the cat litter box, and the second time I'm not sure from what. We had been at a health food store eating and I let her have 2 alfalfa sprouts and some shredded carrot from my salad (w/ no dressing), then I let her play with my tiny plastic cup that the salad dressing, lemon tahini, had come in. I had tried to wipe most of it out, but there was still some in there. By the time we got home she had hives on her face and one eye was swollen shut.

I think I will get some benadryl for safe measure.

I'm sure glad everything turned out all right for your little boy. How frightening!
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