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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

Just wanted to see what people think and what your experiences/advice are.

We took dd2 to the allergist for the SPT this week. She had severe eczema/rash/cradle cap reactions to dairy as an infant (and soy too) -- which lasted 'til this past summer (she turned three in September). We trialed at six months, 12 months, 2 years, and 3 years(ish obviously since we checked before she was three). Otherwise strictly avoided -- and the most recent introduction seemed to go fine. No obvious reactions of any sort. She doesn't like milk, but likes cheese and hot cocoa and foods with dairy in them.

So she's been on dairy and soy since July (7 months). About two months ago, I started to notice some very mild eczema on her arm, and about a month ago, saw that the cradle cap was back. She has been getting little eczema patches on her back and her bottom, too. We decided, rather than do an elimination diet for a couple months monitoring for changes, since eczema can take so much longer to clear up - we'd just take her to the allergist.

Her tests came back negative, not even questionable. He says that this is just 'regular' eczema, she doesn't have adequate proteins in her skin to protect it and then gets a bacterial infection under her skin. He told us - daily 15-20 minute baths, pat dry, slather with Vanicream lotion.

So ....
A. Are there any reasons I should be concerned about Vanicream? I've looked at its ingredients and it doesn't look bad ....?

B. There's a part of me which wonders what would happen if I pulled all dairy for SJ anyway. Maybe try that for a month and see what happens -- whether this is a manifestation of an intolerance instead of an allergy? Any thoughts on this? Dh is not very enthusiastic about this, as it would mean that other than milk, our whole family would be dairy-free because it would just be too difficult to explain why she couldn't have dairy anymore to her.

Oddly enough, her eczema seemed to clear up a bit while we were gone (it was a five day trip during which we saw our allergist). She was still having dairy during the trip....
 

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Eczema can be from an intolerance or allergy (seasonal or food). Were you away from anything like regular laundry detergent or a pet while you were away and it cleared up?

She's almost 3.5 yo? She can certainly understand why she can't have it and other people can. My dd2 is 4.5yo. She's been restricted since 1yo, and we pulled more foods when she was 2.5yo. You can explain it in simple terms (these foods aren't good for you) or you can explain it in bigger terms (milk is okay for some people, but not for you, because it gives you this itchy rash. If you want the itchy rash to go away, then we need to take you off milk. It's not forever. We can do different things to make it better, so that maybe next year, we can try dairy again and see if you can have it without getting a rash [and do some gut healing in the meantime]). My DH and DD1 can eat anything. DS (9yo) is restricted from some foods, and DD2 is restricted from other foods. Just because it might be hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing. But that's just my opinion. A lot of people don't want to change their lifestyle, that's why the pharmaceutical industry makes so much money every year! And everyone looks at their family situation and decides what's best for their family.

If it were me, since she's had a problem with dairy in the past, I'd pull it again to see if it's the milk. Tell her you're doing a science experiment for a month. And every day, take a picture of one particular spot of eczema. Print it out and put it on a poster so you can see the changes. Ask her if she thinks it's getting better or worse. Make it fun. She just might surprise you. If you do decide to do that, some dairy free meals would be in order for the short term so that it didn't seem like as much of an effort for her, given her age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One of the reasons we went to the allergist first, instead of doing an elimination first, is that it was very difficult to get her to eat dairy - and she's still not keen on legumes. She spent quite awhile saying, "No, that's not for me," which she had heard from us before then when she'd want to eat something that had an allergen in it. She definitely inclines towards the 'picky toddler' in her eating habits -- we try to eat lots of whole grains, healthy fruits and vegetables etc. and I don't want to remove foods from her diet if we don't have to (it will take a long time to convince her to try different substitutes again) - she is very stubborn (gets it from her parents
). Taking away cheese as a snack between meals, and macaroni and cheese (her favorite), would be tough - I don't see any reason to put her through that while we're all chowing down on it (although I wouldn't be, since she still nurses). I guess that's the same way we've handled eggs with Ina - we just don't have them in the house, don't have meals that involve actual eggs, we have the substitutes instead because why would we eat them when she can't have them? I think when kids are older, it's easier (they aren't going to be wanting to try them, or trying to share them with siblings who can't have them, or etc.).

I was hoping that since it didn't show up 'til five months after she'd started dairy/soy, that it wasn't related. And would a dog allergy wait 'til after three years of age to manifest itself? We've had our dog the whole time .... we didn't test for a dog allergy, just dairy/soy at the office. The hotel sheets were different detergent, but all our clothes were from home so washed in detergent from home so that couldn't be a culprit. Still the same shampoo/body washes (California Baby) ..... humidity level would have been a bit higher there than in our house, because it's higher there than here ....

At the same time, I know much eczema does relate to a food/environmental allergy. It's just that in the past, her eczema from dairy would kick in literally within a day or two of my ingestion of dairy - less if it was her ingestion. So for it to wait five months before starting to show (and then just in a very small skin patch on her wrist)?? Maybe I'm just trying to be in denial....
 

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Let me just tell you my story so where I'm coming from.

DS was born. Two weeks later he started projectile vomiting during/after every meal. I took dairy out of my diet. He stopped. When he started solids, every time he had something with soy in it, his face would turn bright red and he'd scream/wake all night long, so we cut it out. At 13 months old, he had an in-office challenge at the GI's for both. He was fine. He started eating it. At 18 months old he got a stomach virus. After that was done, he would wake 12-14 times a night screaming. About a month into I thought, what if it's the milk/soy again, so I pulled it. He went back to sleeping. Right after he turned 3, he got into some ice cream and was fine, tried him on soy, and he was fine, so it went back into the diet. So on and so on (he's 9yo now). So my first advice is always to remove it for a couple of weeks to see if that's the culprit again. It's free and it doesn't hurt. Allergists are helpful when it's an allergy, not so much when it's an intolerance.

My DD1 didn't have environmental allergies until she was 5 or 6. She never seemed to have any more trouble at one place than another. After a year of Zyrtec, I decided to have her tested to see if it was only going to be a certain time of the year, or if I could do anything about the allergens. Turned out she was highly allergic to cats, which we don't have but most of our relatives do (much to DH's chagrin, since he's got allergy-induced asthma with cats as the worst trigger). And that didn't start until she was about 7yo. So yes, it's possible to become allergic to a pet that you've had. I might get that checked before I pulled a food, if she's already got a food issue.

I do understand that you don't want it to be food as a cause. Believe me. But isn't it better to know?
 

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My son's cat allergy manifested at about age five. He was negative on all prior tests and had no environmental indoor allergies (no winter environmental allergy signs) until last Feb. This past skin prick he was positive to cat. She's leaving in three weeks which makes us all sad.

In my experience eczema is allergy related. It's curious she did better away from home. I assume she was eating dairy those days? I'd be thinking environmental (like dog).
 

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I just wanted to first say that we've used most of the Vanicream line since almost all of us have allergic/sensitive skin & eczema here. I've been very pleased with it. It's one of only 2 soap type products that I can use on myself & their sunscreen was wonderful for my girls who reacted to all other brands.

As for the allergy testing, it's not 100% accurate. My youngest daughter was very allergic to soy. If she ate anything with a trace of soy in it, her face swelled up, turned red, hives, the works. She couldn't even have Rice Dream rice milk since it's processed on the same equipment as their soy products. Her allergy testing showed no soy allergy at all. The same thing happened with me, my mom & my middle daughter. Allergy testing picks up IgE mediated allergies, not all allergies are IgE mediated & therefore, allergy testing misses those.

If elimination diets show an allergy but testing doesn't, I'd go with the elimination diet & avoid that food.
 
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