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 Post subject: Which allergen was it?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:14 am
Posts: 7
Location: California
Do you ever have a hard time figuring out what allergen is causing the flare-up of symptoms in your child? Especially younger children who cannot communicate what they are feeling? How hard do you try to retrace your steps to find the offending substance?

When my son had mostly food allergies and latex allergy, it was easier to figure out what may have caused the restless night, or increased itchiness. As he develops more allergies - dust, cats, grass - how am I supposed to know what triggered his symptoms?

I loved the control I had over the food allergies. A flare-up of symptoms was easy to attribute to a new food or some type of dietary change or contact with a latex product. Now, however, I wonder- is it extra pollen in the air, the neighbor's cat, or something else? I also can't help but think he has more allergies than have not yet been diagnosed. I will insist on a broader variety of foods to be tested at his next appointment. In the meantime it is frustrating to see him continue to suffer and not know what is causing it.

The allergist's attitude seems to be "treat the symptoms" but I can't stand that approach. If I can prevent the symptoms, I want to at least try. But, maybe I have to let go of some of that control as he is developing environmental allergies.

Just wondering what you do?

Anne ( 3yr. son w/ allergies: dairy, egg, wheat, peanut, dust, grass, cats, latex and ??)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Do I ever have a hard time? Honestly, the last month or so has been a nightmare. Luckily we figured it out. I can not imagine how aweful it would be to still be living that nightmare right now.

Anne, my daughter was insanely itchy. After more than one month we finally discovered it was the unscented, hypoallergenic baby dove we were using. Apparently it contains almond oil and they do not list ingredients. We had always used the bar form, and always had some eczema, but when we switched to the liquid bodywash her eczema got worse and she scratched constantly (all night long, mommy very sleep deprived). I am currently throwing out numerous body products (mostly mine) because they do contain my kids allergens and are listed in scientific terms like "juglans regia" for walnuts :roll: . I have requsted ingredient info from the makers of our hand soap and dish soap. I was pretty stunned how many different food-based ingredients can end up in body products.

Her eczema is better. Last week, I was sleep deprived, and frustrated. It was apparently the body products this whole time. I switched to aveeno for the kids and my bodywash (mine contains wheat, we do not have wheat allergy), and nutragena (sp?) (for me, for face wash) they are made by johnson and johnson and have their ingredients listed.

I have a mild laytex allergy myself (itching if I wear gloves etc., nothing overly serious...yet). I learned recently that food manufacturers have employees wear laytex golves while making and packaging foods. The granola bars we buy http://www.nonuttin.com/ are made by employees wearing non-laytex gloves. They don't guarantee the bars to be 100% free of traces of wheat because they use oats, and oats and wheat share farm equiptment, but they are guaranteed free of milk,eggs and nuts.

I am assuming that other companies must be wearing laytex gloves while handling food.


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 Post subject: isolating allergens
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:30 pm
Posts: 134
I share your greif. The food allergies, are reasonably easy to isolate especially if you do all of the cooking. My youngest 21months has been really struggling as of late, he looks awful from his allergic shiners and rashy face. My allergist also is a more of a treat the symptoms kind of guy. I feel like some days it makes me crazy trying to figure out if the hepa filter is not working or if we need to have the furnace cleaned. My son is nut, fish, dairy, eggs, peas, and cats and dogs. However the allergist is not certain he will get clear results from further environmental testing. Has anyone else been told the same thing.
Stephanie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:14 am
Posts: 7
Location: California
It is enough to drive a mom crazy. I think my son wakes at night not so much to go potty, but to have a chance to SCRATCH! I pull down his PJ's and first he scratches his back, his bottom and legs. I finally get him on the potty and he scratches and scratches and scratches. His eyes are closed, he's bobbing back and forth and yet he keeps on scratching. Poor guy! He even points to where he needs me to scratch. He won't get of the pooty until he's done scratching, who cares about what "business" needed to be taken care of.

I'm trying zyrtec again. He has always experienced not so pleasant side effects from the meds. He certainly does NOT get sleepy with benedryl. And almost like clockwork, he has a complete emotional breakdown about 3 hours after taking atarax. Apparently one of the side effects is irritability. He's given that term a whole new meaning. So far zyrtec is being tolerated, a little more drowsy, but seems just as itchy. That's what I don't understand. He still itches with all the meds. Even hydrocortisone. That hepls a little, temporarily.

I think he has additional food allergies because he has a red ring of a rash around his bottom. I've read this is a sign of allergy, that it indicates an irritated GI tract. Seems logical. So it makes me wonder if I should be vacuuming the entire house 5 or 6 times a week to combat the dust allergy when the itchiness and other symptoms might be food related.

I'm willing to do anything to help, but want to make sure all my energy is used for beneficial, worthwhile things. I know there are no clearcut answers, but oh! how frustrating!

I always laugh when I think about what the allergist told me. His way of making me feel better about the itchiness was to let me know that those problems usually resolve around 5 - 6 yrs, just when asthma related problems tend to develop. I truly think he was trying to make me feel better :shock:

Anyway, I'm realizing I've got a little venting to do after dealing with this for a few years on my own! Thanks for listening and sharing! I'm going upstairs to read all the soap labels.

Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
We had a discussion about body products recently. Here is the link
http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/vie ... c&start=15
it was under treenut allergies so I am not sure if you will read it. Anyways, a great link was posted here that shows the scientific names for nuts, and other foods. The scientific names can legally still be used in cosmetics so you have to watch ingredients very closely.

For example it says "Triticum aestivum, T. durum and other Triticum species." are wheat...honestly, who would ever know that!!!

Also, diapers, pullups, wipes and creams can also contain allergens and irritants. My oldest daughter got a rash from huggies diapers and not pampers...strange, but the absorbant material, and scent must be made of somethng.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 688
Location: Cobourg, ON
Hi Anne

My daughter received a great deal of relief from using vaseline to moisturize her skin. We latter it on after bath at night and in the morning before she dresses. We also wear only cotton on her to help with irritation. Good luck.
Kate


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 936
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi Anne and welcome to the forum!

I feel so badly for your son, and for you, in reading your posts... it really sounds like your son is feeling so uncomfortable and it's agony for a parent to feel at a loss as to what to do. I don't know if this will help you or not, especially if this is a new allergy, but I'll share this with you in case it does help you. (Our 4 yr old son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seed, egg, fish, sunflower seed, mustard seed, cottonseed, poppy seed, green peas, pineapple, cat & horse.) Our son had extremely aggravated, itchy skin and had terrible eczema when he was a baby/young toddler. One of the doctors we saw recommended Aveeno oil to be used instead of soap and shampoo in the bath. We've used this on his skin ever since, and it has provided amazing relief. We never use any soap on his body, and no shampoo - only the Aveeno oil. We use the Aveeno oil on his body just like it's a liquid body soap, and then we just put a couple of drops in our hand to wash his hair. You might wonder how this oil can clean the body, but it DOES! My son's skin is now silky soft and his hair is clean and he is NOT itchy! We slather Moisturelle cream on his body when he gets out of the bath, and we apply the Moisturelle every night before bed. If he has the odd little patch of eczema, we use a little cortisone.

If you try the Aveeno oil, and it doesn't work, or if some other body oil isn't providing relief, then maybe it is a food or other type of allergen. But I would try to determine if this is the cause of this discomfort before trying to investigate a new allergen. I do really feel for what you're going through - we've had bouts of this with our son, and I know how agonizing it can be for the parents, and how frustrating it is to try and find answers.

Best of luck! Please keep us posted!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
My older son (he's now 14) had the worst eczema when he was 2-3-4 and I did too. My little finger joint was so inflamed i could not bend it for two years. Each night I was up 3-4-1000 times either to scratch me or him. Our sheets were bloody every morning. It was agony. Here are the things that helped us:

I went to a GREAT chldrens dermatologist at Children's Hospital (but it took me about 5 different specialists to find one who could help us). I do not remember her name but she works at Childrens Hosp in Vancouver and she is Irlsh. She was the only one who seemed to "get" how debilitating this was for our whole family. I was so sleep deprived I could not function properly I was so bitchy from the allergies. Does anyone else have that were when you are having an allergic reaction it is like someone is stimulating your brain in a not nice way? When I am having a reaction (I only have environmental allergies), I feel like someone is prodding my brain and I feel like screaming.

Instead of soap we used a product called Emulsifying Ointment made by Urist. It is like vaseline but it is water soluble so you take a couple of table spoonfulls and melt it in a cup of water in the microwave, then add it to bath water and soak in it for 15 minutes every day. Only bathe in luke warm water, not too hot, not too cold. It makes a real mess in your bath, but it is worth it. My pharmasist special ordered it for me, it is not that expensive, about $15 a tub, but it made a HUGE, HUGE difference.

She prescribed a pretty strong hydocortisone, called Ultravate, but we only had to use it a couple of times and it would clear up really horrible open eczema. She also prescribed Fucidin for the eczema that was red cos that is infected.

She taught us to "pinch", not scratch the eczema. I teach all the kids I see scratching to do that, cos you get the same relief, but you do not break the skin, so you do not get infections or make the eczema worse. Unfortunately, the most insane itching seems to happen at night when sleeping, and I still scratch in my sleep.

I never use soap, I only use SpectoDerm, which is available in most pharmacies. It is a skin cleanser.

There was a period when I could not wear any make-up at all, but now I can wear it occasionally. I reacted really badly to a deep red lipstick by MAC which caused a rash for about 2 years. It also caused a permanent wrinkle on top of my lip :cry: :cry: . I have so much make up that I can not wear I could open up my own store. Recently I have tried Physician's Formula make up, and it is the best I have found. The foundation and powder are made with minerals. The lipsticks are wearable by me. I would love it if anyone else knows other brands I might try.

The other thing that really helped my eczema was visiting a Chinese Doctor. I am a pretty traditional kind of gal, but there is definitely something to it. The years when I could not bend my finger were horrible, cos not only was my finger useless (unless I was sipping tea with my pinky outstretched!!), it was a painful, cracked almost to the bone, oozy, throbbing, constantly itchy area - if I could have had it amputated I would not have hesitated. It drove me insane!! Anyway, one day I make an appointment on my lunch hour with a Chinese Dr., he took my pulse in my wrists, looked at my tongue, gave me pills and ointment. I immediately put on the ointment and by the time I was back at work my finger was seeping liquid, the inflamation was leaving and I could bend it. It totally cured all my eczema and it did not come back for about 4 years.

When it came back, I had forgotten the Dr.'s name and he had moved, so I went to a different Chinese Dr., and he gave me the most awful tea to drink. It did not seem to work. Then I remembered the other Dr.'s name and went back to him, and once again the ointment cured me. One of the little guys in my class at school has the worst eczema I have ever seen, and he is getting Chinese medicine and it has made a huge difference. His is so bad he had been hospitalized for a few days with it.

My older son is going through puberty right now and he came home from school one day and his facial skin had gone bright red and eczema-y in just a few hours, the Chinese ointment cured him too.

I have a really hard time with moisturizers too, cos I react to all of them. A good line I have found is Avene, the moisturizer is OK for me, and Complex 15 is OK too, but it is a little lighter in feel then I like.

Another thing that has helped is eating a can of salmon, not farmed, everyday, for the Omega 3's. They moisturize from the inside. I read that book "The Perricone Promise" and his diet is supposed to be an anti-inflamatory diet, and I figured that allergies are really an inflamation, and it does seem to work, but I fall off the wagon on every diet, so I am not as consistant as i could be, but I ate salmon every day for about two weeks and it did really help.

Reading the previous posts made me remember how horrible my life was then - my heart goes out to you - it is true hell - but ours got better and we only have an occasional flare up now, I hope the same happens for you :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Pamela Lee, I emailed your post to my sister---she used to have horrible eczema. It is a lot better, but she still has flare ups and some underlying problems. Those are very helpful tips. I don't have eczema anymore, but I used to get it on my hands in the winter. I can't imagine being that itchy all over----I used to sit on my hands to stop from scratching! My mother tried to get me to use cold packs....but sometimes I couldn't stand it and would put my hands under very very hot water for momentary relief (but that helps it spread).

Do you know what was in that Chinese herbal ointment you used?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Hi,

I have just signed up and this is all new to me. So please be patient with me.
Pamela Lee, I too am very interested in the chinese doctor you visited. I am from Coquitlam,B.C.
My cousins son has very bad exzema and it hurts me to see him this way. She has taken him to many doctors but nothing seems to help. She even has parents putting her down as a terrible mother because she can't control the exzema. She was just telling me this morning that she does not know what else to do. I think it's amazing how I came across this topic just when she was giving up hope.

Sil


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:22 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Georgia
Anne
I second all of the above posts from Saskmommyof2, Julie, and others. Saskmommyof2 just went through all this with her daughter in the last couple of weeks. (see her link)
I was itching terribly at bedtime, and even during the day. I knew it must be something touching my skin, because I would get relief from a shower. We switched to Tide Free or All Free and Clear a "free" softener such as Downy Free(sheets or liquid). (And be sure to do an extra rinse; I never put as much detergent as is recommended but you wouldn't believe how much soap is left in the laundry until we purchased a front-loader with a window in the door.)

You said he is also allergic to dust. Is this dust mites? If so, the environmental controls for his bedroom can be very effective. See http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=689
I itch terribly sometimes from just sitting on the few carpeted area we have left in our house.

Hope you find the right combination,
Daisy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:22 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Georgia
Sil
Welcome. :)
How nice of you to be researching information to help your cousin. Lots of great info here. Happy searching.

Daisy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Hi Daisy,

Thank you for your reply.

I know what it is like to be at your wits end trying everything and not finding a solution so if I can help. Why not?
I have 2 sons that are anaphylactic to peanuts/nuts and legumes. They are also allergic to dust mites and who knows what else. So I am very interested in all sorts of stuff because the more I know the better I am at diagnosing or solving problems or better yet avoiding the situation.

Sil


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:14 am
Posts: 7
Location: California
Thanks to everyone for all the advice!

We switched quite a while ago to free and clear laundry detergent, and eventually stopped using any fabric softener. I feel sorry for our house guests when they use our towels. :wink: We have a front loader and I was told by a customer service rep. to not use the new "small and mighty" unless it was the "h e" type. She did not know why, but was definite about not doing that - so we switched back to regular free and clear - she said that is fine. FYI

We have a stack of laminate flooring in our garage ready to be installed. I'm hoping that will help with whatever dust mite issues he might have. Finding the time...ugh!

I usually don't use any soap on him during his bath, and when I do it's Cetephil. Then it's a good rub down with vaseline. When he was really little I even emptied the tub and refilled so that he had a "rinse cycle."

Does it make a difference that his skin looks perfectly normal/healthy? He has no patches that are red or dry or broken out in any type of rash...he just itches. Does this mean anything? Internal vs. external allergens?

We see the pedi. next week - see what she thinks too.

Thanks again for all the hellp. We'll keep trying different things and see what works. And I'm sure as soon as this resolves, something else will take it's place. Oh, the joys of parenthood! :D

Take care- Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
When My niece was younger she suffered from exzema so I took her to an allergist and had her tested for allergies. She was allergic to pork, chocolate and dust mites. Her parents did not understand any of it so they prevented her from eating chocolate for a while (probably more because she was on the heavier side) but when the exzema started to clear and they were tired of preventing her from eating chocolate it all came back.

She is now older and has outgrown it for the most part and is more careful with her skin. But I also remember the family Doctor recommending rosewater and glycerine in her bath and rubbing it on after a bath as well. I know she liked this because it smelled so pretty. I'm not sure if it helped or not because when she finished the bottle I bought her her parents never replaced it with another.

Sil


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