Monday, September 28, 2009

Jackson's Allergies

A few weeks ago, I took Jackson to the allergist, because his eyes were really red and puffy and it was right at the time that Derek's allergies were acting up. I was expecting a simple prescription for Benedryl (since it isn't available OTC for infants anymore...), but I got so much more than I bargained for!

Instead, Jackson had a food allergy test, where they pricked his back with about 16 different food allergens to see which would cause a reaction. It was tough for me to watch him get pricked so many times, but it was only frustrating to Jackson because I had to hold him still for them to do it. Jackson is allergic to eggs, tree nuts, and soy. His allergy eggs and soy will cause an skin reaction, such as welts and rashes, He seems to tolerate both eggs and soy when they are mixed in a product like cakes and cereal, so we plan to mainly stay away from direct intake of like scrambled eggs and mainly soy products, like the SoyJoy bars, etc.

The food allergy test-- the red welts are the
reactions to the nuts, eggs, and soy.

Jackson's allergy to tree nuts is much more prevelent and the blood results showed came in last week. His highest allergy is to cashews and is ranked as a class 5 allergy. Other nuts he is allergic to include walnut and pecan, but the doctor strongly mentioned that he avoid all nuts to be on the safe side. And although the skin test didn't show, the blood test discovered a peanut allergy (separate from tree nuts, because technically, it's not a nut). Since the tiniest trace of nut can cause such a severe reaction, it is important to not only avoid food with nuts, but also those labeled "produced in the same facility that uses tree nuts". Fortunately, food companies are required to label products and often the allergen information is in bold underneath the ingredients.

Unlike the egg and soy allergies, the reaction to a nut allergy is anaphylactic, which means the swelling in the mouth, tongue, etc. can ultimately block the ability to breathe. The doctor prescribed an Epi-Pen that is now with Jackson wherever he goes. For those of you who spend time with Jackson, I ask that you watch this quick video on how to administer the Epi-Pen in case of an emergency.

Along with the allergy diagnosis, Jackson was also diagnosed with asthma due to his past wheezing and also family history (not mine!). :) We were also given an "plan of attack" for the asthma and just the name of that alone, sent me into shock as I didn't even know we should be worried about asthma at all. We have an inhaler (with a contraption thingy) to use every day- two puffs. Then, when he has a little wheezing or coughing then we have another type of inhaler to use. And if that doesn't solve the issue, then we have liquid Prednisone.

Jackson's daily asthma medicine- Qvar

It has been a few weeks since our original appointment and all of this has had some time to sink in and doesn't feel so overwhelming. The doctor has hopes that Jackson will grow out of several of his allergies (eggs, soy, peanut butter) and it is possible to grow out of the tree nut allergy, but it isn't as likely. But we still have hopes. I am so glad that we were able to find out all of this information before we had a major crisis! Fortunately, Jackson's pediatrician recommended early on to avoid nuts, peanut butter, and egg until age 1 because they are the most common and I am so glad that we did!!

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