Advice on 3 Year-old with Many Allergies

Updated on December 18, 2009
D.B. asks from Downers Grove, IL
18 answers

Hi Moms. I am writing on behalf of my sister, who just learned through allergy testing that her 3-year-old daughter is highly allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, and dog dander, and moderately allergic to wheat and soy. She was aware of the allergies to eggs, peanuts, and dogs, but was unaware of the others. Unfortunately her pediatrician did not give her much direction on what to do now. She has tried to make an appt with an allergist and a nutritionist, but is on a waiting list. I thought I'd solicit any advice that I can while she is waiting. She has two other children and one on the way, so she is struggling with knowing how to feed everyone!

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Wow...thanks to everyone who responded. There is some great information here and I am passing it all on to my sister. I love being part of the mamasource community!

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M.S.

answers from Chicago on

I have a friend who's child has the same type of allergies. She really has a hard time finding foods, recipes, etc. She did find a good website www.foodallergymama.com It has recipes for people with allergies and according to her they aren't too bad.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

D., there is a Yahoo Group (FoodLab) that trades recipes for families with food allergies and intolerances. It's a little overwhelming, but she may be able to mine the files and archives to find recipes and substitutes. There are also some good cookbooks that use substitutes for the eight most common allergens. My son (almost 2) is allergic to eggs. The allergist we see recommends no eggs, nuts, peanuts, fish or seafood in order to increase his chances of growing out of the egg allergy and preventing new allergies. He said many most kids grow out of allergies, often at about age 5 or so, though I've read it's rare to grow out of peanut allergies.

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K.J.

answers from Chicago on

Tell her to hang in there. My son is two and is allergic to Milk, Eggs, Soy, Oats, White Potatoes, Cats, and dogs. We found out when he was just 6 months old. I was breastfeeding and he was getting those items through me. He had terrible excema rashes. So...we both had to go on a new diet and I thought for sure I was never going to be able to handle it. I saught out info on internet and began reading label after label after label. I was very overwhelmed at first. However, as I began to read labels, it got easier and easier. I found things at Whole Foods and Trader Joes that were great for my son and me. Yummy actually. I would love to connect with your sister if she would like to chat. I'd be more than willing to share with her my experience and what we eat. The easiest thing has been to change the way we all eat...so that I don't have to make three different meals every day. We eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and meat. And we found out at 1 year that goat milk works for him... so we do goat milk, yogurt, and cheese!

God's Blessings on her new journey.

1 mom found this helpful
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D.B.

answers from Chicago on

We see an awesome allergist/ asthma Dr. at Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn. His name is Dr Achther (I know I am screwing up his spelling) it is pronounced Ockter. He not only goes over the known allergies but Hope has a nutritionist on staff that can help with meals and diet. My daughter has allergy induced asthma & it seems that she is has more of a air allergy but is also allergic to peanuts. She did test positive for a milk allergy but I told the Dr that she drinks milk all the time and it has never seemed to bother her. Because of that, I never took her off of milk.
I think he, along with the nutritionist, can help your sister juggle everyone's diet. Good luck to your sister.

K.M.

answers from Chicago on

Great advice from others! You should also know that many personal care products have nut derivatives in them as well. It's amazing that what we eat and put on our bodies has a direct correlation with our health. I use organic products for my family. These are peanut free and gluten free, etc. So many people have these issues and many are unaware. Just like the others, it's best to start educating yourself. There is so much on the internet these days and I keep learning something new every day!

If you need help with certified organic products, I'd be happy to share what I use that is not found in stores. Beware of "green washing" as many labels may hide their true ingredients behind "fragrance" and other "things". Best of luck and I am sure things will work out just fine!

K.
Wellness Consultant
www.karenmacnab.mionegroup.com

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

Friends of ours have kids that are allergic to dairy and egg. They avoid these products completely. It's easier for them because both of their kids are allergic to the same things. Depending on how allergic her daughter is, she may want to cut out these products from her household altogether, and make everyone eat the same way. It would be easier than fixing separate meals and constantly watching to see that she doesn't eat any of her sibling's food. It sounds like she needs to eat gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. It's not cheap to eat this way, but it's a lot easier nowadays. She can shop at Whole Foods to get everything she needs, but they are pricey. I personally shop at the Fruitful Yield and Woodman's in North Aurora. Our friend's pediatrician said that most kids do grow out of their allergies. Hope this helps and good luck!

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

Has she had any immunological testing done? I would get a panel done for that too... sometimes kids with multiple allergies have immuno probs and can be supported with IVIG or other meds to help.

I would find a homeopathic practice, like homefirst. They have supplements and knowledge that can help support her as well. They also offer MSA testing, which is a kind of acupressure test that can detect any other food or environmental sensitivities. We had this done for my daughter and it has made a world of difference.

A chiropractor can also be really great to help with allergies. Most people don't think of this for kids, but they do very gentle work also called cranial sacral work that helps the immune system stay in balance, etc. that can offer a lot of relief.

Has she tried online forums? One that comes to mind is www.mothering.com. They have a discussion forum that is really geared toward natural solutions and there are lots of suggestions for how to make dairy-free items, etc. Searching through vegan blogs and websites will render a lot of dairy and egg-free recipes as well.

Some other things to think about are:

updating any emergency info like daycare/school, church, etc. with the new allergies. make sure all the doctors she sees have it on their records (but always remind them- you have no idea how many times I have been given something that was a known allergen by a doctor no less!), call all the pharmacies she uses, etc.

making t-shirts (on cafepress.com or just with fabric paints at home) that say DO NOT FEED ME on the front and back and/or getting her a bracelet or necklace with emergency info and stating her allergies

make sure she has epi-pens in the cars, house, anywhere she stays (daycare, school), mom's purse, etc. I would also make sure there is Benadryl in all of those locations.

Hopefully she will get some answers soon!
Hugs,
M.

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A.N.

answers from Chicago on

Hi D.,

I have a seven year old daughter who is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sunflower seeds, shellfsh, milk, eggs, beef, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas. These are the foods we must completely restrct from her diet; she was found to have mild allergies to wheat, potatoes, rice, chicken, soy, and peas. We do not restrict these as she has never exhibited any symptoms from consumng these foods, but we methodically determined this under the guidance of her allergist through ellimnating and reintrducing the foods. My daughter is also allergic to everything inside and out except molds.

I know how your sister feels right now; it is both very overwhelming and relieving, because you have so many questions and new worries but at least you know what's been making your child "sick." Please feel free to pass my email along to your sister; it is [email protected]____.com. I can share recipes, allergy info, products, talk meds and docs, etc. There is so much info to share, so it would be easier to have her contact me with specific questions.

Tell her to hang in there!

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K.T.

answers from Chicago on

Another resource I found invaluable - Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) - they have recipes and when I first learned of my youngest son's allergies (all nuts, most legumes, soy and sesame) I found parent meetings to be a great place to get advice.

I did not remove everything from the house for my son primarily to make sure we stayed vigilant about reading labels, etc. but he also did not have any issues with contact / breathing in the foods (had to ingest). We also did some of the tips here - had a laminated instruction sheet that we kept with the Epi and sent with him to school (on the bus, etc.). We created a "safe foods shelf" and marked everything so that caregivers / family members knew what he could have. When we went places, I always had a stash of food as a backup. For Halloween, we exchange anything he gets with a back-up stash we have and give away the challenging foods. We taught him very early to tell people he had food allergies and to bring any food to an adult to check first. We also made sure to have him tested periodically and found that some of his allergies did decrease over time. In those cases, our allergist did a food challenge (supervised, in their office) to confirm that the allergy was not a problem and he was ok to eat those foods. Thankfully, soy was one that did go away. Watch out for soy - it is in a lot of processed foods. Good reason to go natural and organic.

I agree with the other poster that it is overwhelming at first but it does get better. As my son has gotten older, he is very aware of his allergies and it is just a routine for us. We have thankfully only had one reaction in 11 years - to a food that originally was not on the list. Vigilance and preparation pays off.

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J.L.

answers from Chicago on

If your sis has computer access I suggest going to the FAAN (Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Newtork) site: www.foodallergy.org. That's a great place to start w/numerous great links. Also have her check out Yahoo groups: [email protected]____.com and [email protected]____.com I'm a member of both, and both are filled with wise moms & dads who can offer advice. My almost 3 yr old dd is anaphylactic allergic to milk/dairy, seafood, shellfish, chamomile, sunflower, safflower; and allergic to strawberry, palm, ragweed, grass, and pollen (so far). Feel free to message me for more details or specifics. I'd TOTALLY remove all of the mentioned allergens from the 3 yr olds diet to start with. I'd be happy to help with specific questions about diet and allergy testing, etc. so feel free to message me and I"ll give you or her my e-mail address. Blessings, :) J.

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B.G.

answers from Chicago on

Henry's, Trader Joes and other organic stores have a TON of gluten free options that will make snack times easier. Crackers, bread fo sandwiches, even cookies and treats. And if you watch the prices and buy certain things at certain stores, it is not even TOO expensive. Also, as for a milk or dairy replacement, try goats milk cheeses and yogurt, usually they work for people with milk allergies, and for milk, try Almond Milk. You can even get that at target supercenters now, it is very common and a much better alternative than rice milk which is essentially sugar water. A nutritionist can give her more ideas, but hopefully that will help to start with. As for meal times, a lot of vegetarian meals, soups and stews. Just use anything that is meat and veggie centered, as opposed to pastas and casseroles. Also, some cookbooks would be anything geared for diabetics, Babycakes for baking. Luckily right now Gluten Free is trendy, so there are a lot of resources available.

Hope that helps her get started!
B.

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J.D.

answers from Chicago on

testing thru skin only? Or blood , skin and history? If she hasn't had reactions to dairy, wheat or soy, than they can be false positives.

1 word: www.kidswithfoodallergies.org
the best help around

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C.O.

answers from Chicago on

For the milk and egg allergies google vegan foods and recipes. She still will have to watch our for the peanuts. As for wheat there's many gluten free products out there. Many of them do not have milk but I am not sure about eggs. Whole Foods is a great store to shop at. If you go on your local stores and resturants websites many of them now have an allergen list. It is extremely helpful! Check out the website befreeforme.com. I have found the web to be a lifesaver. Tell your sister it gets alot easier and just becomes part of life. I use to cook for my daughter who was vegan (now just vegetarian), my other daughter who was allergic to milk and corn (finally out grew her allergies at 16), my mother who was a diabetic, and my husband who has high cholesterol(sp?). And just when I though things were getting easier I was diagnosed with Celiac. I suspected for years just went this year to have it confirmed. It will get better just have to learn all the little in and outs.

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M.E.

answers from Chicago on

My 4yo son has allergies to egg, wheat, milk, barley, peanuts and tree nuts. It was very overhwelming at first when I had to go shopping for his food. Places that have good snacks and mixes include Whole Foods (Ian's brand has frozen meals like chicken nuggets, pizza, etc.), Woodman's (cheaper than Whole Foods). I've also found a lot of gluten free cookies and things at our local Wal-Mart. Jewel carries our rice flour pasta and gluten free pretzels (actually pretty tasty).

There are many websites available with advice.
Food Allergy Network is one: http://www.foodallergy.org/

Also, for special occasions when I need a tasty birthday cake or cupcake mix, I get mixes from 123glutenfree.com. They have a lot of mixes, including rolls and roll out sugar cookie mixes that really do taste good. The shipping is expensive, but we go this route for the special treats because they taste good and things don't go to waste. For meals, he can eat grilled chicken and veggies, but we just can't include any regular butter or bread. It takes awhile to get in a routine with it, but pretty soon it's just a part of your life and is very manageable. Best of luck to her!

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E.B.

answers from Chicago on

I would keep calling until you find an allergist and nutritionist who has an opening. There are treatments they can get your niece on for the environmental allergies. There is no treatment for food allergies other than avoidance and age. (I have egg allergies too). 3 is very young to be given a diagnosis of food allergies and she may grow out of some or all of them as her immune system matures.

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J.D.

answers from Chicago on

Hi D. While your sister is waiting to see her child's peditrican, tell her to look up allergies on the internet and see what she can find. who knows it maybe very helpful.

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B.A.

answers from Chicago on

Both my son and my daughter had several allergies. It was overwhelming - eggs, corn, wheat, gluten, dairy, sugars - etc. After some frustrating visits to an allergist and several pediatricians who kept given my kids more and more prescriptions, we found out about and ALLERGY ELIMINATION technique called NAET. (naet.com)

Instead of doing inconclusive blood and scratch tests which will only test for 2 different antibodies at most (usually histamine and a delayed response) while NAET tests for 8 different antibodies, and tests to see what organs react to the different antibodies, and then it treats the allergen by putting it against the body (in a container so it does not touch the skin) and use a combination of kinesiology, allopathy, western physiology, chiropractic (and more) techniques.

They use neuroscensory muscle testing to test for many more - but non invasive, and very comprehensive, and immediate results. My son who tested for allergies with 12 things at the allergist, tested for 25 things with NAET, and then one by one was able to eliminate them.

So for him (now 4 years old) he can have ALL the foods he couldn't have, he can now be around my parents CATS with no problem (that before produced life threatening asthma attacks), and his asthmatic response to allergies is basically nil, whereas before starting NAET, was very serious. He is also off ALL meds and is doing so much better.

We go to Dr. Tam in Lombard who is FANTASTIC. I can't recommend him enough - he is so great. We found him through the NAET website (naet.com) you type in your zip and they tell you who is closest to you.

Good luck - its VERY great to know there IS something you can do about your allergies rather than just stressfully avoiding them your whole life!

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S.X.

answers from Chicago on

we had egg, milk, soy, peanuts and cat.
phew!
its overwhelming at first.
there are some mild allergies that don't bother them and you don't worry about it. some of the testing shows more false positives.
however, w/the other stuff really just stay with real food vs processed. you can use oil and bannana instead of egg, or apple sauce if you are baking... we use rice milk.
some chicken tenders and such have soy lecithin, tiny amounts to hold stuff together and we did that and we were ok. its usually the generic cheaper stuff (yay!)
soy yogurt was ok w/us too.
muffins cakes and cookies we baked, but the generic versions are your best bet. funny. you COULD go the allergy route and pay a ton of money in the health food isle, but you just have to look for it.
our son grew out of most of it by 4.
good luck. any questions let me know
be glad it isn't corn. that's in everything!

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