Confused About Allergy Treatment. Clarinex for My 3 Year Old?

Updated on November 15, 2010
C.M. asks from La Grange, IL
16 answers

Hi Moms,
My 3 year old daughter suffers from multiple food and pet allergies, allergic rhinitis, and eczema. I am confused about how I can help her. She has been seen by a naturopahtic doctor who has recommnended avoiding any food that she reacted to on a RAST blood test (dairy, nuts, eggs, wheat, and soy), limiting sugar intake, and building up her immune system with vitamins, enzymes and probiotics.

Today, my daughter saw a traditional allergist who diagnosed her with asthma, and prescribed a rescue inhaler, epi-pen, and a daily dose of the antihistamine Clarinex. I am glad to have the inhaler and epi-pen for safety during extreme allergic reactions. I fear starting her on Clarinex. Does anybody have experience using this drug with young children? What are the risks and benefits?

The traditional doctor also feels that I should allow my daughter to have dairy, wheat, and soy even though the RAST blood test indicated she was highly allergic to these foods. I eliminated these foods from her diet about 3 months ago, and have not seen much improvement in her eczema. Since eliminating these foods she does have anxiety about eating, since there are so many foods I am telling her she can not eat. She has lost weight. And I fear she will develop eating disorders that will last throughout her life. The doctor feels the risks of eliminating these foods are outweighing the benefits. Can anybody give me some advice? What has worked best for your children suffering with allergies and eczema?

Thank you.

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answers from Chicago on

Check out Terifickidswfa on yahoo groups. Also, as a mom of a severely allergic (anaphylactic to dairy, seafood, shellfish, sunflower, safflower, chamomile, ragweed & allergic to palm, coconut, etc) daughter who turns 3 this month, my advice is to AVOID 100% all of the foods she's reacting to. Ignore your traditional doctor and see if you can find a good allergist (lots of luck though - we see our 3rd next month and have to drive 5 1/ hours to do so) who specializes in children with multiple allergies. The advice of your naturopath is much more medically sound and safe. My dd also has eczema. I FINALLY eliminated it by playing detective with her allergies and figured out that coconut in everything was a huge immense problem. Since eliminating that trigger her skin cleared up. I have so much more advice I could give you. Please feel free to private message me if you'd like to chat more about this topic! - J.



answers from Chicago on

Hey there,
First off, a traditional doc. and a Napropath don't speak the same language at all. I know from experience as my son was diagnosed with lots of food/enviornmental allergies at 8 months (now he's 5). I was told to limit certain foods, alot of which you mentioned and he was also put on an inhaler (floven) for his asthma. We also have an epi pen as well as a rescue inhaler for emergencies.
Had I known what I know now, I would have kept his diet as clean as possible and taken him to see an accupuncturist as well as a chiropractor and got him on herbal tinctures to strengthen up his immune system and lungs.
Now he's on a steady dose of probiotics (we use Renew Life's FloraBear, 3 a day) as well as getting him into to see a chiropractor to try and strengthen his lungs up so we can ween him off.
I think just keeping a postive attitude about what your daughter can and can't eat is key. If you tell her that her body is sensitive to certain foods and that for her safety and health she needs to not eat specific foods for a while, I think she would understand. My son does at least. I bake him gluten free cookies and get sprouted bread and gf waffles. I feed him pretty much organic period.
Above all else, I can't stress the probiotcs enough. Once you get her body balanced again, these other foods can be reintroduced but slowly. What I've found though is that he doesn't want the other foods and we as a family are eating better than we ever have because of these changes in his diet.
I hope that helps. :)



answers from Sioux Falls on

Clarinex is a good medications, but not for 3 years old girl I think. Here is some info about clarinex



answers from Chicago on

If you are concerned about the allergist's diagnosis, then you can always seek out a second opinion from another allergist. Also, you can go to the patient information on the products' web sites and see more about reported side effects, risks, etc. As far as antihistamines go, my guess would be that your Dr prescribed Clarinex because it's a non-sedating antihistamine, as all are not. That said, remember that any medicine you put in your body has a potential side effect, even Tylenol. It's all about weighing the risks/benefits for your child. Of course you don't want to give your child meds unnecessarily, but it seems that you've already tried the homeopathic route first (which I think is great) to no avail, so traditional medicine is the next logical choice. If only there were an instruction manual for these things, right?! Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I and my two oldest children suffer with allergies so severe (like your child's) that it is classified as 'severe allergic disease.' I had a 'team' of pediatric doctors monitoring and tweaking their health. Allergist, gastroenterologist (because the allergies inflamed my son's gutt so terribly he was not absorbing nutrition and failed to put on weight between 3 and 6 years of age), ENT (to help keep the sinuses clear because the allergies inflamed our sinuses so badly we had repeated ear and sinus infections), and a neurologist because both children were having partial complex seizures.

Happily both children at the age of 12 grew out of their health issues. They still remain as part of their physiologic complex, but they are well under control and the children now are "healthy" by most definitions, and happy. 'Happy' is important!

Yes, I have experience with Clarinex and Xyzal, and many other allergy meds in children. They are safe, and allow their bodies to function more normally giving their bodyies a chance to heal from all the inflamation and a chance to grow out of the severe allergy issues. I did fight putting the children on them at first because I thought the medications would damage their liver or have other horrible side effects. Allergy meds do not do that. When my son was not putting on weight, and my daughter's body was becoming covered with eczema, and both were doing very poorly in school because their physical bodies were in great distress, and both children were becoming clinically depressed, it became necessary to follow medical advice and treat the children accordingly. I was glad for the help, and amazed at how my children's suffering subsided and their happiness increased, as did their grades at school.

Follow medical advice, and do your research on both your doctors and the medications they suggest. As a parent, you need to ensure what's being done for your children is in their best interest.



answers from Chicago on

No she will not have an eating disorder but there are feeding therapists tht helpo with this anxiety. I am wondering if you should see a GI dr. My kids have EE and ED and this is how it started. (Eosnophilic Disorder) for more info. I would DEFINITELY keep out the food she rast tested to and also know that there is PATCH testing that will help for what is the culprit for the eczema but not many drs do it and do it right. good one s in HP and Dr Donnell in the city. I would do it for a month eliminating the foods and there is a great formula you can make smoothys out there or even duocal that you sprinkle over food etc that will insure she gets her nutrition with out the allergies since it is an amino acid formula. I would also have her test for frutcose malabsorption and see the Gi about the allergies. After a month of food elimination (finding out what foods are worse or causing more problems) definitely taking out what she RASTed for is a gret start and then keep a diary log to see what else could be hurting or the culprit. After that I would then try the clarinex, goodle side effect and long lasting effects etc so you know what you are in for and then give it to her for at least a month if it doenst work at least you tried it and if it works then great a bit of less suffering. Youare doing a good job and I would definitely eliminate the foods the natural dr is on the right path with the probiotics and getting ehr immune system balanced, you do not know what kind of damage is happing inside her stomach and Gi trac from having the hurting foods, inflamation can lead to so many problems in the long run, worse that what the drugs can do so right now. to be honest we dothe food elimination and the drugs when flaring but we try not to do the drugs unless they are really havinbg issues. good luck
J. please feel free to email me. We take out at least 50 foods!



answers from Portland on

My granddaughter is allergic to many pollens, dust, mold, animal dander, and all of the foods that you list that your daughter is allergic too. She was diagnosed prior to age 1. She didn't eat those foods until after she started school and her mother introduced them one at a time over a period of time. She is now 9 and able to eat all of the foods except for peanuts and soy. For this reason I recommend that you limit the foods to which she tests allergic. However, I wouldn't make not eating them stringent. Just avoid them. Explain to her that if she does accidentally eat one of those food it'll be OK. Ask her to tell you when that happens so that you can keep a diary about what happens when she eats the food.

The only food allergy which my granddaughter's allergist was concerned about was the peanut allergy. It seems much more likely to cause anaphalactic shock than other allergies. Peanuts are not the same as a tree nut. Ask your doctor to be specific about nuts. My granddaughter is now part of an experimental study to see if her system can be made less responsive. Thus far she is up to consuming 4 grams (approx 2 peanuts)/day without any negative reaction.

My granddaughter is also asthmatic and has eczema. Her nose is nearly always stuffy/runny. She took the antihistamine, Singulaire, until a couple of years ago when she switched to Zyrtec. There are, no doubt, side effects to antihistamines but the good result of their use far outweigh any possible side effects.

I have had chronic allergies since I was a young adult and I can tell you that I was miserable until a non-sedating antihistamine came on the market. Your daughter has added serious reasons, in the asthma and eczema, for needing the antihistamine. Asthma, if not kept under control, is life threatening. Your daughter may not mind having a red, blotchy skin now but she definitely will as she gets older. And if the eczema is not kept under control now she may also have scars.

I agree that managing your daughter's anxiety is of equal importance to the rest. Since you've tried eliminating foods, have not seen an improvement, and have the added symptom of anxiety I would try the medication regime. It may take several months for either method of treatment to show obvious success.

It is quite possible that the naturpath's method of treatment would eventually work but at what cost? It is very difficult for a school age child to change their diet to be so very much different from the diet of their friends. Social growth is also important. She needs to feel self-confident and appropriately in control of herself. Having asthma, eczema, and food allergies takes away much of this. And, I don't think they really know how these 3 things relate to each other.

As you said, eliminating the food to which she was allergic hasn't, thus far, shown any improvement in the other areas. Ha it shown improvement in the way that she digests her food and how she feels in general? If so emphasize that with her while finding ways for her to be in control of what she eats. Provide yummy alternatives. Limit how much the rest of the family also eats. Have her choose foods for specific meals. Perhaps give her a list and let her choose one food from that list for dinner each night.

The treatment for eczema includes keeping her skin moist, applying cream, medication when it's out of control. Focus on that instead of the food.

Same with the asthma. My daughter has never had a food related asthma attack. That doesn't mean your daughter hasn't or won't but it's safe to wait and see while you have control of other causes for the asthma. This is where the antihistamine comes in.

By taking the antihistamine, your daughter's system in better able to protect against an attack of any kind. And if an attact still ocurrs it will be less serious, giving you time to add more antihistamine. My granddaughter does get hives from time to time and I just give her a fast acting antihistamine, such as Benedryl.

She's had an epi-pen since she was a baby and never had to use it. I finally realized that because we now know that anaphylactic shock can occur everyone with the possibility of going into shock has a pen. When I was younger, having a pen indicated that one was in serious danger of death. It doesn't mean that any longer. It means we err on the safe side. The epi-pen is to be used for an exteme allergic reaction. i.e. anaphylactic shock.

I have gone into anaphylactic shock twice; once from numerous bee stinks occurring at once and the second time while in the doctor's office. Both times they were stopped with an oral antihistamine. Now a days I'd be prescribed an epi-pen after each of those episodes. I was told to stay away from bees but I've had subsequent stings with no negative results.

Re; the inhaler. Don't wait until she has an exteme reaction. Once she has difficulty breathing and/or wheezing, her chest feels tight to her, that sort of mild symptom, give her the inhaler. We learned the hard way that failure to do so may cause you to end up in the ER because she can hardly breathe at all. recommendation based on my own experience with allergies and experience with my granddaughter's allergies is to give her the clarinex, keep the inhaler and epi-pen handy and down play the food elimination.

If you do feel uncomfortable with using the clarinex, talk some more with the allergist. Talk with the pharmacist. Get all of your questions answered in a scientific way. Weigh the possible negatives with the quality of life and health that you want for your daughter.

Children use a spacer with the inhaler which makes it very easy to use. They must use an inhaler because it is portable and one never knows when it'll be needed. My daughter uses her inhaler most often when she's away from home. A nebulizer is helpful for use at home. My granddaughter uses a nebulizer when the inhaler doesn't open her airways enough. The nebulizer is more efficient at getting the medication into the lungs..



answers from Chicago on

All allergies are a sign of a weak immune system. I learned the hard way. I did all the treatments that all the Drs suggested and it was just managed care... barely. THEN, I started with Shaklee whole food supplements which gave him vitamins, minerals and proteins he was missing. I figured out to build health and NOT manage disease was a much better way to attack the problem. It took consistency, but in 6 months his asthma was markedly improved. THe only food I took out of the diet that seemed harmful was processed sugar or high sugar foods. The sugar seems to impede their recovery. I'd be more than happy to share all that I learned. I am but reply away. I also found it is never only one thing, but a series of differences that will make a difference in her health.



answers from Chicago on

Take a look at the meds too, many of them have wheat and dairy in them, inhalers especially have dairy...if you have her on those meds, ask to look at the ingredients and ask the pharmacist (not the doc) to help you decipher if there is any gluten and dairy in them.

What are you doing as far as supplements to reduce the internal inflammation? Fish oils? Flax oil? She can have 1-2tsp of flax oil per day. There is no risk for eliminating these foods if it means it will heal her internally as there are awesome grains out there, quinoa, buckwheat, legumes/beans, etc...there is more to life than just wheat and dairy which is the basis of most of our diets.

Look at the products you put on her skin too. Most ones that market for eczema actually make it worse, especially stuff that has mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate is another (which is also found in toothpaste). California Baby is really great stuff and ideal for eczema. Laundry detergents too can irritate skin conditions, shampoos, etc. you can go to to see rankings of good personal care products.

hope that helps.

Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

when we eat foods that we are allergic, intolerant, or sensitive to we cause our body to be inflammatory which equals autoimmune. Asthma, skin issues, are all auto immune. so sure you could continue to feed your daughter these foods, cause her to be continuously inflammed, taking medication to solve one issue, then cause another down the line. Inflammation is the ROOT to disease. Start making it more fun for her. show her all the foods she can eat. also she may out grow a lot of them. Get her off those foods for awhile, getr her body back in health (going to take awhile!) and then try ONE at a time bringing back the foods she scored the lowest on. I would go back to the naturopath for more advice. Sometimes docs assume you are in the know about all this. he can explain this to you so you understand how absolutely necessary for her long term healt that she is not eating foods that causue an inflammatory response in her and how harmful it is to take life long medication to supress the natural symptoms her body has in response to these foods.



answers from Chicago on

My son had allergy/rash issues. First thing the doctor said was get rid of my cat, which I didn't do. I discovered that he had a reaction to my furniture, i.e., the Scotchguard protectant. Once I washed it, the problem stopped. Next, I got rid of all the carpet in his room and my livingroom. I washed his bedding more often and like a miracle, his rhinitis cleared up! I also made sure his bedding was hypo alergenic or cotton (natural fibers). I also realized that he was having a reaction to the chemicals used to clean his desk at school. Long sleeves solved that problem too. I also used perfume free soap for laundry. As he got older, he seems to have outgrown most of his problems. Hope some of this works for you.



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. (

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, and his asthmatic response to allergies is basically nil, whereas before starting NAET, was very serious.

NAET also encorporates probiotics and nutrition, but with the added component of eliminating the allergies one by one. Our insurance pays for our visits.

We go to Dr. David Tam in Lombard who is FANTASTIC. I can't recommend him enough - he is so great. We found him through the NAET website ( 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!



answers from Chicago on

Hi, C.,
I have a son (now 9) who has had all the same issues--eczema, food allergies, asthma, environmental allergies. My guy started on Zyrtec (it was prescription only back then) & Singulair (for the asthma but it's also used for allergies) when he was 2. Both helped tremendously and we had no noticeable side effects. At various times, he has also been on inhaled steroids (Pulmicort) and other allergy meds like nosesprays, eye drops, etc.

Has your daughter had a skin test? My son has never had the RAST blood test, not sure why but his allergist never wanted it. I have heard that the blood test can indicate sensitivities that may not actually show any symptoms, whereas the skin test will visibly show what a reaction.

The skin test showed he was allergic to dairy, peanuts, eggs. And yes I did limit those items to the best of my ability, especially the peanuts, but it was hard to entirely. He outgrew all but the peanut allergy.

Anyway, I would go ahead and try the Clarinex and see if it brings her relief, hopefully without any major side effects. It is approved for kids as young as 2. Keep in mind she may not need to always be on meds!! Eczema is tricky, and I have found that it generally got better as my son has gotten older but still flares in certain areas, especially in the winter when it's so dry. Moisturize lots!!! I find the petroleum jelly works just as well as Eucerin and it's much, much cheaper!

I should also point out that my son now is not on ANY meds. Now with spring coming up and him being outside more, he may need some eye drops but his symptoms, including the asthma, have improved SO much over the last several years due to the allergy shots he started getting when he was 5. I think that's about the earliest age they start them on kids. It's so time consuming, having to go once a week in the beginning but well worth it!!!

Good luck and in my opinion, don't be afraid to try the meds--they can bring to your daughter and hopefully alleviate some anxiety in both of you. Oh, and in terms of the food issues, perhaps you could take her to somewhere like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods to pick out items that you think she would like?

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

First, I feel for you. I know first-hand how hard it is to see your child suffer with allergies and not be sure about what to do. My son (now 7) also has asthma, eczema and multiple food allergies. We see a traditional allergist and follow her advice. She suggests for our child that we avoid the foods he's allergic to, and that when he's ready we do food challenges in her office. She tells us when he's ready according to the RAST test.

There is so much conflicting information out there about what's best. There are some great resources to help, including MOCHA (a mom support group), the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative.

My writing partner and I also write a blog with recipes and tips that are free of the 8 common allergens (and gluten-free and vegan). If you need some free recipes while you're avoiding allergens, please stop by our site and see if anything will be of use to you. Our site is

Try to get as much support as you can, so that you feel comfortable with the decisions you make. It is so hard trying to figure out what's best to do. If I can be of any support to you, please feel free to send me a private message, too.

Good luck,


answers from Chicago on

My daughter had to be put on a pure vegan diet due to multiple food allergies causing idiopathic hives and eczema. She has allergies to all kinds of meat, nuts, fish, chickpeas, eggplant, soy, gluten based foods and dairy and corn. When i eliminated some foods from her diet her eczema and hives decreased and now sometimes she has eczema but that is because of carpet and dust allergies and pollen etc. I never gave her the prescribed epipen or clarinex. I started with a homeopathic doctor and it has been 4 yrs now . For the first time I am getting glimpses of baby skin sometimes. Her skin is still very dry but her hives have stopped almost and her eczema is only near her joints.She has improved tremendously. Vegans dont have any eating disorders, all you need to do is provide whole grains and vegetables and fruits. Eczema happens due to stress to and heat too and lot of other reasons that cannot be tested. As for diet dont worry you will be able to have a healthy child without meat and dairy too. Try out the Fruitful Yeild stores for lot of alternatives. Half the world doesnt eat meat and they arent unhealthy. Take care.



answers from Houston on

You've gotten a lot of good advice the food allergies, I just wanted to throw in my two cents about the allergy medications. My daughter who has had persistent ear infections since about 9 months of age was prescribed Singulair and Zyrtec at two different points in time to help dry the excess fluid.

Both caused SEVERE side effects in the form of behavioral issues, night terrors, and disturbed sleep patterns. These side effects don't occur in many people and are only considered anecdotal by the manufacturer (and most doctors).

She would go night after night with multiple night terrors (very different and a lot more disturbing than a nightmare). When she was awake she would bite without provocation, scream, cry, and hit for no apparent reason. After a week of this, I couldn't tell the difference between normal toddler behavior and something else.

I do want to stress that it isn't the common situation, I know many children who are on a slew of allergy medications with no apparent side effects. You should just be aware as your doctor is likely to dismiss it should it be your experience (I found a new doctor).

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