Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Allergies & Epi-pens

Today was a fun day. I took Jenny to an allergist at the referral of her pediatrician. She has exhibited a dairy allergy since she started eating solids at 6 months of age. She had the skin-scratch allergy test for ten different things, and five of them were positive. These were not just mild reactions either; she got hives the size of quarters all over her back.

She was an angel and was perfectly happy and didn't act upset or itchy or anything. Things got even more fun when I was told she now has to go to Primary Children's Hospital for blood work. Since she's so young and so small, a normal lab can't draw her blood. The tests from the blood work will quantify her allergies, reveal any false-positives, and give an indication of the severity of her allergy and the likelihood of her growing out of it.

Then came the epi-pen demo. An epi-pen is an adrenaline auto-injector. Sounds like a good time, huh? If Jenny accidentally is exposed to an allergen and has a severe reaction (hives all over her body, swelling throat, trouble breathing, etc.) then I get to stab her in the thigh with one of these fun toys and rush her to an emergency room. Wherever the baby goes, an epi-pen must also go.

If all of that didn't sound fun enough, I now also get to educate all of her aunties/grandparents/potential babysitters about all of this. Hopefully she'll grow out of her dairy allergy before she is old enough to be invited to friends' birthday parties and I have to send her with her own tub of soy-ice-cream so she doesn't feel left out.


Wendy said...

We had a neighbour who has celiac (an aadverse reaction to wheat) and came to Ethan's birthday party. So the cutie wouldn't be left out, his mom sends him with his own gluten free cake. There is life with a food allergy.

Sorry about the cool whip last birthday party. I still feel crappy about that!

Jean said...

Maren and Brent,

My grandson, Henry, has food allergies as well, and he is severely allergic to tree nuts (not peanuts, but cashews, almonds, pistachios and so forth). More allergic related deaths occur as the result of tree nut allergies than any other allergies. Henry, who is 4 years old, wears an epi-pen pouch at all times when away from home and grandmas house and is very aware of his allergies, including all melons and tree nuts. If you didn't have Jenny tested for tree nuts, you might want to consider, as we could easily have lost Henry as we were unaware of this allergy until we had him tested when he broke out in hives while eating watermelon.

A great place to eat with children who have allergies is Red Robin. We took the children to Red Robin in South Jordan at the District and I phoned the manager prior to coming to make him aware of Henry’s tree nut allergies. When we arrived, he personally came to greet us and had Henry’s food prepared in advance of the other food at the table. He had the cooks put on new gloves, prepared his hamburger on a clean plate (not the counter used for all food preparation in order to prevent cross-contamination) and cooked his meal separately. I was impressed by his diligence. Many restaurants post their menus on their websites. We have also eaten with Henry at Macaroni Grill (they list specific menu items that children with allergies can eat) and Chilis. The owner of Chilis has a grandchild with severe allergies, so they are very good about understanding the importance of eating properly. Knowing Brent's appetite, I thought I would let you know about our eating experiences. Happy eating out!


Annie said...

Hello Maren. Its Annika. It was good to find you on here. Jenny is getting so big!! My son Eric has a severe allergy to peanuts. We know all about the allergy tests and the epi pen. Life goes on and they learn to deal with it. Eric won't eat anything from anyone unless he knows that there isn't a peanut in it.