Thursday, August 27, 2009

Allergies, Allergies Go Away

7 or maybe 8 Quick Takes (I'm too worn out to count)
  • I spent a good portion of the day at the allergist for my 4 year old daughter with my 2 year old in tow. What I thought would be a 30 minute check-up turned into a 3 hour tour through fire ant allergy testing.
  • We knew my daughter was allergic to peanuts, eggs, and cats. The allergies scare me, especially the peanut one which most kids do not outgrow. But people are very aware of peanut allergies these days, not serving kids snacks with peanut products (this is a Finer Thing), so we haven't had much trouble avoiding them. Also, her allergy is not so severe that she cannot be around peanuts, she just can't eat them. So, I guess I've made my peace with the fact that she has that allergy (even though I breastfed her until she was a year, isn't that suppose to help kids not have allergy issues?).
  • So during the routine follow-up, EpiPen prescription refill visit to the allergist today, I mentioned to the doctor a reaction my daughter had to some fire ant bites she got recently. She got a rash on her chest, her eyes were watery for a while after, her nose got runny, and she got a slight wheeze. I gave her Benadryl and a few hours later she was fine. The allergist was really worried that her reaction involved more than just a skin reaction and said we needed to test her for a fire ant allergy. "What's your schedule like for the rest of the day?" he asks me at 10:45 this morning!
  • I've been down the allergy skin test road before, but it only takes 20 minutes, they do it in her back, and it is not that bad, but the fire ant test is done a little differently. It is injected under the skin on the arm with a needle rather than the regular prick skin testing, and they do it in very low quantities and gradually increase the amount, waiting 15 minutes between each stick until there is a reaction or they get to a high enough dose to decide you are not allergic. So while your child is crying that the control (straight histamine) is itchy, and indeed it is a large swollen, inflamed bump, and she asks you if she has to get any more needles, you can only say, "I don't know."
  • She did test positive for an allergy to fire ants, a potentially anaphylactic allergy based on her previous reaction. Apparently I should have used my EpiPen at the first sign of wheezing. Even though I already carry an EpiPen everywhere, the thought of actually using it scares me, but the allergist assured me it won't hurt her to use it and it is better to use it when it was not needed than not use it when it was needed! The good news on the fire ant allergy is there are shots that are around 97% effective at preventing a severe reaction to fire ants (anyone else hooked on amazing feats of modern medicine?). The bad news is she has to get the shots twice a week for a while, then once a week, then once a month for five years!
  • I would like to give a huge shout out to the nurse who provided the Dora DVD to distract and entertain my daughter during the process. You were a gift straight from heaven! And when it was all over and you came back to the room with a Dora sticker and plastic bracelet as prizes for my little girl being so brave, well, I just could have hugged you right then (I'm sure you're glad I restrained myself and just profusely thanked you)!
  • To the allergist, you are a great doctor with excellent bedside manner with my kids, but there is a limit to how many times you can use the phrase, "potentially life or death" when talking to a mother about her child before that mother will start to hyperventilate. Four times may be one time too many!
  • And now excuse me while I go construct a bubble around my little girl, because we live in Texas and fire ants are everywhere. Just after the allergist, my kids had swim lessons and I unloaded them from the car and right before I sent them scurrying across the grass into the place where they have lessons, I realized the danger that could be lurking in that grass and scooped up my 4 year old, carrying her into and out of the lessons. Yes, the fire ants have made me a little neurotic or maybe it was the back to back to back episodes of Dora!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.


  1. Sorry to hear that you're going through the allery anathema. Best of luck with the bubble!

  2. I don't think you are being neurotic, you are being protective. Afterall, even Dora does lots of things "so we can be safe"!!!

  3. Whoa. That's a lot to deal with. We have fire ants in California and I'm scared of them just because of how bad it hurts to get bit by one. Can't imagine. You're a good mama!

  4. Wow, I have no idea what you or your daughter go through because we have no allergies in our family. I do have many friends that have kids with allergies and I know they are on guard alot.

    Glad to hear you are aware of the new allergy and that she was a brave girl.

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  7. If it helps, it gets easier. Actually, not easier. Just certain things become habit. My son is allergic to just about everything except air! Well, actually, pollen gets to him, too. It started very young, before school. And yes, he was breastfed. I don't think there is any guarantee against allergies. After handling everything very deliberately, as you are doing, for a while, it all just became habit and instinct, and we really did not have to all the time think about it. As he got older, he knew his own allergies, too, and also developed the habits to deal with them without thinking, just doing. Good luck!

  8. Ick! Fireants? I can almost feel them just reading about them. :(

  9. stressful! I'm glad you are at least aware of the problem, though.


I'd love to hear what you think!