Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Food Allergies & Vacation

I just returned from vacation. We had lots of fun! Since both of my sweet children have extensive food allergies, I must really plan ahead for food during our vacations. It would be a lot simpler to pack for a trip if I didn't have to think about every meal and snack for each outing, but by now I have come quite used to this. It is a serious problem if my children eat a food they are allergic to. This is why I always have the jr. epi-pen and lots of benadryl in my purse. They both have had anaphylatic reactions (hives, dropped blood pressure, throat closing up) since being small babies.

I first knew my daughter had food allergies around 4 months of age...she is now 5 1/2 years old. What gave it away for sure that she had food allergies was that I looked down at her chest when changing her clothes about 20 minutes after I breastfed her, and saw at least 100 little hives on her neck and chest. Since I am a healthcare worker, I was probably alot calmer than most moms. I made her vomit, washed her off, and gave her benadryl. She got worse, so I drove her to the doctor's office. They gave her epinephrine, because by this time she looked white as a ghost yet flushed at the same time. I remember this day like it was yesterday! After thorough testing it was revealed that she was allergic to egg, dairy, nuts, soy and wheat. So, since I breastfed her I had to avoid these foods for then on. The only other choice was to feed her an elemental formula, but those are bitter tasting and expensive. So, I chose to continue breastfeeding her. She has now outgrown all of her food allergies except for dairy, eggs, and red food dye....3 biggies.

In terms of my son, I was absolutely for sure he had food allergies by 2 months of age. But I had my suspicions at 7 days of age when he had projectile vomitting after being breastfed. I know the difference between infant reflux and vomitting, and this was definately vomitting. The other clues were redness around his bottom, a runny nose, mucous in the stool, and a significant amount of gas. He was too young to test for food allergies, so the doctor suggested that I avoid eating dairy, nut and egg products. At 5 months of age he was old enough to be tested and the results revealed: soy, dairy, peanuts, almonds, eggs, and oats. He is now 13 months old. I just recently weaned him and he drinks hemp or rice milk for calcium. On a good note, I was finally able to eat anything I wanted as of last week when weaning was over with....so vacation food was more fun for me!

While packing for the trip I thought of every little outing we would be on and planned accordingly. Most restaurants even add butter for flavor to vegetable dishes, so I brought lots of produce. I got us a room at the hotel that had a small refrigerator for all of my kids' special foods.
It seems like I had to explain many times on our trip why I was bringing in food to an amusement park or other facilities that do not allow outside food. After many minutes of explaining, I was let in with the food each time. The sad thing is that these places sell alot of junk food (nachos, candy bars, slushies with food dyes, etc). My children eat lots of fruit, veggies, and foods with little or no additives. Because of this my kids are probably much healthier than the kids who don't have food allergies!

Most importantly, we had so much fun on our trip. Seeing the smiles on my two children's faces and looking back at the souvenirs and photos makes all of the extra planning worth it!

No comments:

Post a Comment