You know the parents of allergy kids right; they’re the annoying ones? They hang around at birthday parties, they don’t let you feed their kids, they make their kids miss out on birthday cake at school, they sometimes make your kid miss out on birthday cake too. Well I am talking to all of you who think you know the parents of allergy kids.
We, the parents of allergy kids, have seen our children rash up, swell up, struggle with and/or stop breathing. We have administered life saving doses of adrenalin, and CPR. We have almost lost our children to contact with food. Some people have lost their children to contact with food. We are not helicopter parents, or we are but not for the reasons you think. We are not scared to let our kids play in the dirt, fall off their bikes or take risks in general. We have not caused our children’s allergies.
I have seen everything under the sun in social media about why my daughter could have allergies. The bottom line is most people think it is my fault. There is much to do in educating people on allergies and anaphylaxis.
Allergies is a broad term for symptoms that people get from food and/or environmental allergens. I am not for a minute suggesting that eczema, asthma, heyfever, or food intolerances are not real and are not difficult, they are, but there is a difference. 3 of my four children suffer from these but only one has anaphylaxis. Please click on the links and read a little bit about each of them.
This is the start of our story. I hope that when she is older Lacey will share her experience too.
As a breastfeeding mum I have often sat down to feed my babies while snacking myself. Sometimes in the early days the only time you get to eat is while you are also feeding them. So one day after work I had stopped off for some ice creams to take home. I sat down to feed Lacey. She was 3 months old. With her in one hand I had the ice cream in the other. I dropped some on her cheek. It was cold and I felt awful but I got it off very quickly. I finished the ice cream and my partner came home 5 minutes later and asked me what was wrong with her eye.
I sat her up and was surprised to see one eye was puffy and had a red mark under it. I didn’t think much of it but it started to get worse in front of us. We talked about it rationally and decided that she was not in any immediate danger, she was not struggling to breath, but we were concerned enough to take her to our local GP. We actually stopped at the beach, not realising the seriousness, to drop the older boys off for a surf.
I spoke to the receptionist who asked some questions. “No she had not eaten anything, I dropped ice cream on her face but she didn’t eat it” I told her. We discussed whether this could be a reaction to the cold or the milk or various other ingredients but thought that all scenarios were unlikely. We were given a seat in the waiting room to wait for a Dr that could see us.
Ten minutes later and I noticed that she was hot and the red mark had turned into a rash that covered her face. I took off her shirt and the rash was everywhere. Red and angry. Her eye was almost closed. I took her back to the desk and they called a Doctor and put us in a room immediately. I didn’t understand the panic but the Dr came in with adrenalin and oxygen. What??
The Dr listened to her chest and immediately administered the adrenalin and oxygen. More Doctors filled the room. People were checking her breathing, her heart, and her blood pressure. I still did not understand what was going on but the Doctors did. Lacey had had an anaphylactic reaction to the ice cream on her cheek. It had not gone anywhere near her mouth. The Dr heard her wheezing which is a sign of breathing difficulty. Somewhere in those minutes the ambulance had been called. We were so surprised but sat there shocked the entire time until the Ambo’s arrived. I asked to go to the toilet and suddenly I realised that we had nearly lost our baby!
If you meet the parent of a child with allergies get curious. Ask about their child. Find out what you can do to include them. Don’t be afraid to ask them to birthday parties or other social events. But most of all don’t judge us we did not choose this for our children!