Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween, Scary.

It finally happened.  I knew this day would come, and I've been worrying about it. 

Now that he's a toddler, and is more than a couple feet tall, and can reach onto tables, and see all the other kids grabbing cookies, it happened.  He grabbed a big ol' chocolate chip cookie and took a bite. 

It was at a Halloween party, he was dressed up in his fireman's outfit, and just like all the other children he was having a great time.  Mingling parents above, playing kids below, and lots of fun.   Of course he's going to grab a cookie!

Luckily, my husband saw him take the bite and was able to get it from him, deftly swapping it for one of the allergen-free ones we'd brought.  But the deed was done. 

Thank goodness, his food allergies have not (to date) been anaphalaxis-inducing.  That reaction, apparently, is reserved for dog saliva.   But when he has been exposed to food allergens in the past, we see eczema, rash, and spots on his face in around an hour or less, plus lots and lots of scratching.  Later we'll see spots on his lower back and legs, depending on the allergen.  We started to see several of these by the time we got home. 

Unfortunately, this appeared to be a store-bought cookie ~ which means it's likely to have included most of his list:  wheat flour, butter, milk, soybean oil, shortening, and soy lecithin.  Probably not nuts.  It would have been a great test case if it had only been a single known allergen... but, nope.  It was a list. 

On the flip side, it was only one bite.  And his reaction, while clear to me, wasn't horrific.  He didn't seem itchy later, just a few little spots on his face and lower back.  Quite a relief to a mom who was having a quiet meltdown!  In fact, the mild reaction gave me hope ~ is it possible he's outgrowing some of his allergies? 

We just had some bloodwork done that was by its very nature vague.  Yet it did come back absolutely clear on dogs and cats:  allergic in a big way.  Not that this surprised me, as the one ER visit we've made was after a cute puppy licked his face while we were out on a hike.  (booooo!... no kitten or puppy some day?  That stinks!)  But under 2 years old, there is very little clarity in any blood test result ~ and skin testing is just not effective at this age either. 

So we wait.  Yes, crisis averted ~ but it made me really pause.  I can control every aspect of what happens ~ at home.  We can make food that's yummy, tastes and looks like the "real thing", is healthy and nutritious and allergen free.  Again, at home.  We can send snacks with him.  We can bring our own contributions to potlucks.  But, there's a whole wide world out there. 

How are we going to stop a rambunctious, fun loving two-year old from grabbing a cookie without squelching the joy out of every event by keeping him away from any dangers?   And when he gets to pre-school and later kindergarden, how will we be able to trust others to ensure he's being protected? 

Please, if anyone's out there who has faced this, can you give me some good ideas? 

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