Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Allergies: Egg and Dairy

Despite being exclusively breastfed for 10 months and counting, Henry is allergic to eggs and dairy.  The first question people usually ask is “how do you even know that he is allergic to eggs?”  Eggs, eggs whites in particular, are highly allergenic, and most pediatricians recommend waiting to introduce them until 6 months to a year.  When Henry was 3 months old – before he started solids – we were visiting my mother.  One of her secrets to her youthful skin is to make a mask out of egg whites.  When the whites dry it results in a tightening effect.  One morning holding Henry, Chris mocked us as we applied our egg white masks.  I suggested he try an egg white mask to smooth away his wrinkles.  He abruptly refused my suggestion and continued to make sarcastic comments about salmonella and bird flu.  Suddenly I lunged at his face with a droplet of egg white on my finger.  Unfortunately, gravity was faster than my baby weight body.  I watched in slow motion as the egg white droplet fell onto Henry’s face.  We laughed and wiped the goo from his cheek.  A few minutes later I noticed Henry had red and white splotches all over his face and arms.  It was hives.  I was terrified.  An allergy to egg whites from just touching his skin?!  My stepfather is a doctor, and he assured me that the hives would pass in an hour or so and he was right.  Henry’s pediatrician recommended we keep Benadryl on hand at all times in the event Henry has another reaction.  We haven’t tried eggs since, and Henry was unable to get the flu shot due to his egg allergy.  Apparently the virus is grown in eggs, which is why children with egg allergies will have a reaction.  Both the mist and the shot are egg allergenic.  Be sure to read the waivers for your baby before he/she gets shots! 

At five months, Henry’s pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to try yogurt and cheese.  I tried the Yo-Baby brand yogurt by Stonyfields – I’ve since learned that Yo Baby has a lot of additives that plain yogurt doesn’t have.  Henry gobbled up the yogurt in two seconds, but ten minutes later broke out in a rash, not hives.  The nurse suggested we stay away from dairy until after his first birthday.  Ugh.  Around 9 months his pediatrician suggested we either have an allergy test (blood draw), or try slowly reintroducing dairy to Henry’s diet.  I try to avoid pricking Henry as much as possible, he had enough of that after his birth.  I first introduced nonfat yogurt.  I bought the nonfat yogurt on accident, and was thrilled to find no reaction.  I didn’t notice any reaction with shredded whole milk cheese.  But when I tried whole milk yogurt, as recommended, he showed a rash.  Some people have suggested that Henry might just have very sensitive skin.  He has eczema, and we bathe him every other day to prevent over-drying.  I’ve stopped giving him dairy, and it seems that his eczema has slightly improved.  Instead of dairy, I give Henry soy products.  He loves Tofu (silken - it's smoother and doesn't make him choke) and I mix soy milk into his oatmeal in the morning.  Luckily, he can still drink my breast milk when I eat dairy. 

Allergies are a pain.  There are some milk allergies in our family, and I’m lactose intolerant.  The intolerance disappeared when I was pregnant, but unfortunately returned a few months after the delivery.  We don’t have any history of egg allergies.  I’m hoping Henry will outgrow both soon.  In the meantime, I’ll refrain from lunging at Chris with peanut butter, egg whites, milk and anything else that might irritate Henry’s delicate skin.        

Below are a couple informational links on egg and dairy allergies:

1 comment:

  1. Just be careful giving boys soy products such as tofu as they enhance estrogen that is already in the system. Boys should also steer clear of lavender and tea tree products, as these can also cause the development of excess female hormones in the system.