Last week my 2 year old, Malachi, had follow-up allergy testing. It’s hard to believe it’s already been just over a year since he had an anaphylactic reaction after eating a couple of bites of egg and we discovered that he was allergic to not only egg, but milk, peanuts, and cashews as well.
It’s definitely been a learning curve to get used to reading every label…several times…before feeding him anything. There have been times that I was rushing and missed a “hidden” ingredient that contained an allergen and didn’t notice until I read the label at home again before giving it to him!
We learned early on that any trash or recycling containers that contained allergens….like milk bags or yogurt containers that the kids ate, should go directly into the big bins in the garage because Malachi would pull them out of the kitchen trash (not so much now, but definitely when he was about 12-18 months old.)
We learned that sometimes cross contamination might happen and we might have NO clue what he reacted to.
We learned that the one time we assume the other spouse put the epipens in the diaper bag is probably the one time that spouse assumed the same thing.
We’ve learned that when looking for egg and dairy free recipes, it’s easier to just search for vegan recipes. And that baking without milk and eggs will have some failed attempts.
We’ve learned that some things will be more expensive…buying rice or soy milk, for example…but some things will be cheaper: cooking even more from scratch than we had before, not being able to grab a quick bite from a restaurant while out because they have open peanuts in their menu.
We’ve learned about allergy labeling and how blessed we are that in Canada, there are 10 mandatory allergens they are required to list instead of 8 in the US, but also that companies are not required to list possible contamination allergens. “Processed in a facility that processes ____” and “may contain” labels are a courtesy! Hopefully that will change one day. We’ve learned to remember which brands list contamination risks and which don’t.
We’ve learned to check the expiration dates of new epipens before leaving the pharmacy to make sure their expiry date is at least a year away because once you leave the store, they can’t accept them back for an exchange if you get home and realize one of them expires in 6 months.
We’ve learned that although there are unfortunately some people who think the dangers of food allergies are over-exaggerated, but that for the most part, people are very aware or at least willing to learn about what is safe and what isn’t.
Honestly, we’ve learned so much in the past year that there’s no way I can list everything. We have been very fortunate that Malachi hasn’t had any severe reactions. He’s only had a few minor (hives) reactions to milk products and one reaction that we still aren’t sure of the cause that was also just hives.
I’ve been praying and praying that he would outgrow his allergies or at the very least, not develop new ones.
When we went to the allergist recently, we discovered that unfortunately he is now allergic to two more tree nuts. This doesn’t really affect how we buy food or cook because we avoid all tree nuts anyway. But he’s added almond and hazelnut to his list.
However, his milk allergy is fading and we’re now allowed to try him with baked milk. He’s had a few different baked or processed foods with milk as a low-on-the-list ingredient or “may contain” risk and has done fine so far! So hopefully this allergy will eventually fade completely. He still has a strong allergy to egg.
And that’s about it! Do any of your kids or yourself have food allergies? What have you learned that you’d like to share with other families who might be new to food allergies?