Tag Archives: eczema

Living with a kid with food allergies

I was interviewed a few weeks ago by Paul Abra of Island Parent Radio. Paul is putting together a show about kids with allergies and how it affects the entire family. Also on the show Paul interviewed Dr. Janice Joneja an allergy nutrition specialist and author of Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children If you have a kid with allergies, I can highly recommend this book.

I remember when The Boy was first diagnosed with his allergies a year ago (milk, soy, wheat, eggs and peanuts), my wife and I scrambled for information on how to deal with it. And the way you deal with allergies in an infant is by eliminating the allergens from your diet. This meant a massive rethink in the way we eat and, in fact, to the relationship we have with food. I don’t know that we necessarily eat healthier as a family because of the diagnosis, but I do know that we eat differently than we did before.

I sometimes refer to it as a conscious diet, and it sounds obvious – you pay attention to what you eat. You know what is going into your body and consciously decided what to put in. This wasn’t always the case before the diagnosis. Eating was sometimes a reflexive activity, something I didn’t always think about. But when you have a kid with allergies, you become very aware of what goes in to everyone’s body in your family, not just theirs.

And it wasn’t until we were faced with developing a conscious
relationship with our food did I realize how truly varied a diet can
be. It’s pretty easy to fall into a food rut and eat the same foods
over and over out of both habit and necessity. But having a kid with
allergies forces you to examine the full range of food available. And
when you start to look at what you can eat as opposed to what you
can’t, the problem turns into an opportunity as you begin to explore the full range of food available out there.

The interview airs Tuesday, May 6th at 7PM pacific on Village 900 radio.

An allergy update (and why I wish we had a dog)

It has been 6 months since The Boy was been diagnosed with allergies (nuts, wheat, soy, dairy and eggs). A few weeks ago we had a follow up appointment with the pediatrician. We were hoping that he would suggest another round of testing to see if he had outgrown any, but instead he suggested we stay the course and retest in the new year. Staying the course means continuing on the elimination diet of all potential allergens.

Living with allergies has changed everything in our house. The obvious is learning how to cook and eat well balanced meals without wheat, soy, eggs, dairy or nuts. Thankfully, 2 books recommended to us have helped immensely. The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook: Two Hundred Gourmet & Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family and Food Allergy Survival Guide: Surviving and Thriving With Food Allergies and Sensitivities. Without either, I’m sure our lifestyle would be even more hampered. But, thanks to some of the recipes in this book, my wife and The Boy are able to still enjoy home baking. Six months ago, if you would have said to us that we would be able to make and enjoy muffins, breads and cookies without wheat, eggs, or dairy we probably would have scoffed. But these cookbooks have some great alternatives that are delicious and satisfy the food restrictions.

But, as we are discovering, living with allergies is much more than just cooking differently. Since we do not know the extent of his allergies, we have to be hyper-vigilante when he is awake and on the move or else run the (albeit low) risk of anaphylaxis. We are constantly on guard, especially now that he is 10 months old, mobile and like a Hoover, sucking up every morsel of food he finds on the floor.

Like many people, so much of our social life revolves around food. Parties always involve food, and there is always this low level anxiety hanging over you as you constantly watch for a dropped a nut, piece of cracker or cheese onto the floor or just within arm reach.

Birthday cake has been eliminated.

And, with the start of daycare looming in another month or so, the thought that we won’t be there to watch and supervise while he is in close proximity to a dozen other kids is frightening. Fortunatly, the staff are excellent and highly trained in dealing with kids with allergies.

We’ve bought our first Epipen Jr. Let me tell you, nothing drives home the point that things are really different than seeing an example of how to administer an Epipen to a kid in full anaphylaxis.

I suppose it is like living with any condition (for lack of a better term). It is always there. It hangs over everything, and colours everyday decisions. Our hope is that he will outgrow them (as 80% of kids do) by his third birthday. But maybe not. Perhaps this is the new reality of our life. If so, it is going to be made much more difficult when he starts to realize that he isn’t eating birthday cake at the parties.

Eczema, allergies and Mom takes one for the team

I wrote a few weeks ago that the eczema on The Boy’s skin was getting out of control. Well, after meeting with a pediatrician and getting some blood work done, it looks like the final verdict is allergies. Just a few.


Wow. This is gonna change a few things.

Being exclusively breastfed means that Mom has had to, um, alter her diet a tad to bring it in line with our new reality, which is going to be tough. Rice is her best friend, at least for the next 2 weeks until she gets so sick of the stuff that she starts firebombing Chinese restaurants out of spite.

The good news is that 80% of babies will grow out of most of the allergies (the one exception is peanuts, which is around 20%), so hopefully this is not something that will continue much past his third birthday. And, with a diet that will consist of virtually no processed foods, lots of fruit, veg and protein, chances are we will all eat a little bit healthier because of it.

I’m in awe of my wife. Not once has she even considered that she would stop breastfeeding, knowing full well that breastfeeding is one of the best things she can do to give The Boy a fighting chance and help him grow out of all this. She has decided that the temporary inconvenience of giving up cheese, milk, bread, soy, ice cream, *insert any favorite food here* is minor compared to the benefits of breastfeeding.

It actually seems fitting that this is all happening around Mothers Day. After all, Mothers Day is when we celebrate all those unselfish acts that Mom undertook on our behalf to make us better people. And my wife is living it right now. And I’m very proud of her.

Getting rid of eczema

The Boy has a wicked case of eczema that we’ve been waging war on for the past few months. We don’t seem to be winning, so I am tossing out a request to the wonderful internet world to see what comes back.

Have you had to deal with eczema and, if so, how did you get rid of it?

So far, our strategies have included:

  • Changing laundry detergent. We’ve been using Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent, which works well, but so far has not had the desired effect.
  • .5% hydrocortisone cream. We really wanted to avoid this route, but after trying a few other products, this one seemed to work temporarily. But then the bloody stuff flared up again.
  • Eliminating dairy. Mom took one for the team. No milk in the coffee, cheese, yoghurt…nada. It’s been over a week and still no change.
  • Calendula moisturizing cream. Same as the Hydrocortisone. Some temporary relief, but nothing long lasting.

So, anyone else have any suggestions of things to try? We’re off the the family physician today who I am sure will up the hydrocortisone up to 1%, which I would like to avoid if possible. Something about smearing steroids on The Boy’s skin gives me the heebie-jeebie’s.


Came back from the Dr. and she has prescribed a 1% hydrocortisone cream, as expected. We’re also heading to a pediatrician to do some allergy testing.

Also came across the National Eczema Organization website with some good tips on treating eczema in children. It looks like moisturize, moisturize, moisturize will be our mantra for the next little while. Look at that. 3 months old and already the little guy is getting his first glimpse in the world of the metrosexual male.