Life with Food Allergies
When my daughter was about 10 months old, I gave her a tiny bit of egg to try—we had been trying many new foods successfully, especially pureed fruits and veggies, and a bit of mashed up egg was next on the list and considered age appropriate. She was so miserable. She couldn’t talk much, of course, so I couldn’t figure out why she cried and cried and cried ---and then the throwing up began. No more eggs. At age 2, she tried a tiny bit of almond for the first time and her reaction was the same. My pediatrician thought that waiting until age 3 for allergy testing would be sufficient, but, when my daughter’s eyes swelled nearly shut after accidentally touching a bit of egg white, I knew I’d be visiting the allergist sooner than three years old.
We have an egg and nut free household now. We’ve been reassured that she may outgrow the egg allergy, but these two ingredients are so prevalent that everywhere I go, I have to ask what is in a particular dish. I bring food with us to restaurants, vacations, and friend’s houses, just to be on the safe side. I have to make sure that she is not around any cooking with eggs as this reaction has become more severe over time. Some people understand the life-threatening danger a simple food can pose, some do not. We try to make food life fun, though, by making Jello and Rice Krispie treats together as these are two of the few “treats” she can eat. She helps me make bread regularly and we have a great time doing it, but….
Is this strong allergic reaction hereditary? My husband and I do not have food allergies, but my sister’s son does. What is the cause in the 18% rise in incidence of food allergies between 1997 and 2007 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)?
Regardless of the cause, it is something that keeps you on alert, especially when away from home. We plan to homeschool (not because of this) but even at homeschool co-ops, birthday parties, and extracurricular activities one must be always ready to break out the Children’s Benadryl, or worse, the Epi-Pen.
How do other parents out there cope with food allergies? We focus on trying not to make her feel different from others and “celebrate” the many things she can eat---what are some positive things others do?