I grew up with my sister who had many food allergies but I never appreciated how much work that was for my mom to manage. We always had to plan around the allergies and I grew up thinking we were pretty normal. Now that I am a mom to a child with allergies I have come to see that allergens are everywhere and in the years that I lived with my sister out of the house I quickly adjusted to not checking labels and paying attention to content. It’s been a rough journey so far with some lessons learned the hard way.
Mazie has been an overall healthy kid and we introduced food on a regular time schedule. I asked her pediatrician about allergies since they are extremely common in the family and the doctor said there wasn’t much cause for worry. Mazie has had eczema her whole life and has broken out in rashes but we couldn’t figure out what the cause was. Her first episode for anaphylaxis we were on vacation visiting family in Portland. My husband was attending a conference and Mazie and I were home with his aunt. We were eating lunch and she started to fuss in the high chairs and rubbing her eye. I thought she was just getting ready for her nap and when I went to clean her up I realized she had broken out in hives and her face was starting to swell.
Mazie had covered herself in her lunch. I had no idea what to do. She was less than a year old and no doctor or nurse I contacted would tell me if I should give her Benadryl . I gave her a quick bath to get the allergen off her and had the most nerve racking drive to the ER full of uncertainty and fear and trying to figure out what she ate that caused such a severe reaction. I recall how difficult it was to remember her birthday in my panic to get her treatment. To this day I am still unsure as to what actually caused that severe reaction. After that experience we arranged to meet with an allergist and got EpiPens but that’s another story.