Thursday, January 19, 2012

Allergy Alert!

Today we got the results of Sam's allergy tests. There's good news and bad news, but let me start at the beginning.

For a redhead, Sam had remarkably good skin from birth. He was a little prone to dryness, and we had to watch for diaper rash, but overall he had no real problems.

Shortly after he turned two, he got a dry, scaly patch on the top of his foot. It was the leg he had in a cast, so we didn't think much about it.

That was the end of February last year, and we couldn't get that patch to go away completely. Then it started on the other foot. By summer the tops of both of his feet were rough, scaly and itchy from the toes to the ankles. We saw the doctor and got a steroid cream that cleared things up, but as soon  as we stopped using it, the rash came back.

By May, the rash was all over his feet, on the backs of his knees, in the creases of his elbows and on his wrists. It started to spread up his legs and from his wrists to his knees. At one point last summer, his legs looked so bad that someone asked me if he had poison ivy. And it itched so much that one day at the library he took his shoe off and rubbed his foot on the carpet until it bled.

The itching was waking him up at night, too, so all around, he was getting to be pretty miserable.

So, off to the dermatologist with us. The first round of steroid cream and an antibiotic for a possible secondary infection from all the scratching helped a little. The second round of a new steroid cream in August made a huge difference, but as soon as we stopped using it, the rash came back with a vengeance.

We made an appointment with a pediatric dermatologist. But by this time I knew that the problem was more than skin-related. I had voiced my suspicions about allergies to more than one doctor, but no one really grabbed on to it. I just felt like it must be something he was ingesting or being continuously exposed to, because of the way the rash was spreading.

By the time the boys were three, I had tapped into the homeopathic community and we started using calendula as a moisturizer. I highly recommend it. It's a natural moisturizer and has made a world of difference in Sam's skin, making it far less rough and scaly. California Baby makes a calendula conditioner that has completely cleared up the scaliness on Sam's scalp. We also found a homeopathic anti-itch ointment that includes aloe and comfrey that helped with the itch.

I finally got Sam in with an allergist at the end of the year for an IgG/IgE blood screen for allergies. And today we got the results.

The good news is that he is not outright (IgE) allergic to anything -- no foods, no grasses or trees, not even cats, which put me right over the edge. He also has no sensitivity to gluten and does not have celiac disease.

However, he is moderately sensitive (IgG) to two biggies: wheat and soy. And he has very low sensitivity to everything in the dairy family except casein. And he has three things he is very highly sensitive to: salmon, peanuts and garlic. Random, I know.

The upshot of all this is that the doctor wants us to eliminate all wheat, soy and dairy for six months, and steer clear of his high allergens, too.

I know this won't be easy, but there are a lot good resources out there, and we'll figure it out. Tonight I bought almond milk and bread that is wheat, dairy and soy free, as well as a non-dairy, non-soy butter substitute. I just have my fingers crossed that Sam will eat any of it. He is a pretty picky eater, and carbs are his favorite thing.

We have talked with Sam about how some foods are making his skin all rashy and itchy and how the doctor told us he can't eat them anymore. He, in turn, informed his brothers and sisters of that fact, so I know he understands.

Understanding and accepting are two very different things, though, so I'll be holding my breath.

More to come on this subject, I'm sure.

© Trippin' Mama 2012


Suzy said...

Very interesting! Isaac was a redhead when he was born, and he's always had sensitive skin. The last few months he's had a scaly rash spreading on his legs and arms. Derm says it's eczema and using Cetaphil is helping, but I wonder if I shouldn't take him to an allergist, too. Send me your doc's name!

Lara said...

One of my boys has had a number of allergy issues. He has outgrown many of them but I am going to have him retested soon. I found the website priceless. They have a recipe database and community boards that offer a great deal of support. Good luck!

Christy AKA Trippin' Mama said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Lara!