As parents, we worry about dietary allergies and what we are exposing our children to that could cause an alarming reaction and a scary trip to the emergency room. I’ve never really worried with Ada since neither Rick nor I have a history of allergies. I’m aware of the dangers and know to get her to the ER. I’ve heard stories of peanut allergies mostly. But it never really occurred to me that Ada might have seasonal allergies like Rick. We all had a bad cold during the Winter/Spring season transition, or I assumed it was a cold. Then Rick realized it was allergy season and our doctor suggested Zyrtec. Tree pollen has been bad all month so that could be it. Combined with a four day vacation at Grandma and Grandpas’ houses with multiple dogs and cats, makes me seriously suspect allergies as the cause.
In talking to friends about Ada’s symptoms – coughing so much she throws up clear phlegm or her latest meal, often at night or first thing in the morning, and now involving tons of snot that I’d classify as yellowish and disgusting—I’ve heard that some parents are having success with Zyrtec but it takes a few days to kick in so you have to keep them on it for awhile. Another recommendation was the addition of probiotics (like those found in Activa Yogurt) to her diet, which worked for a friend of a friend. And still another mom suggested getting children allergy tested once they are over two since that's when it is more accurate. I’m not excited about doing that until we know the Zyrtec doesn’t help and if we haven’t had any luck figuring out the causes just by observing her and taking note of what possible triggers may be.
Rick, on the other hand, is all for the allergy testing. Clearly he has never been tested, isn’t totally clear on what it entails and how painful it can be, and hasn't heard the horror stories. Or he just considers the benefits of knowing what she's allergic to more important than that trauma it will put her through. I had a friend who was tested in college and learned that she was allergic to 90% of the allergens she was tested for. I remember her showing me the red welts covering her entire back afterwards all labeled with their corresponding allergens. She was miserable for hours after the skin test. How do you explain that experience to a two-year-old? That’s where I draw the line. If Rick wants to know what the specific allergens are and the doctor recommends Ada should be tested, that’s fine. But I won’t be around when they do it unless they prove to me that it needs to be done.
In talking with other moms of kids with allergies, I am more thankful that Ada hasn’t had any food allergies so far. And I’m planning to stock up on Benedryl allergy strips to put in the car, house, diaper bag, and my purse so that I’m ready to at least buy her, or another child whom I happen to be around, enough time to get to the ER for treatment should they have a bad reaction. I’ve heard they are a lifesaver, literally. Not that I want to live in constant fear of having a kid react to an allergen on my watch, but it would give me more piece of mind since I don't cary EPI pens around in my back pocket.
Moral of the story: Watch for allergic reactions in your own children, be cautions when watching other children, and be prepared to act quickly should an allergy appear. That's the best you can do.