Jack and I didn’t have any food allergies growing up, so I just assumed that one day I’d be sitting next to my kids, eating peanut butter out of a jar. Not only is peanut butter off the table (quite literally), but there is an overwhelming list of allergies stuck to my refrigerator. I felt enormous guilt for their food allergies (was it because I drank milk when I was pregnant? ate peanut butter? wolfed down chili dogs? The answer is no, by the way), but their allergist told me that when two people have childhood asthma and childhood eczema, it is very likely that their kids can develop allergies.
Say what now? No one told us that in premarital counseling… Jack had terrible childhood asthma and I had terrible childhood eczema.
I really believe that asthma, eczema, and allergies are all intertwined. If I was a betting girl, I’d say that had our parents been advised to change our diets when we were children, our asthma and eczema would have significantly improved.
A quick rundown: Remmy (my five year old) + Sophie (my three and a half year old) have a long list of food allergies. Minnie is allergic to nothing. Nothiiiing! Sophie has asthma, Remmy + Sophie deal with eczema, and both girls are allergic to dogs and cats. Remmy needs to get further testing from other environmental allergies, but she and Sophie are allergic to pollen and Sophie is very allergic to dust mites.
As far as food allergies go, I wrote about that here.
Before Sophie was two, Jack and I would be on edge any time she had a cold. It seemed like the cold would always trigger an asthmatic episode, and nebulizer treatments weren’t enough. It would be 1am, the wheezing would be awful, and the neb treatments weren’t enough. We’d call our pediatrician, and he’d immediately instruct us to call 911. Boom. Two day stay in the hospital. It was awful for us; totally worse for a toddler who wanted to be at home in her own crib.
We took her back to her allergist for more testing (she had already been diagnosed as being allergic to dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame). The results came back – Sophie is also allergic to wheat, soy, and eggs. We immediately removed those from her diet, and within a couple of weeks we noticed that 1) her asthma improved dramatically, 2) her eczema improved, and 3) she was *finally* sleeping through the night. Big, big life changers for us (and all of the sleep-deprived parents said amen).
The takeaway: If your child suffers from asthma or eczema, get him/her tested for allergies. Is there a link? Maybe. Probably. I mean, YES, TOTALLY (in my mind), but I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so all I have to offer you is anecdotal evidence. There are no adverse reactions to getting tested, so try it is my best advice here. :) It was not fun overhauling our diets yet again (Remmy tested positive for wheat and soy allergies that same day), but there’s simply no comparing a pricey Whole Foods trip to a pricey hospital trip.
How about you? Have you had your kids tested for allergies?