Guest post by Sarah of Early Bird Mom
This post is part 1 of a 2-part series! Be sure to come back tomorrow for 7 Things I Learned About Food Allergies.
In November of 2011, I was at my wit’s end with my baby’s ever-worsening skin problems. At 8 months, he was delightfully chubby, but he had suffered from eczema almost since birth. He suffered a severe case of cradle cap, random rashes on his face, and eventually scratched behind his little knees so much that he bled.
I put socks on his hands during naps but he often managed to pull them off and scratch, scratch, scratch. The poor kid was miserable.
I tried everything I could think of to ease his skin problems.
I switched to cloth diapers. I used only hypoallergenic skin care and laundry products for him. I spent a fortune on special creams. I made my own lotions.
The doctor prescribed steroid creams which helped temporarily but couldn’t be used on his face. I could not imagine what was irritating his skin so severely.
In desperation, I decided to try a gluten-free, dairy-free diet.
I read that dairy and gluten could be triggers for eczema so eliminating them might bring relief. He was breastfeeding at that point with a little homemade baby food. I would have to be the one to give up the gluten and the dairy. I thought it would be one of the hardest things I’d ever stuck to. Little did I know that these two foods would be just the tip of the iceberg!
Two weeks later, and he was no better.
In fact, he seemed worse. His chin became red and raw and oozed in places. His rashes would come and go, but they never disappeared completely. Amazingly, through all this he was still a pretty cheerful kid, but I didn’t have the answers we needed.
Finally, our pediatrician recommended we see an allergist.
I had always thought food allergies caused breathing problems, not skin ones, so I had never really considered food as the culprit (aside from my unsuccessful elimination trial). How could my baby have food allergies when my diet was so healthy? I was completely freaked out by the possibility of skin prick testing for my baby, but I agreed to give it a try.
Mystery solved! Food allergies were to blame.
My son had raging positives to 3 foods: wheat, corn, peanut. No wonder the elimination diet hadn’t helped! I left that appointment reeling from the shock. Suddenly I had to keep an Epipen with us at all times in case my baby should go into anaphylactic shock. At least I had some answers. And the doctor assured me he (and I) could eat anything else.
His skin cleared up almost immediately. Not even thirty-six hours later, he looked like a different kid. Thank you, Jesus! The itching was almost gone and his red face looked normal again. Hope was in sight!
However, we weren’t done yet…
Don’t miss the conclusion of Sarah’s story in tomorrow’s post!
Have you discovered food allergies with any of your kids? What led you to that diagnosis?
Sarah Mueller is a wife and homeschool mom to 4 boys. She writes at Early Bird Mom about how you can afford a healthy lifestyle while living beneath your means.
Thank you so much for sharing! We are going through almost the exact thing, and I too have. Tried everything. I will start with dairy and make an appointment in the mean time.
Thank you for your story!! We are in the same boat. My daughter had eczema pretty early on but got much worse once switched to regular food. We did as you did. Switch all soaps, special lotions, and steroid cream from the doctor and nothing helped. Finally she ate pizza and tacos in the same day and her legs were VERY red and covered in what I assume was hives. I called the doctor the next day and they did an allergy test. Turns out she can not have eggs or dairy and is allergic to cats and dogs. Stopped her on dairy (we dont eat many eggs) and skin is almost 100% better
My daughter had the red cheek patches. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 18 mo then with celiac at 3. Her skin is still super dry during winter months, but her red patches are gone!!
If she’s not allergic to coconut you can try coconut milk as a moisturizer. Put it in a container and place in the fridge, as it gets cold it thickens and then you can use it as a moisturizer for the skin. All natural and fairly cheap. Last two or three weeks in the fridge.
Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry
Thank you for sharing such an important post to so many of us mothers. On a personal note, I have found my monthly skin flare-ups have subsided since going gluten free, limiting my dairy consumption and using only natural homemade beauty products.
I also thank you for sharing! I have been struggling with this with my daughter for over 1 year. Her eczema started raging when she was 3 months old (she is now 18 months old), and has continued since, though, we found out she’s severely allergic to dairy (we have an epipen for her), and we discovered she’s allergic to eggs (she’d get oozy rashes). Once we eliminated those, her skin got better, but not fully cleared, so there is still more she’s allergic to, I think.
What kind of allergy test did they do – skin pricks, blood test?
My daughters test was a blood test.
We went through the same thing for almost two years! I called the allergists, when the pediatrician finally recommended we go to one, and they would tell me there was nothing they could do for eczema. Finally I called an allergist that said to bring my son in. They had to give him meds to get his skin to calm down enough to do a skin test. 🙁 I felt like a horrible mother for letting him itch for so long. I asked his pediatrician over and over about something other than eczema and was just told hopefully he would out grow it. They even told me it wasn’t that bad. To me, scratching until you make yourself bleed is bad. Anyway, we found that he has several allergies. We eliminated all from his diet. We even removed the carpet in our house and sent our dog to live with my grandmother. His skin is much better now. He occasionally breaks out but nothing like he used to. I wish pediatricians were quicker to recommend an allergist. I hate that he had to deal with it so long. Now I have a 2 month old and I’m already on an elimination diet for her. 🙁 The allergist said we can test her at 6 months. Neither my husband or myself have allergies. Thank you for your post. I hope that your little one outgrows all his allergies.
I had the same thing happen to my son at 3 months and we finally got into a Ped Allergist at 9 months, he is allergic to Eggs, Wheat, Dairy, Peanuts, and Green beans so far. Since I nurse it has been easier in someways to eliminate his allergens but if I have something with the label “May contain traces of” he will have a little flair on his face and head. I have found that ScratchSleeves are our lifesaver! When he has a little flair and is itchy, I just put those on and he cant get them off. Good luck in your allergy journey and I hope you never have to use that Epi- Pen! http://www.scratchsleeves.co.uk/
Isn’t it amazing how such a tiny amount can pass through the breastmilk? Good luck with your little one!
At 63, I was fighting little white heads on my face and red splotches. Tomatoes in any form are the culprit!!!
My now 2.5 year old was diagnosed after bloodwork confirmed allergies to dairy, egg and peanut when she was 9 months old. Ironically, she did absolutely fine with all of those items when I was breastfeeding her. For some reason, the proteins were breaking down enough when it passed through my system so that it did not impact her. However, her first taste of yogurt led to giant hives over her entire body, puking, and a red rash on her back/tummy/chin that lasted for a week! Even now, she can’t touch dairy or she instantly develops hives. We go back for yearly testing and she is slowly growing out of the egg allergy and can now tolerate baked egg.
My daughter now 6 still can’t touch milk. she breaks out horribly. I think the worse was when I accidentally bought her the wrong ice cream. I usually buy soy chocolate stuff but i don’t know what I was thinking when i bought a lactose free one. just the tip of the spoon on her lips made them blow up like over-inflated balloons. she said her throat and tongue itched too .. It’s crazy!
My daughter has went through a very similar situation and was healed of her allergies. She no longer has a restricted diet or any allergy symptoms. You can read our story at http://pinsandpigtails.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-familys-journey-to-natural-medicine.html
This is really interesting. My 7 month old has cradle cap and weird skin rashes. I have tried switching detergent brands, soaps, lotions, everything. He has a check up on Tuesday and I am going to ask about the allergist and if we can get a referral. I never thought about a food allergy because no one else in our family has anything like it. Thank you so much for sharing.
10 years ago my son had rash about rash and was vomiting. The pediatrician sent me to a dermatologists. They diagnosed eczema. Nobody could ever account for the vomiting. He finally grew out of it a few months later, butt I believe it was an adieu to food of some sort!
My daughter is allergic to milk and soy. When she comes in contact with any dairy product, she throws up uncontrollably and has hives (looks like red splotches of tiny raised bumps).
I may have to look into this, my oldest son struggles w/ eczema on his hands and other random spots. Nothing ever makes it go away! And now our youngest daughter seems to be going that way too, her face stays reddened much like the first picture of your son and she also has some random patches on her bottom and legs.
My daughter, now 6 was the exact same way as your son. Originally the doctor said eczema. He gave me different creams natural and steroids as well. I had noticed that EVERY time I would visit my mom my daughter rubbed her elbow raw and her cheeks bled more and more. Conclusion I came up with that i drank more coffee then (oh yeah I nursed her exclusively) and not only plain coffee but coffee with lots of milk. after this discovery I stopped drinking cows milk in my coffe. the day that made it 1000% clear that she is allergic to dairy, my daugher stole one macaroni and cheese noodle from her sister. that was the last thing she ate. Just one. 10 minutes later while in a stroler after leaving the restaurant she had a weird cough– looking back it was the scariest thing ever– I turned to look at Isabelle and she had hives from head to toe the size of quarters. After this episode, I got my doctor to test for additional allergies as I knew there were more. Initial test was positive for Dairy, eggs and peanuts. we weren’t given an epi pen as benadry, which I carry every, works just fine. Currently she is allergic to every grass in our area, Oak trees, poplar trees, maple trees, pines trees, mold dust and anything with fur. we haven’t developed any new allergies to foods but the ones we have are still there– diary still is still the worst. can’t even touch it. I hope these allergies are out grown– but even if they are not, there are plenty of yummy foods out there for our babies or big kids to enjoy.
If you use cortisone cream know the risk of Red Skin Syndrome. ITSAN has more info. It’s more common than realized. Unfortunately it usually goes undiagnosed. It is hell to go through, so know the risk before using steroid cream.
16 years ago . My first daughter was born, and immediately had skin problem . We did all the things you did . Also our doctor actually told us to use vegetable shortening after her bath ( and to bathe her less often. )
Now 16years later she has a few flair ups but her youngest sister seems to have bouts of it as well . Here we go again.
I was still breastfeeding when our pediatrician gave us the same diagnosis. But instead of going to an allergist, she managed it herself. Skin tests often give false answers, so she had me eat chicken and rice for a week. Roasted chicken, steamed rice. 1 week. We used to call our baby “our little lizard” because of his extreme eczema. We also used to put socks on his hands while he slept. His scratching place was his head and he constantly looked like a chicken had attacked him. Within 3-4 days he was completely clear. I added ONE food every 3 days until we had developed a list of everything that made him break out. I found it much more revealing than guessing and eliminating. What’s interesting is that he still tests negative for many of his food allergies, but still shows a complete systemic reaction to them when he consumes them. We went to an allergist when he was around 9 yo to see if he’d outgrown them and the allergist encouraged us to feed him the foods he tested negative for. One ended up with a trip to the hospital and a very embarrassed allergist. Please, readers, do not rely on skin tests for food allergies. They are just not accurate. We went to a 2nd allergist who confirmed this statement. He was much more in tune with food allergies and said that elimination (or the diet diagnosis we did) is the ONLY sure way to diagnose food allergies.
Thank you. This is really helpful. I wondered why my son tested negative for peaches and bananas but gets hives when he eats them. His pediatrician said that a negative skin test is extremely reliable so that he probably isn’t actually allergic to those fruits (but then why was he getting hives?!). I will trust the reaction over the test, which was what I was doing anyway, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with this experience.
Yes–definitely not the only one!
It’s a relief that you know what causes his allergy but I am equally sad that he don’t get to enjoy PBs. Well, I hope that he’ll outgrow those allergies and be normal again. My Allergy Easy
Yes Dx with epilepsy , skin test -Meg asked for Blood work 3 food allergies Dx
Remains seizure free since dier change
Thank you so much for this! We’re going through something similar with my 1-year-old daughter. She has these splotches that flare up from time to time under her arms between her armpit and elbow. We’re currently trying steroid cream on the rash to see if we can get it cleared up. She also occasionally gets a red, small spot rash on her cheeks, but not sure what’s causing that.
My sister sent me this link, I dealt with the same exact situation in 2012. My sweet faced little boy developed a terrible case of eczema on his face and shoulders. It was so bad, it cracked and oozed and scaled up. I tried every cream, detergent, soap… On the market! I was exclusively nursing him so I turned to my diet. I omitted wheat, corn and dairy and after a month it was no better. One day he was crawling around and came upon a sibling’s abandoned granola bar and ate it. About an hour afterwards he developed a horrible cough and his eyes looked really puffy. We discovered he had a peanut allergy. I had omitted everything from my diet except peanuts! In fact they became my choice snack! I put peanut butter in everything!! His skin has been so clear since we made this discovery 🙂
My daughter developed severe eczema all over her body (dark red, large patches; severe itching that she’d scratch till bleeding). After having to resort to steroid creams to help clear up initially, I started doing my own research for more natural healing methods. I put her on a daily probiotic and fish oil pill (after getting approval from her pediatrician), and she had no further eczema whatsoever. Because I started them at the same time, I’m not sure which one helped or if it was the combo, but I now know the fish oil is necessary because they quit carrying the brand I bought and she did without for a month, and the eczema came back in full force. I have started her on a new brand now, and hopefully will get it under control once again. Just wanted to share in case it could work for any others. 🙂