We've known since winter 2010 that Munchkin is allergic to peanuts (found out the hard way, ER visit and all--thankful for no anaphylaxis) and I've suspected seasonal allergies this year. We've been shuffled around the pediatric office this year since I took her in for a skin rash/irritation. They took half a look at it, called it eczema, told us to stop using anything with scents/dyes and to start using Cetaphil lotion. So we did. Nothing changed. Took her back, got another non-answer, but at least walked away from that appointment with a referral to an off-post allergist. Now we're getting somewhere.
Last Wednesday was her allergist appointment. We got the referral at the beginning of July. That's how backed up they are. We gave her the Zyrtec in the meantime, stopping a week prior (as per the allergists directions), but I never really saw any improvement with it or worsening of symptoms without it. Skin tests. The worst day of my Mommy life. 8 rows, 5 per row....40 pricks on her back. Most of them reacted. Environmental allergens: Birch, Alder, Cottonwood, Dock-Sorrel, K-O-R-T grass, dogs, cats, mice, and dust mites. Foods: peanut, egg white, garlic, and pork were "clearly allergic", "technically allergic" adds sesame, barley, beef, chicken, turkey, peas, and green beans. So right now we're avoiding all of the "clearly allergic" and if things don't get better, we start taking out "technically allergic" items.
Her dog (and cat, probably) allergy aren't the common protein allergies that cause the runny nose, watery eye symptoms that are typically associated with those allergies, so the allergist did not say we needed to get rid of Lightning--which is very good, because that's not something we want to do. The bad side of that is the protein she's likely allergic to is what tossed in some of the "technically allergic" foods.
Oh, and the 'eczema' that the on-post docs were so quick to diagnose? Yeah, not eczema. They did a skin scraping for a fungal infection test and it came back positive. Since dry skin is such a problem up here, her skin got too dry and wasn't intact enough to fight off the fungus...so here it is. At least we know what it is now and we have the steps we need to take to get rid of it. Thankfully it's not likely to pass to us (especially since she's had it for months now) because our skin is intact enough to fight it.
She's now on Singulair and Nasonex daily, with Zyrtec for itchiness as needed (which we haven't used it since the beginning of the month) and two EpiPens for emergencies. She's only let me use the Nasonex on her once (I don't like nose sprays either!) but it worked WONDERS. She complained that her nose wasn't working and she had the classic stuffed-up sound--and a sneeze that wouldn't come (that bothered her a lot!)--so one squirt in each nostril and in a few minutes she sounded back to normal and didn't complain after that! Her Singulair is a granule packet that has to be mixed in food (we choose applesauce) and so far she hasn't complained. I told her the applesauce was medicine applesauce, so just in case it tasted different, she didn't reject it. She hasn't complained about it yet. She's grasping the idea that medicine helps her feel better, so she's accepting it without the drama now.
My big worry now? Lil Man. He's started having nose & eye allergy symptoms, so I'm going to ask when he needs to be tested. I do NOT look forward to that at all. It was hard enough for Munchkin (and she kinda 'gets it'), I almost cried (She later told me "You too big to cry, Mama"), but for him? He'd have NO clue. He hasn't had a needle near him since his PKU test at 2 weeks old! So we'll see.
This is going to be a very interesting road for us. Anyone with food sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies knows that food labels aren't really that clear. Simple things (like barley) can have 5 different names and if you don't know exactly what it could be called, it's easy to let something slip. We found out that barley is used in caramel coloring....never woulda guessed. Then a bigger issue is that it can be used in maltodextrin, but so can corn....and most things don't tell you which. By default, we're going to have to be eating a lot healthier and pay a lot more attention to the little things, which is good for our health, but oh so stressful at the same time. We've made up a binder for her allergies, lists of what's ok and what's not, TRICARE paperwork, the official stuff from the allergist, recipes we can tweak, general allergy information...which I'm glad we did because I got a call yesterday saying that the pediatric clinic has lost ALL record of her being in this year. They didn't know why she had an appointment for today or what was going on. Thanks again for dropping the ball, military doctors. I am extremely thankful for TRICARE though--her allergist visit was $1000+ and we don't have to pay anything since we had the referral.
Hopefully our appointment today goes smoothly and we can get everything updated so that her records are complete. We'll get her EFMP updated and pray that it will be enough that housing will consider us for an ADA house (no carpets, which was one thing the allergist suggested to cut down on the environmental allergens, but something we have no control over in our current house). So that's the start of our current adventure...I'm sure there will be many more posts as we navigate life with allergies!!