Over the weekend we had an "opportunity" to follow our Allergy Action Plan. It started Saturday when C decided to try (aka, take without asking) some of Hubby's hot mustard. He had never had it before, so we checked the label and saw it contained egg, so we had him stop. This is where we should have given him Benadryl and then watched him closely. Instead, we just watched him closely, no Benadryl was given. There really is no reason for this...sure we were busy, I was heading out to do something for work so we were trying to finish lunch and I was trying to get some things done to help Hubby out since he would be with the boys all afternoon by himself (no reason to make this task any harder than necessary!) So, for some reason we overlooked giving the meds right away, I gave hugs and kisses and walked out the door.
To be clear: he had very little of the hot mustard.
I called Hubby when I was on my way home, and he told me that C broke out in hives on his legs about 30-40 min after I left and he gave him Benadryl. C was doing okay, and his hives were starting to look better already. Whew, minor allergy issue fixed. We still had the Epi-Pen close by, just in case!
However, right before his next dose of Benadryl, a few more hives appeared so we gave him his meds and watched him closely. The night went well, he slept all night, we didn't see a lot of itching when we went in to check on him, all seemed good during the night.
Then, Sunday morning he woke up with a few more hives on different parts of his body, not just his legs. This concerned us and I planned on calling the doctor, but didn't feel a call at 6am was needed. So, I googled food allergy hives and when I couldn't find the information I needed, I turned to Twitter. I was curious if it was common for hives from food allergies to spread more than 12 hours after ingestion and antihistamine was given. I was given some great advice and support, I couldn't have asked for more from so many people who don't even know me!
I called the doctor at a more reasonable hour and waited for her to call back. The most common piece of advice was to follow C's Food Allergy Action Plan. At this point, we were following his plan. We were to administer Benadryl at any sign of hives and call the doctor if hives did not go away. Since no other bodily system (mouth, gut, throat, etc.) was being affected, there was no reason (according to our plan) to give the Epi-Pen or go to the ER. The doctor called back and said that if the hives persisted past 24 hours, that it was likely a virus (he has a history of hives with virus' and had just gotten over a virus the week before). Since his hives persisted the rest of the day, we thought it was probably a coincidence with the timing of trying the mustard, and decided to call the doctor in the morning to get him seen.
However, the next morning (Monday) I got even more concerned. His hives had spread to his face. Poor guy! He's had hives on his face, but never like this. If I hadn't talked to the allergist the day before, I probably would have been very scared and worried. However, the allergist reminded us what to look for to decide if we need the Epi-Pen and I felt good about waiting until we could get into the doctor.
We got to the pediatricians office, and after explaining the conversation with the allergist the doctor said...Penicillin allergy. What? Didn't I mention he was on an antibiotic for a bought of pneumonia 10 days before? Yeah...I forgot to mention that to the allergist as well. After talking to the allergist again about what happened, she said even if she knew he was on the medicine, she probably wouldn't have thought penicillin allergy with his history of hives from virus' and without seeing him. Apparently he had classic "medication allergy hives."
What did we learn from this experience? We know our son the best and what type of reaction he's having (what's a mild reaction for him, might have been a more severe reaction for someone else). We didn't feel the ER was needed because of past history and our allergy plan. When talking to a doctor, remember to mention all medication! Even if this wouldn't have changed what she told us to do, it might have...or the result might not have been the same, it might have been bad, very bad. Remember your Food Allergy Action Plan. Giving C Benadryl sooner would not have stopped this particular reaction from occurring, but if it had been a true food allergy, it might have prevented it.
In talking with the allergist about what happened, we are certain the hives had nothing to do with egg. We had some news from the allergist from a recent visit/blood test and leads us to believe such a severe reaction from egg is unlikely. I will be sure to post all about our new food allergy news soon! Let's just say there may be a food challenge in C's future, and N might not have as many allergies as previously thought!
**If you or your child has food allergies, please have a solid plan in place, and remember to review it often. A child is never too young to have a plan. Even before C was in preschool, we had a plan in place, and written out with the help of the doctor. This was very helpful for us as parents, and for those who watched C. It helped make us more comfortable leaving him, and them more comfortable watching him :) **