Yesterday afternoon, my son developed a rash on his face. If not for our food allergy experience, I’d probably shrug it off as sensitive skin. I’d monitor it; it would go away. And if it didn’t, I’d call the doctor. No big deal.
But when your child has broken out in hives after a single swallow of yogurt and has tested positive for a number of food allergies, you’re obligated to pause and wonder with every outbreak of anything: What did he eat?
It was a Monday, which is our day to play, and we had played in the kitchen. So, rationally, I should ask: Did he rub some spices on his face and then in his eyes? Despite our best hand-washing efforts, this is, of course, possible. And it could certainly be what's to blame for this rash.
Still, the skin irritation looked bad, folks. So, down the hatch the Benadryl went.
And not long after, the irritation cleared.
My son went to bed around 7:15 (which is pretty typical), and all was quiet — until 9:30 when we heard him coughing. No, wait. That’s not coughing. That’s vomiting. This was followed by a few rounds of cleaning up and more vomiting. (We have a towel/blanket/laundry/sleep-in-the-living-room process when he’s sick.) Around 3 a.m., I thought it was safe. At 6 a.m., I was proven wrong. He threw up twice more before 7:30 a.m.
No fever. No other symptoms. And generally pretty happy in between the bouts of vomit.
So, now I’m back to the original question: Was it something he ate? Was it food poisoning? Was it an allergy? We recently introduced cashews ... Was it the cashews? Did someone accidentally give him eggs or dairy? I replayed the day … Did I miss something? Did I fail to read a label? Did I buy something new? Did I buy something that changed its ingredients? Or is he just sick because he goes to daycare and daycare kids get sick a lot?
And this is the life of the allergy parent: Constant worry. Continual questioning. Always second-guessing. I know all parents worry and question and second-guess, but as an allergy parent, you worry and question and second-guess about whether a simple meal (or even just a bite) could have done harm to your child. And that's what makes it so stressful — so many more things to protect your child from.