Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to do an Elimination Diet for Food Allergies

An elimination diet can be used to identify foods responsible for food intolerance, sensitivities, and allergies. If you have one or two foods that you suspect are causing a reaction then an elimination diet may be for you. There are a couple of different ways I would approach an elimination diet. The first being eliminating the offensive food entirely from my diet for about 3 days to a month and then monitoring or journaling how this effects me. If the symptoms improve drastically or clears all together then it is safe to assume that there is, at the least, a sensitivity to the food and the best course of treatment is to avoid it, and any other food that has it listed as an ingredient. For example, say I suspect eggs as an allergy or sensitivity. Then I would want to do a trial of excluding all eggs from my diet, including eggs that are cooked in other things like cakes and cookies, etc.

Another way to conduct an elimination diet is by eliminating several suspected foods at once, again for a 3 -30 day time period. As with the single elimination I would journal or track everything that is eaten during this time period and any signs and symptoms, the severity or lessening of these symptoms, etc. At the end of the time period each food would be slowly added back to the diet, one at a time. Monitoring everything I eat and drink closely, and journaling, any and all suspected signs and symptoms. I would stop immediately, of course, if any signs and symptoms showed up that even hinted at a severe reaction, such as, swelling of the tongue or lips, a rash, hives, my teeth/throat/mouth was itching, wheezing, and would seek treatment from a professional immediately! For more on what to do when someone has a severe reaction, check out these great videos below!


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on Allergy Testing

We went back for my son's annual allergy testing last week and received some, what we had hoped would be, good news. First, my son tested negative to milk and eggs! He was elated and couldn't wait to try his first whole candy bar! I talked with the doctor about doing a food challenge and felt, since he has never had a life threatening reaction to any of the foods, we could do one safely at home. So, we started with the candy bar and he ate a piece of a Hershey candy bar about every fifteen minutes until it was all gone. No reaction! He was so excited and couldn't wait to try more things, but I wanted to take things slowly, knowing the kinds of reactions he has had in the past usually started with behavioral issues and moved into lots of sinus drainage, and then ear infections! Sure enough two days later we were starting to see the beginning signs of the effects of milk. My son started doing the whining thing, and I don't just mean the occasional whine, he was distraught over just about everything! We had seen this in the past but decided to move ahead cautiously! We let him eat things that had milk in them but not in large quantities. Such as a couple of chocolate Chip's Ahoy cookies, things like that, and we limited his selections to about two a day. Four days later the sinus drainage showed up, in full swing. He woke up in the morning with his nose totally blocked with dried drainage(o.k. snot)! Still not wanting to burst his bubble I let him continue on, but still limited how much he took in. Today is day six and he woke up with the croupy cough, plus the sinus drainage and the huge circles under the eyes! No school for him today and I had to tell him no more milk either! He was not happy, in the least! I felt really bad for him though, I know he was so excited to be just like the other kids! But once I explained to him that it was either eat things with milk in it and be sick all the time, and take a lot of medicine to keep it under control or not eat it and be able to be active and do the things he liked to do, he was fine.

Well, some of you are probably wondering how do I know it is milk causing him to exhibit these symptoms and I'll tell you, past experience. We tried a food challenge for him before when he had had a negative skin test to milk, and a positive blood test for it. The doctor said more than likely he was not allergic, so we tried the same thing then, and little by little, day by day, we saw more and more signs of an allergy to it. We stopped at around a week then also, when he woke up with a fever and ear infection.

Allergies can show up in many forms and fasions. Not all food allergies will illicit a life threatening reaction. Some will and quickly, others like my son's allergy to milk, show up slowly over several days time, which can be tricky and hard to figure out. If I suspected a food allergy and had my child tested and they came up negative, I would still probably do an elimination diet with that food and journal anything they eat, their activity levels, behavior, and any symptoms for about a month and then do a food challenge to see if there were any kind of reaction to that food. I would only do this on my own if my child didn't have, or I didn't suspect them to have a life threatening reaction with that food, otherwise I would do it under the advice of an allergy specialist! Be on the lookout in the following weeks for more information on elimination diets and how to do a food challenge, that is if I don't go into labor first and I'll keep you updated on his progress! For now check out this great interview from the Allergy Moms blog, it's with a little girl, named Maya, and what she wishes others knew about living a life with allergies!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Allergies and Vaccines, Who Knew?

Well, I was talking to my sister a while back and she said she was out and about on her farm with her husband, doing some work and he brought up something interesting about egg allergies and vaccines. Apparently, some vaccines are made with eggs! Who knew?! I, certainly, had not heard that one before and promptly set about researching it's validity. Turns out that three common vaccines are all made with eggs. The measels, mumps, rubella vaccine, the flu vaccine, and the yellow fever vaccine (o.k. maybe that one isn't so common, but I've heard of it before!). But before you freak out (like me) and decide to do away with all vaccines forever, do some research, talk with your doctor, and make the best, educated, decision for you and your family. That's what I plan on doing! Here is a great article to start with!