Author Archives: amyfitz01

Annual update – long post

IMG_6285Every year we make a big trip to the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. We have been able to find good local allergists – who are the most practical to see for food challenges, pressing issues, and the endless school and camp form updates, but the chance to pick the brain once a year of one of the most prominent pediatric food allergists in the country, Dr. Scott Sicherer, is invaluable. We use these appointments to ask big questions: what should our next food challenges be, what food trials would Bubba be best suited for, what 504 accommodations should we seek when Bubba starts public school next year, what could be causing Bubba’s mystery hives, are we meeting her nutritional needs, etc. These appointments are vital to us as sources of knowledge and also for allergy-mama anxiety. Food allergies are hard. You want to fix it, but there really is no ‘fix’. Avoidance and preparedness for accidental exposure are the only real protocols. But all mamas want to fix things. It’s really really hard to just accept that your kid got the short stick. I can satisfy some of that drive with these appointments. They help me feel that I am doing everything I possibly can for my kid.

This year’s appointment was a mixed bag as usual. We added a couple new allergies (salmon and birch) which is always a bummer. Bubba had recently gotten hives on two different afternoons after I fed her a salmon dip. I suspected the salmon but she had previously tested negative for it. At the appointment we did a small series of skin-prick tests and she came back positive. I know losing salmon isn’t the end of the world, especially in the diet of a four-year-old, but adding anything to our avoidance list is very frustrating.

The addition of a birch allergy is interesting. Seasonal allergies typically don’t appear in children until ages 4-6. Bubba had previously tested negative for birch, but she was only two at the time. A birch allergy can cause oral reactions to foods that are cross-reactive. This may explain Bubba’s transient oral reactions to celery, carrots, bell peppers, raw tomatoes, and fennel. I’m hoping it will also explain away cumin, but that is less likely given her higher IgE number. A birch allergy can also cause a cross-reaction with peanut. The peanut protein Ara h 8 is so similar to birch pollen that those with a birch pollen allergy will often test positive to peanut and may have mild pollen-like allergic reactions upon ingesting peanut. That is why component testing is so important. We know, through component testing, that Bubba has a ‘true’ peanut allergy that is more often associated with anaphylaxis. But I now have big questions about whether Bubba is allergic to other legumes or if these are merely cross-reactive with birch (or peanut). She outgrew soy, eats black beans, and passed a food challenge for chick peas. She still has white beans, kidney beans, fava beans, and lima beans on her avoidance list. Imagine if we could strike four more? I also wonder if new and emerging seasonal allergies could explain her eczema flare ups and mystery hives last spring, over the summer, and this fall. Lots to think about.

The other bummer was that Dr. Sicherer doesn’t think Bubba would be likely to pass a baked milk challenge and therefore he wouldn’t support her doing one, absent much lower IgE numbers on a current blood test. Sigh. I was really hoping to start her on baked milk therapy, similar to what we’re doing with egg.

Positives from the appointment included the chance to consult again with a nutritionalist who gave us a great recommendation for a calcium and Vitamin D supplement, encouragement to give Bubba a daily probiotic (we chose this one from Mercola), and some very exciting negative skin-prick test results! Bubba tested negative for lentil and green pea. We will follow up with blood testing. If Bubba is negative for pea and can pass a food challenge, that would be HUGE. Pea protein appears in a bizzilion vegan foods that would otherwise be great milk and egg substitutes for Bubba. She had two anaphylactic reactions to peas before the age of two and hasn’t been exposed since. Fingers crossed!

Because our dream is to get Bubba in a clinical trial that can offer her some level of desensitization to some (any!) of her allergens, it’s important to us that Bubba always associates these trips with fun, adventure, and a chance to have special time with me. Although we were at Mt. Sinai for a couple hours and had some testing, the bulk of her day was spent riding trains, visiting playgrounds, riding a carousel, and at the zoo. She even got to eat out at a restaurant called Chick Pea after I cleared it ahead of time. A pretty exciting day for a four-year-old!

Food Allergy Friendly Halloween Ideas

teal-pumpkinThe number one way you can show food allergy families you care is by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. The idea was created in 2012 by Becky Basalone, executive director for a local food allergy support group affiliated with FARE. The idea is simple, by posting a sign or placing a small teal pumpkin at your house, you can alert those with food allergies or sensitivities that you are offering a candy-alternative. Inexpensive items can be found at dollar stores, office supply stores, Oriental Trading Company, Walmart/Target, etc. Simply place the items in a separate bowl to offer instead of or in addition to traditional Halloween candy. Such a small gesture can mean the world to an allergic kiddo (or even a picky food eater!).

Here are some non-food ideas:

  • Glow Sticks
  • Halloween-Themed Pencils and Erasers
  • Stickers
  • Mad Libs
  • Rubber Duckies
  • Wiggly Eyes
  • Spooky Plastic Spiders
  • Whistles
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Nail Polish
  • Bubbles
  • Goofy Glasses
  • Playdough
  • Stamps
  • Pens or Crayons

As food allergy parents, there are many things we can do to help keep our kiddos safe on the big night:

  1. Play host to a Halloween party or post-trick or treating get-together. By controlling the environment, you can influence the what, where, and when of candy-eating. You can also offer lots of fun Halloween-themed games and activities to take a bit of the focus off the food. Have a toilet paper mummy-wrapping race, a Monster Mash dance party, or costume contest. Create a photo booth with Halloween-themed props. Pin the wart on the witch or the bones on a skeleton. Paint or carve pumpkins. Tell spooky stories around a fire pit.
  2. Plan to trick or treat with your children. Make sure to carry your allergy medications/inhalers including epinephrine. Bring a charged cellphone, flashlight, and wet wipes for easy hand wiping if necessary. Having a few safe treats to eat along the way is fun too!
  3. Talk with your children ahead of time to create a candy-swap or trade-in system. No candy should be eaten without the approval from mom or dad. Reading ingredients on the road is complicated; it’s dark and most snack-size treats do not have ingredients listed on them because they’re not labeled for individual resale.
  4. Consider washing hands and wiping down candy packages when you get home if you have concerns about candy residue from other children.

Allergy-friendly candy:

Our kids swap out candy that is unsafe for Bubba. Big Girl gets to keep some of her nut-free chocolate, but that is eaten separately and under supervision so we can clean up afterward. Every child (and allergy) is different. Bubba’s allergens most likely to be in Halloween candy are: peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, kiwi, and/or mango. We read labels every time, but here are candy ideas that are usually  safe for our family:

  • Starbursts
  • Skittles
  • Airheads
  • Charms Blowpops
  • Haribo Gummi Bears
  • Dum-Dums
  • Jelly Bellies
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Panda Soft Licorice, Twizzlers, Red Vines
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Hot Tamales
  • Smarties
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Pez
  • Now and Laters
  • Swedish Fish
  • Mike and Ikes

For those managing different and/or more allergies here are some great companies offering allergy-friendly treats:

Wondering what to do with all that unsafe candy? Donate it! Our service members and veterans would love to know others are thinking of them. Click here to learn more about Operation Gratitude.

Back to School Food-Allergy Anxiety

The start of a new school year can be stressful for food allergy parents. Heck it can be stressful for all parents. New teachers, new rules, a new environment. We’re lucky that Bubba is back at her same preschool. One that has been extremely accommodating, supportive, and eager to learn when necessary. Her school is nut-free, birthday celebrations are food-free, and she brings her own snacks so the risk of her actually ingesting an unsafe food is reasonably minimal. The beginning of a relationship with a new teacher is always a delicate one however. My job is to advocate for my child. To do this most effectively, I need to create an ally while also being firm in what precautions must be followed to keep my kid safe. I think too often food allergy parents can mentally prepare themselves for a ‘fight’ before the school year has even begun. That can be based on fear or on prior fights they have actually endured. I think the best approach is to assume a teacher is the person ready to love and protect your child as much as you do. Teachers are often underpaid and under appreciated. They usually entered the profession because they love children. If you can approach your relationship with your child’s new teacher from this perspective, all that’s needed is information. A teacher doesn’t need to be reprimanded if they didn’t follow protocol – they need more information about the potential consequences of an unsafe environment. If your child felt excluded because of an activity or treat in the classroom – the teacher needs to know about those feelings. Your job as an advocate is to provide information and offer whatever support you can. Maybe the teacher could use another set of eyes during lunch time and needs you to push for an aide with the administration. Perhaps other families are having trouble remembering a new no-nut policy and you could draft a letter to go out to parents. Are other kids in the classroom making your child feel different? Maybe you could donate a book about food allergies to your school’s library.

When I met with Bubba’s teacher at the beginning of the year, I discovered that she had been trained on the Epi-pen, but not the Auvi-Q. This is the epinephrine auto-injector that we’ll keep at school so she needs to know how to use it. I offered a quick training at orientation, but then approached the school directors about when we can do a school-wide training. I said I would be happy to donate our training devices as well as our expired Auvi-Qs so everyone can get a chance to practice hands-on. I also wrote a letter to Bubba’s teacher explaining a bit more about her allergies and reactions. I hoped the information would be easier to digest when not busy trying to speak with all the other new parents.

Bubba is contact allergic to milk and eggs, but we have rarely had issues. We keep milk and eggs in our home, but thanks to diligent cleaning, she has only had small contact reactions a few times (all of which were resolved with prompt skin washing). I was a bit nervous on the first day of school when Bubba arrived in the classroom and the morning preschool class was finishing lunch. One little boy was finishing his Pirate’s Booty and the thought of cheese dust all over everything made me anxious. But, I know I informed Bubba’s teacher about contact issues and how to treat them. I also know we discussed starting the school day with hand washing. Bubba would be in a separate area of the classroom until lunch was cleaned up. So I chose to take a deep breath and trust that Bubba would be safe. That can be very hard to do as an allergy parent. Letting go, even a little bit, and trusting in the safety net you have built around your child.

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Second day of school.

Of course there are challenges to this professed zen-like approach. Bubba had a couple small itchy bumps on her arm after her first day and told me she thought she had hives at school. It could have been random skin issues, including contact dermatitis. Regardless, we had a big talk about always telling a grown-up if she feels funny or itchy and why that’s so important. After the second day of school, she broke out in hives all down the backs of her legs. I tried washing her off, but she began crying from being so itchy so I quickly gave her Benadryl. What does the anxious food-allergy mom think? Did her bare legs touch a chair or surface covered in milk residue? Is this a contact reaction? I will need to discuss washing down all surfaces at school after children have eaten. What does the trying-my-very-best-to-be-rational food-allergy mom think? If the hives were from school, that’s weird that she didn’t get them at school. Contact hives are usually fairly quick. Did she eat anything new? Hmmmm. She tried a new homemade salmon dip both days. She hasn’t eaten a lot of salmon before – maybe only a few bites a couple times. Has she been tested for salmon? Oh boy. Is she fighting a bug? Could these be viral hives? Could they be idiopathic – hives for no apparent reason? Our allergist would probably say that might be as likely as anything. Sometimes there is no apparent cause for hives.

Whatever the cause, I will need to have a rational, reasonable, and positive discussion with Bubba’s school. A little more education about food residue and the potential for contact reactions could help prevent problems in the future for her and/or for another allergic kiddo who is more sensitive. The teachers and administrators are on my team. We all want to keep this little one safe.

Thank you to the allergy parents who came before me

Tears of joy. Public school kindergarten is a full year away for Bubba, but Big Girl will be starting next week. I just received an email that went out to all families announcing that the classrooms will now be nut-free and the school will no longer be having bake sales. Students can still bring nut-containing products for their own consumption in the cafeteria, but no nuts may be consumed in the classroom including during class parties.

Bubba says thanks too.

Bubba says thanks too

I didn’t have to have those fears. I didn’t have to fight that fight. An allergy parent who came before me, dozens I’m sure, successfully advocated for our children so that they can be safer while at school to learn. I have spent years benefiting from the allergy parents who came before me. Parents who blog their allergen-free creations, parents who fundraise to support ground-breaking research, moms who turned allergy apparel into a small business, parents who started support groups and created posters to share with others. Never doubt what parents can and will accomplish in aid of their children. It’s allergy parents that have changed the entire discussion around and awareness of food allergies. I just wanted to say a teary and heartfelt thanks.

What I would wish for all kids

No restrictions. No needles. No exclusion. The chance to start school with no food allergies. Big girl passed her sesame food challenge today. We are VERY VERY excited for her to shed some of her anxiety and fear. Given how worked up she was about this challenge, I was incredibly impressed with how brave she was. She took her first bite of sesame crunch candy with no hesitation.

Confidence rising

Confidence rising

However, in the minutes that followed, her anxiety crept in and she complained of a belly ache and itchy ears. She had no visible symptoms. The allergist suggested that we give her a fake dose to check the placebo effect. Sure enough, on her second ‘dose’ (this one sesame-free) she again complained of a belly ache, so we decided to press on with the real food challenge. Eventually she relaxed and she no longer complained about her belly. Instead her grins got bigger and her confidence grew that she would pass the challenge. Sure enough, after what may be the longest food challenge ever (we were there for four hours), SHE PASSED. Big girl gets to start school in a few weeks with no 504 plan, no epi-pens, free to share snacks and eat birthday treats. Basically what I would wish for every child.

Last dose!

Last dose!

It will remain a mystery what caused Big Girl’s hives this spring. Most likely it was viral hives. In the off chance that it was the poppy seeds on the bagel, rather than the sesame, that caused the reaction we will be food challenging her to poppy. This time we will do it at home. We talked it through with the allergist who was very supportive given that she tested negative for poppy and has now passed her sesame challenge.

Note: Only after sharing this post did it become clear that Big Girl’s success may offer false hope to some sesame-allergy parents. Big Girl was probably never actually allergic to sesame. Her tests were all negative and she had previously safely eaten sesame. Her one-time ‘reaction’ was probably not a reaction at all. By comparison, her younger sister Bubba had an anaphylactic reaction upon first exposure. Bubba also tests positive via blooding testing and SPT. We have no plans to food challenge her.

Fingers crossed – prayers welcome

Big girl has her sesame food challenge tomorrow. She has a LOT of BIG feelings about her food allergy (if there is one). Ever since she got hives after eating an Everything bagel, she has asked a bazillion questions about whether foods are safe for her. Like if apple juice is safe. Or if the dinner I just made for her is safe. Foods that she eats every day and has eaten since her reaction – are they safe?? We should be more patient. We should be more understanding. And we’re trying. But it has been hard to cope with her irrational fears of a food that she would be hard-pressed to come across. And which doesn’t come into our house, btw, because Bubba is also allergic to sesame. Talking through her fears and explaining the kinds of foods that might contain sesame didn’t seem to help. In fact, the more we talked about her food allergy, the more she wanted to talk about it. You’re wondering if this was an attention thing? Well I did too, but there really seemed to be this current of anxiety running beneath all our conversations. So we got the book What to Do When You Worry Too Much to help Big Girl (and this Allergy Ninja) deal with anxiety. We loved it. Big Girl loved her special time with me doing the workbook activities. I got a hard Mama lesson; it makes Big Girl sad when Mama gets mad because she’s scared. Ouch. And we have both learned a lot of new strategies for coping with anxiety.

Tomorrow will be a big day for us. I don’t really know if Big Girl is allergic to sesame. She could react. And that would very very scary for my emotional little girl. We decided to go ahead with a food challenge because:

  • She had no known food allergies prior to getting hives
  • She had safely eaten sesame many many times before getting hives
  • She tested negative for a sesame allergy via blood testing and skin-prick testing (SPT)
  • She will start public school in a few short weeks and the potential to start school with “no food allergies” is a blessing and luxury I want to be granted to this sweet girl
  • And if I could eliminate this fear from her life, I would
We'll be using 'Sesame Crunch' candy for the food challenge

We’ll be using ‘Sesame Crunch’ candy for the food challenge

It seems like she should pass the challenge based on all this right? Well, the big question marks are because it’s possible she tested negative because she’d had antihistamines only two days before her testing (a testing no-no because it can give you a false negative on a SPT). Also, sesame is notorious for false negatives in allergy testing. For example, Oleosi, one of the major sesame allergens, cannot be tested for via SPT. And the the largest sesame food challenge study to date concluded that “…a positive sesame-specific [blood] test and positive sesame SPT are not good predictors of true sesame allergy as determined by the gold standard test of an oral sesame challenge.”

Soooo crossed fingers and prayers are welcome. I will keep you posted.

Bubba’s Birthday

Last night we celebrated Bubba’s birthday at home. We had a safe meal of roasted pork and her favorite vegan mashed potatoes (Tofutti Sour Cream, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks margarine, boiled mashed potatoes, and too much salt). We also had a homemade pineapple cake. This is of some significance because Bubba only recently outgrew her pineapple allergy. Yay!

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She had asked for a pineapple birthday cake for her party a few weeks ago but I confessed to her I was quite sure any attempt on my part would result in something delicious, but not cute at all. I am NOT a baker. We agreed to have ‘fishy cupcakes’ for her pool party (generously made by her Mimi and pictured below) and that I would make a pineapple cake for her actual birthday dinner instead. Soooooo. Pineapple cake? Bubba does not like canned pineapple and anything resembling a pineapple upside down cake would probably not fly. After much Googling and pinning I was able to find a recipe I could tweak (putting it mildly) to make dairy and egg-free. Without further ado, here is how I made Bubba her egg-free, dairy-free pineapple cake.

Pineapple Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix
1c pineapple juice
3t baking soda
3T white vinegar
1/4c coconut oil

Frosting
I used Food Allergy Mama’s recipe for Creamy Vanilla Frosting but substituted pineapple juice for soy milk and added 1/2c crushed fresh pineapple.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pan(s). Well. Vegan cakes are not the easiest suckers to get out of pans. Mix baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Mix cake mix, juice, and melted oil in a large bowl. Add vinegar mixture. For a classic layer cake, pour batter equally into two 9-inch greased cake pans. Bake for 23-28 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Follow cake mix directions for alternate pan sizes. Cool cake(s) completely before frosting. I put a thin layer of frosting and crushed fresh pineapple between the layers.

For all my worrying, fretting, and self-criticism I can honestly say the cake was eh. It was very sweet and certainly tasted like pineapple. My normally sweet-deprived kids initially loved it because of the pure sugar content. But then Bubba wasn’t into it at all. Big. Mama. Allergy Sigh. Bubba doesn’t really care yet. Maybe she never will. She’s a pretty easy-going kid about this stuff so far. But sometimes really care. I want easy. And store-bought. And fluffy. How on earth do you make a cake that is not heavily laden with vegetable oil grease? There are ways, I know. I just need to put the time in to experiment and follow vegan cooking recipes. And perhaps not do it when it matters so much to me.

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Mimi’s amazing cupcakes using Duncan Hines boxed mix, Ener-G egg replacer, Pillsbury dyed frosting, and skittles.

One final note in case my list of baking mistakes can help anyone. The cake recipe was not enough for two 9-inch cake pans. Maybe it is with eggs, but you don’t get as much lift in vegan baking. I tried baking soda/white vinegar as my egg substitute this time. I had never tried that. I think I prefer ground flax/hot water or Ener-G egg replacer better. Here’s a good resource for egg replacement options. I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for the margarine in the frosting and it wasn’t warm enough so I ended up with lumps of cold margarine in my frosting. Yum.

Wrong Kid

IMG_4623-1We may deal with a few more food allergies than most, but honestly we have felt lucky in several regards. In particular, that Bubba is the only one of our children with food allergies. Well it seems our luck may have run out. Yesterday Big Girl and her Daddy went out for a morning bagel-date and Home Depot run. Big Girl got an Everything bagel (the seedy kind) which she has eaten many times before. On the way to the store she ate the bottom half (seed-free). On the way home from the store she ate the top half. Within a few minutes she started complaining of itchy ears. Weird my husband thought, but nothing to be alarmed about because, after all, this kid doesn’t have food allergies. When she got home she told me her belly itched and as she was scratching her shirt lifted up and I caught sight of a hive. Weird, but maybe she got into something at the store that irritated her skin? I got out the hydrocortisone cream and lifted up her shirt only to discover a few more hives. As I applied cream, a few more popped up. Then a few more.

IMG_4621Her ears were bright red at the top. Very weird, but no biggie I thought. Must be viral hives. She’d had a mild fever a couple days before and tummy trouble the night before. Couldn’t be anything more than that because this kid doesn’t have food allergies. I gave her a Benadryl and called the pediatrician to confirm my hunch about viral hives. They agreed that was the likely cause and even said they had seen a few kids with viral hives that week. So, no biggie.

 

We headed out to Big Girl’s first soccer game of the season. When she got out of the car, I lifted her shirt to make sure her hives had calmed down with the Benadryl. No such luck. Her skin looked like it was on fire. Her hives had gotten so large they were spreading into each other. They now extended into her groin and across her back. We left and headed straight to the pediatrician’s office a bit dumb-founded but feeling lucky to have Bubba’s Epi-Pens in hand in case we needed them.

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The doctor said her hives were way too severe to be viral hives. She prescribed Ranididine (Zantac) in addition to the Benadryl we had already given her. Using an H2 histamine blocker in addition to an H1 blocker has better results. We were told to go to the ER at the first sign of any facial swelling or trouble breathing. And obviously we will need to get Big Girl some allergy testing. My hunch is that the sesame seeds are the culprit. They are a severe allergy of Bubba’s and they are actually a fairly common allergen (“Top 10” in Canada). Although she has safely eaten them before, allergies can develop at any time.

Some more information about sesame allergies:

Oral Food Challenge – She Passed Again!

IMG_4474One more food to cross off our list! Bubba passed her oral food challenge to garbanzo beans today. We decided to challenge garbanzo beans because Bubba’s SPT and RAST tests were both low-positive, indicating that she had a strong likelihood of passing. We were still nervous for this one though because 30% of peanut allergic folks are also allergic to garbanzo beans.

We learned our lesson from last week and brought LOTS more fun stuff to do to help ease the boredom. This food challenge was a little tougher for Bubba because she did not like the taste of the garbanzo beans. For her first dose she only had to eat one bean, but the three doses after that were all 1/8 cup. That is actually a LOT of garbanzo beans. She was half gagging trying to chew through them.

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IMG_4480You hear me say often that Bubba is a trooper, well this is what I am talking about. What three-year-old can be convinced to eat something they don’t like, let alone an entire plateful of it? She was doing a lot of fussing by the last dose and wanted me to hand-feed her. She was also promised a trip to the movies this weekend in addition to her post-appointment treats, but all well worth it.

So what do garbanzo beans get us? Especially if she doesn’t like them? Well, first there is the mental ease of removing one more allergen from her list. Yay! Also, I promise I can make some tasty hummus and roasted cinnamon sugar beans that she WILL like. Finally, there are actually a ton of allergy-friendly products that contain chick pea flour that have previously been off-limits for us. Bubba had only ever eaten garbanzo beans (hummus) once and she had a severe reaction, but the hummus contained tahini and she is severely allergic to sesame seeds so we were never able to differentiate what caused the reaction.

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Oral Food Challenge – She Passed!

An oral food challenge is considered the ‘gold standard‘ of allergy testing. Skin-prick testing (SPT) and blood tests have their utility but can result in both over and under diagnosis. Bubba has a number of foods on her allergen list that only have a mild SPT reaction and/or a low blood IgE score. Over time, we would like to challenge these foods to know whether they can safely be incorporated into her diet. I’m in no rush for oysters, but other foods can have a big impact on her diet. So today we challenged pineapple.

Oral food challenges are LONG appointments. Ours was 2 1/2 hours.

Oral food challenges are LONG appointments. Ours was 2 1/2 hours.

We prepared Bubba for her appointment by explaining what would happen and also why this test was so exciting. We told her all the new foods she would be able to eat. We discussed what her allergic reactions have been like in the past, how her mouth felt, and how she would need to tell us if something felt funny or spicy in her mouth. We also told her there would be treats after the test. Oral food challenges are LONG appointments and (God willing) boring. Bubba believed that she “didn’t like pineapple” so we told her she would need to try it anyway and would be rewarded for that. We also emphasized our past success – Bubba outgrew her soy allergy and we confirmed this with an oral food challenge. She now eats (and loves!) edamame and chocolate soy milk.

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Pre-challenge check

The appointment went great. Before the challenge began Bubba’s temp, blood pressure, and blood-oxygen levels were taken. Her full body was examined and all her eczema spots were circled so they wouldn’t be confused with a reaction. We started with a bite of canned pineapple (thought less likely to elicit and allergic reaction). Her whole body contorted and her face screwed up like she’d eaten a lemon. She did NOT like it. But she ate it anyway. Because she’s a trooper. We waited 15 minutes – no reaction. Another bite.

Mysterious red cheek

Mysterious red cheek

This time one of her cheeks turned red so we waited a full 45 minutes before up-dosing. Nothing else happened so the cheek was just a fluke. We switched to fresh pineapple. Bubba did not seem overly impressed with the taste but agreed it tasted ‘better’ and ‘sweet’. Fifteen minutes later, last bite.  After the last dose we had to wait another 45 minutes to be sure of no delayed reaction. She passed!

Post-challenge treat!

Post-challenge treat!

So why is pineapple so exciting? Well, I’m sure you can imagine with a food allergy list of nearly 30 foods, there are not a lot of places Bubba can eat or convenience foods we can buy. She has never been able to eat fruit salad because it almost always has pineapple. Also, pineapple concentrate is added to many of the otherwise safe sorbets at frozen yogurt shops. Many kids’ juice boxes have pineapple juice as do several chicken apple sausage brands. My favorite BBQ sauce is now an option for Bubba too. Lastly, it adds one more frozen waffle brand to our options. Exciting stuff in our little world. If you and your allergist think an oral food challenge is appropriate, I recommend reading a great publication put together by Kids with Food Allergies to help you and your child prepare for the appointment.