March 24, 2014

i hate food allergies

Enjoying some diaper-free time in the backyard (with a conveniently placed tennis ball) :)

We have been battling a horrible eczema flare the past couple of weeks after attempting to introduce some more dairy into Alden's diet. I swear food allergies are the epitome of "2 steps forward, 3 steps back." As we attempt to reintroduce things, we think we're doing great and then, all of a sudden, we're back to the drawing board. 

By the end of February Alden had been eating yogurt on a daily basis for about 3 weeks with no remarkable flares in his eczema or other allergy symptoms. He was sleeping relatively well and his respiratory symptoms had improved a lot. So, we decided that we'd branch out and introduce a little but more dairy to the menu. He started eating baked-in dairy in small amounts and did fine with those as well (we think. He hasn't had a ton.). Then, cheddar cheese cubes popped up on the school menu and we decided to let him try them. He didn't have any immediate/short-term symptoms so we let him have some sliced cheese with dinner the next night. That's where our luck ended. By the second day of cheese, his eczema patches had reappeared and were everywhere. His back, thighs, shoulders, arms, and stomach all had patches and his diaper area was very angry. If you've been reading along over the past few months, you'll know that Alden's diaper area is one of our most difficult places to keep clear. Since he reacts to proteins in food, those proteins are often still present in his urine and poop, and the skin that comes into contact with the waste in his diaper gets a double dose of allergen exposure. This means that he has chronic irritation in his diaper area and we sometimes do diaper-free time to give him a break (see adorable photo above). 

Well, the past two weeks have made our usual routine of extra aquaphor, more frequent changes, and periodic diaper free time seem like a cake walk. The most recent flare (we think caused by the cheese, although maybe prolonged by goat milk since we introduced that once we thought the diaper area was at least not getting worse- and have since eliminated again) has taught us even more about our baby's allergy symptoms. Turns out he is also prone to blistering eczema. Yes, it's exactly as bad as it sounds. Some people with eczema can have a form that causes actual blisters to form in the affected area along with the more typical red, dry patches of irritated skin. It's most commonly seen on the hands and feet and is more common in women but our pediatrician seemed pretty sure that what we were seeing fit the bill. So, add that to the list of skin symptoms allergens cause in Alden :/ 

Even now that I'm writing this, he still has some blistering spots in his diaper area, and we're over three weeks away from the beginning of the rash. We've gotten him through the worst, though, and his skin now looks about 400% better than it did a couple of weeks ago. What finally made it better was a combination of Boudreaux's Butt Paste (to treat any diaper rash that he had concurrently with the eczema flare & to act as a super-duper moisture barrier) and liberal amounts of cornstarch (not baby powder) on every inch of skin that is covered by his diaper. The cornstarch absorbs any moisture on his skin and keeps him really dry. This is finally what helped the blisters start to dry up and heal. I had been avoiding the internet during the beginning of the flare because our pediatrician had warned me against looking up photos, etc. (only the worst cases end up on the internet and WebMD always tell you you're dying...) and getting more worried than necessary BUT the internet is finally what suggested the winning combination. After seeing these blisters for a week and trying every trick we had up our sleeves, I couldn't stand the idea of just waiting for our doctor's appointment. So I cautiously started looking around...lo and behold, someone suggested cornstarch to control a blistering rash and we started it that afternoon. By the next morning, his skin was a normal color (no more lobster baby) and there were sheets of dry, dead skin peeling off him. In just 12 hours, the cornstarch had dried him up enough for his body to finally slough off all the dead skin and start healing. It was amazing and now we're forever cornstarch converts. We should buy stock since we'll probably recommend this to EVERY person we meet who has a baby with diaper area skin problems. 

The good news is that now that his skin seems to be under control, we've started goat milk again! Fingers crossed! 

More posts to come! I've had a crazy couple of weeks at work, Alden's skin issues (plus a weird week pre-developmental shift of not sleeping, etc.), and other general life stuff...but I've got lots of drafts saved up and hope to get some posts up in the next couple days!

much love, L&N

1 comment:

  1. Oh poor Alden!! That's rough. I'm glad the cornstarch helped and I hope things continue to clear up!!