Allergic reaction or not?

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My two girls are PA but my sons have been too young to be tested and we treat them as if they are PA. There is not peanut butter in my home or any tree nuts. That being said, this is what happened to my 3yr old this weekend and I am really confused. Input would be greatly appreciated!!

On friday, Jackson woke up with hives all over his face and legs. DH took him to the ped at 10am and they said he had an ear infection, cold and the hives were viral related. When they saw him, the hives were practically gone b/c I gave him benadryl. At 2pm we put him down for a nap and within the hr he was screaming. I went up and bam he was covered AGAIN with the freaking things. I thought he was having a reaction to the cough and cold patch we had given him at 3am friday morning! So we stripped all his bedding and gave him more benadryl. By 7pm he was worse and I was really doubting this whole viral thing so I took him to th neighborhood med center and the doc there told me it was an allergic reaction NOT something viral. Great! What the heck is he allergic to? We gave him more benadryl and some orapred. Fast forward to Sat morning (after a very long night with him crying and coughing) we had DD's birthday party. He was miserable but getting along. At 1pm he came up to me crying and his face was all red and blotchy. It was terrible!! All around his eyes and down his arms. I immediately gave him benadryl and orapred and we put him down for a nap b/c he was begging to go upstairs. My friend Lisa was here and her kids have allergies so she was pretty freaked at how he looked. She agreed that it was not viral. DH went up to check on him a few min later and rushed him down. His face was all red and his eyes were swelling and the back of his arms were all covered with hives.. so were his legs! Everyone told us we should take him to the hospital so we left all those people at our house and rushed him to the childrens hospital. Of course by the time we got there, the meds kicked in and the hives were gone! His eyes still showed swelling so they could see something. They told us the hives were due to a virus and they could continue up to 2wks. I still have my doubts but I can't figure out what he could be allergic to!!! It's been a crazy long weekend. He had more hives yesterday but we reduced them with the benadryl. I asked the doc if he suddenly could be allergic to something he's had all along, like milk. I was emphatically told NO. They told me a milk allergy would be diagnosed within the first yr and symptoms are usually GI related. Again, I have my doubts but I am no expert. I could use some opinions!

On Dec 8, 2003

I'm sorry about all that you have gone thru recently! I hope your DS is doing better.

I would have to disagree with the drs tho - you certainly CAN become allergic to something after having it for weeks, months or years with no problems at all. When our middle dd (she was 6 years old at the time)came down with full body hives, we too were told it was viral. Then they said it was from the dog. They lasted for 2 days (and they were horrible - ALL over her body) and then her face and lips started swelling. We rushed her to the hospital were she got shots of steroids, Epi and Benadryl.

Without hesitation I told our ped I wanted a referral to an allergist b/c obviously this is an allergy. They told us that they will give her a referral, but most of the time people never find out what causes reactions. Turns out she has TONS of allergies - including peanuts which caused her severe reaction

Go with your gut as us Mommy's are usually right. His reaction does not sound like it's viral induced. If he's too young for SPT would they do a RAST? If you don't get good results, I'd go somewhere else.

I hope he's doing better and that you find out what caused the reaction(s).

------------------ Liz, mom to:

B: asthma, bee sting allergy, mild EA's and eczema

M: asthma, peanut & nut, severe EA's and mod eczema

A: asthma, peanut, nut, fish, penicillin, severe EA's and eczema

On Dec 8, 2003

What a scary experience. And how frustrating not to know the cause.

I just wanted to share with you that I personally had an episode like this last February. I had hives all over my body, my lips and eyes swelled up, and I lost my voice. The hives lasted for about a week and I was on steroids for ten days.

I immediately suspected some type of allergic reaction (I have no known food allergies) and made a list of all foods I had consumed. I later food-challenged myself and nothing panned out. When I talked to my daughter's allergist about it, he was convinced it was viral so I never bothered having myself formally tested.

I don't know if his diagnosis is right, but we couldn't figure out any other cause and the hives never came back.

On Dec 8, 2003

Any new soaps, detergents, perfumes, candles, etc. in the house? Any of the old stand-bys change their formula? Have you just put up holiday decorations? Could they be dusty, etc? Any new toys in his room? Anything at all in your household environment that has changed?

My DH and nephew both got terrible hives from various detergents. DH reacts to fabric softner, nephew to Dreft (of all things). I get itchy from air freshners and can't breath around eucalyptus.

I have heard that viral infections can cause hives, but since you are getting mixed answers I don't think you can really rely on that diagnosis. Despite what the doctors have said about not acquiring new allergies, I would insist on testing. If they can't tell you what's causing the hives, then they can't really tell you want isn't, IMO.

On Dec 8, 2003

That was too scary for words. I would only say one thing and [b]please I am not being mean.[/b]

I would never send a child upstairs to nap alone in that condition. Kids die quietly. And things go downhill very quickly.

That being said I think Hives can result from an illness. If I get an injury, a scrape or a cut I immediately get hives around the area. My allergist said my mast cells are very alert and very active.

I imagine that with an illness maybe the mast cells over react in certain people and that is why your son had hives.

In any case hives are serious and scary.

Good luck finding out why.


On Dec 8, 2003

I am so sorry about your DS. I hope that he is doing better.

I would take him to an allergist he is not to young. My DD started seeing an allergist when she was 2. She is now 3 1/2.

Hives maybe viral but I doubt that severe of a reaction could be the case. I would tend to lean towards the allergic reaction. I would watch your DS carefully and write down everything he eats until you see an allergist. My dd would get severe hives from contact and ingestion to numerous foods. I kept a list of what my DD ate and when we went to the allergist I also told him of foods that gave her a reaction (of course she wasn't eating them)and he tested her and low and behold everything that I knew she was allergic to she was. After treatments,food changes and additional supplements she rarely gets hives and her skin is beautiful. (She had horrible rashes on her face and arms) She does still get hives from contact and usually treatable with Benadryl. She just had horrible hives after eating a different kind of pepperoni last night. Bath and Benadryl helped.

We also had a doctor tell us that hives were viral but didn't know much about allergies. We also had a different doctor tell that her horrible skin rashes we normal ha! Our allergist has given us a lot of terrific advise and our DD has not been sick or had to many reactions in the last year.

Blessings to you and your little one and hope that you see an allergist soon and find out whats causing his reactions.