daughter faking allergic reaction??

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I don't even know how to begin. This is going to be a long story. My dd will be 5 next month. She is MA,, EA, and PA. When she was little, she has had a lot of contact rxn which ended up in hives on her face. When she had milk the first time her lips swelled up. Second time, not knowingly licked ice cream that we thought only had coconut milk, her whole face blew up. At 2, her daycare mistakenly gave her a cup of milk. They said she didn't ingested it but may have licked it. Her whole legs were covered with hives, but no facial rxn. From ages 3 until now, I decided to stay home full time, so she has not had direct consumption of her allergens. Last November, we travel overseas and she had her first peanut rxn and ended up in the hospital with asthma like symptoms and burning mouth. About a few months ago, she took a bite of this muffin that has eggs in them and right away said her mouth was burning (this is also another long story). I gave her double dose of Benadryl. Half hour later, it was gone. No breathing problems nor hives. Since then, I have been very careful and has been making all her meals. After that she had complained about burning tongue again several times eventhough, the food she ate are not likely to be contaminated with anything. When it happens, we starts freaking out and we always give her Benadryl which she seems to be happy to taste it and will say "yummy". I thought may be she's getting more sensitive to her allergens. Last week, she complained again and I was sure she didn't eat anything that could cause it. So I said to drink lots of water and started to distract her. That day, she didn't say anything about it again. The next day, she complained again in the morning after breakfast which I made pancake from scratch. I again told her to drink water and distrcted her, again she didn't say anything after that. That evening after dinner which I also made from scratch, she complained again that her mouth is burning. We told her to drink water and she said it's not going away she needs Benadryl. My husband told her the story of the Boys who cries wolf. Then she started crying and said she was not lying. I then talked to her and said how much I love her and how important it is to be truthful about her rxn and we are not mad at her. She didn't say anything. After that she was cheerful again and played like normal and did not say anything about her tongue. Also lately, she has been asking me if she can pretend she's not allergic to anything and pretending like her banana is cheese. I'm so sad and stressed if she is in fact pretending just to get my attention. Or maybe she is super sensitive now and her reaction is delayed. My anxiety is just going through the roof right now. I just don't know what to do. Has anyone ever has this problem?

On Sep 11, 2006

This is a really tough problem.

I'm not sure there is a right answer. For us, we decided to approach this by thinking through what we wanted her to learn about taking care of herself.

We decided that "giving in" to her bids for attention were the lesser of two evils. The other being that you teach her that you may or may not respond to her... and worse, that she should just ignore mild symptoms.

One thing bothered me about your post-- how sure are you (really) that there is [i]no way[/i] you could have given her food that was on shared lines somehow? We have had this happen to us. Even when the company swore it wasn't possible.

In short-- I really think you should grin and bear it for now. DD used her allergies to get attention for about six months. This was when she was four. We talked often to her about how distressing being worried about her was [i]for us[/i]... but only when she wasn't engaged in the behavior. We never called her out-- and it stopped on its own.

DD also liked the taste of Benadryl at that age. You might consider switching formulations to something she isn't so fond of.



On Sep 11, 2006

If it were me, I would talk it over with the allergist and see what he says about this. Also, they can do a blood test during the questionable reaction to see if your child really is having a reaction. Maybe you could casually mention next time this happens that she needs a blood test to see if it is an allergic reaction. If her symptoms don`t go away with the mention of a blood test, I would tend to think it is real.

I don`t know your child so it is hard to have an opinion, but I think it could be real. We have had people on this board with really young kids (age 2 or 3) who described their mouth burning when they were having a reaction. Or the symptoms could be reflux.

On Sep 11, 2006

my youngest does something similiar but about a stuffy nose. he likes the taste of sudafed liquid. with this i distract him and watch to see if he is telling the truth. i dont know what i would do if he were saying an allergic reaction.. i might would give him a little benedryl .. if it happened everyday though I think i would take him to the dr.

------------------ Lalow James 4 yrs, NKA Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

On Sep 11, 2006

If the burning mouth sensation occurs when she eats raw fruits or raw vegetables, it could be oral allergy syndrome (OAS). This is a real reaction, usually localized to the mouth. People with OAS usually have environmental allergies to pollens which cross-react with certain proteins in the fruits and veggies. These proteins are easily broken down by cooking or digestion. That is why the reaction occurs in the mouth. After the food reaches the stomach, the stomach acid breaks down the allergens.

As a child, certain foods caused a burning sensation in my mouth including avocado, canteloupe, honeydew melon, mango and ripe banana.

Another idea is that she may be mistaking a "spicy" sensation for an allergic reaction. Was she eating anything with cinnamon, pepper or chilis?

Just some ideas! It can be really hard to sort these things out.


On Sep 11, 2006

I think she may be having a reaction. Maybe she has other allergies. It is seldom in my opinion that children would fake a reaction if they know how serious their reactions are and how they feel. I would tend to lean toward the reaction side and keep the just in case attitude it is a reaction and not the no it can't be. She could be reacting to something that you didn't know she was allergic too. My dd has had several reactions to foods that we deemed safe (call manufactures etc.) but still had a reaction and later found out that the company was in fact using allergens just didn't say.....


On Sep 11, 2006

Could you try telling her that you can only give her foods that DO NOT cause a reaction in her mouth.

Tell her that you will only feed her safe foods, but if her mouth has a reaction then you'll drop that food.

Then start removing the foods she complains about. If she is faking it, then she will relent as all her favorite foods go away.

If she isn't faking it, then as you remove foods the mouth reactions should go away over time.

You could keep a list on the fridge of all the foods she can no longer have.

Good Luck.

On Sep 11, 2006

Phew..this one is tough. No one wants to over dose their child on a medicine they don't need. But you also want to make sure you are caring for your child if there is a medical issue.

I think I would call the pediatrician/allergist and discuss it with them and get their professional opinion.

You have some other good advice here. I would just be cautious about hyping it up too much more than you already have to. Someone posted about discussing how the allergy affects them negatively as parents, to try to make sure the child wasn't fibbing. I am not sure that is a good tactic. That seems to be adding a lot of stress on a child.

I would tell your daughter clearly that the meds are NOT candy. I might even take her to a pharmacist and have them talk to her for a minute about medicine may taste good, but if you take too much, it can make you sick, too. Be clear you want to do what is best for her, so you need to make sure that she NEEDS the medicine before you give it to her. And hopefully she won't need it EVERY day. Maybe the allergist will tell you that the burning is normal, and the water is EXACTLY what you need to do...not benadryl!

Good luck! Keep us posted!

On Sep 11, 2006

I just had another idea-- if you have a compounding pharmacy in your area, you might see if they can mix you a diphenhydramine elixir with NO flavorant. That way it won't be as appealing.

On Sep 11, 2006

maybe someone else already mentioned this but i think kids sometimes have such fears that they can honestly believe they are having reactions. when my middle daughter was in first grade, for example, if she even saw pb or peanuts at her school, she would end up in the office with "symptoms." she was just scared to death, most of the time, i think. (she had vivid memories of her first two BIG reactions when she was much younger). the nurse would give benadryl and call me right away and of course i would go pick her up immediately but there were only "true" symptoms a fraction of the time (and those were aerosol or contact related....real but less severe than her ingestion reactions in the past had been). i'm certainly not suggesting that kids make up allergy symptoms on purpose....actually quite the opposite. maybe they are just sometimes really, really worried and they become convinced there could be a problem.

On Sep 12, 2006

Just a thought - my mouth burns [i]all the time[/i]. I'm only PA. It's not an allergic reaction, it just does. It always has. I don't have to be eating anything. i'm pretty sure it may have to do with my acid reflux since it tends to happen when I *haven't* eaten anything. Sour things, sweet things, hot things. Sinus drainage, dry mouth, my inhaler. It happens after other certain types of food too, but I can't tell you what exactly they are because I don't pay any attention to it anymore (unless it's lasting for a really long time or I've just eaten something new, of course). If I did I'd be taking benedryl every two seconds. In fact, it's sort of happening now.

Anyway, on the odd occasion I do take benedryl (or drink water, or eat something different) it [i]does[/i] tend to go away. So if she's like me, she may not be lying. She just may be really concerned because it mimics a symptom of an allergic reaction.

You might want to look up some signs/symptoms of acid reflux and ask her, "hey, at any time, do you feel ____?". Because reflux is a status quo for me and I didn't even realize I was having a problem until I ran across an acid reflux site. She might not even know that what she's experiencing isn't "normal".

She may just be scared about reacting again or may just like the taste of the benedryl. But it's best to rule out any real medical issues first [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Sep 12, 2006

Thank you everyone for your advice and input. There are so many possibilities what this could be. I'll have to see how she react for the next few months.

I'm quite sure that the last few times the food were not contaminated. I guess the flour from the pancake could have contamination, although she ate pancakes from the same batch for the past 3 days w/o any problems. I almost want to believe that she is making this up because if she didn't, it means she has become so sensitive to her allergens, or she developed new allergies or reflux or other condition that we don't know. Each time this happens though, the food were different, and has nothing in common. I'm just so frustrated that her allergies seem to be getting worse and worse despite the fact that we are much more careful now with her food. When she was little (from 1-3 y.o.), we used to go to Chinese buffet all the time and just let her eat whatever looked "safe", and she never had any problems. Since then I've done a lot of reading and realized how risky that was. Now, we just pack her meals everywhere she goes. Every time she puts food in her mouth, my anxiety level keeps going up.

On Sep 12, 2006


we've evolved like that too....sometimes i can't believe what i used to let my girls eat routinely. may contains, food from any restaurant including the ones with buckets of peanuts, etc..

that was in the very beginning when i thought "avoiding eating peanuts" was all there was to worry about. after several mystery reactions (that aren't a mystery now that i know what they were) and a lot of education, i have changed the way i do things a lot.

we still "live", but we do live a bit differently than we used to.