hives, Hives, HIVES!!!! (vent w/concerns)

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AARRGGHH!!! It seems like every time I turn around my son has a hive on his face!!! I know it's just because he's out in the 'real world' more, going to preschool and all, but I hoped it wouldn't be this bad. He hasn't had any bad reactions, just a hive or two that have been stopped with Benadryl, but... what I'm really concerned about is that in every case the culprit has been 'invisible'. For example, after touching an arcade game, and last night after 'roughhousing' with his uncle who swears he didn't eat or touch anything peanutty yesterday (although he did feed their rabbit before visiting us). What's going to happen when he goes to elementary school and peanut butter, etc. is EVERYWHERE!!??!! Will he have to live on Benadryl??

To those of you whose PA kids are on daily doses of antihistimine (Clairitin, etc.), how do you feel about it? Does it concern you that they have to take it every day? Exactly why do they take it? To prevent getting hives every day? Forgive my ignorance, please. I'm just really hoping that my son won't have to take medication every day just to make it through his school day. I'm one of those people who don't like medicines, but I'll do whatever I have to to help my kids, of course!

This is going to bring up a touchy subject again, but now I think I see it from another viewpoint... The old question went something like this: "Does Benadryl 'mask' the early symptoms of anaphylaxis?" I have always felt that Benadryl 'treats' the symptoms, not 'masks' them, and I still think that. BUT, now, thinking about the possibility that my son may have to take an antihistimine every day just to avoid getting hives at school, I think that it would indeed 'mask' an oncoming reaction. I never thought about this question from the standpoint of being on an antihistimine long before an exposure or reaction. In that case, I DO think it would 'mask' the reaction. To those of you I disagreed with on this, I apologize for not being able to see it the way you did! It scares me to think that if he has to take something every day, his only reactions will be BIG ones, because no one will see them coming.

I'm sorry this is SOOOO long! Does anyone else deal with hives on a frequent basis?

[This message has been edited by Lam (edited December 01, 2000).]

On Dec 1, 2000

Hi Lam,

I think you and I felt the same way about this in the other thread. And I think our sons are the same age and they both react to touch. Fortunately, my son has only had one small reaction at preschool and it was just red eyes--no hives--from making a craft with fall leaves. He's never been tested for anything but peanuts, but we're pretty sure we're dealing with environmental allergies now and seasonal asthma.

Anyway, I've kind of balked at the idea of a daily antihistamine, too. I mean do I really want him to take medicine everyday to prevent these minor reactions when benadryl can take care of it? I have thought about this a lot and decided that yes I do.

I know that my son makes people nervous. Every peanut reaction he's ever had, always starts with his eyes getting red, itchy and watery. That is the first sign I tell people to look for. I can't even count all the places we've been where he's had the red eyes and then usually the hives will appear and I am absolutely positive he has not eaten anything with peanuts. And when we're at somebody's house and it happens, they feel guilty because they think it's their fault that he's reacting.

I would love to avoid all of these little reactions. If a daily antihistamine can do that, then I'm all for it. His pediatrician wants to wait until he's 4 before she puts him on anything. That will be next spring--just in time for allergy season!! So the timing should be perfect.

I really don't think a daily antihistamine would mask the early symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction. I think it would eliminate all these small reactions that make everyone nervous. But I really think you're going to know when it's the big one. Even though I've been through it countless times, I still worry every time my son gets a hive. If we could avoid these little reactions, I (and everyone else around him)wouldn't have to worry so much.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but when he is at school and gets a few hives, are you going to instruct the teachers to give him the epi immediately, or just to give benadryl and wait and see what progresses like you do now? I think if a daily antihistamine can prevent all these minor reactions, then when he does have a reaction, people will know to immediately give the epi-pen and not second-guess themselves or the reaction. I hope this makes sense.

My son will primarily be put on a daily antihistamine for his environmental allergies, which in turn has an affect on his asthma. But if it can prevent his reactions to residue, that would be an added bonus. Sorry this is so long and I hope got the point across that I was trying to make. Take care. Deanna

On Dec 1, 2000

Thanks, Deanna. I appreciate your quick response. For some reason I'm just stressed about this a lot today!

To directly answer the question you posed back to me, no, I will not instruct the school to Epi when the only symptom is a hive or two. I believe in Benadryl first, then keep a close watch.

Right now, we count on the hives and other mild symptoms (that can be stopped with Benadryl) to let us know that something is wrong, that maybe we need to leave wherever we are, or change our son's clothes, or wash his hands, etc., or just keep a closer watch. I'm concerned that taking a daily antihistimine will take away those 'clues' and, in a way, contribute to a bigger reaction because we weren't aware that something was wrong. I guess I'd rather have all the little reactions than a BIG one, but I just get so tired of them sometimes. [img][/img] (Boy, I'm being very whiny today - Sorry!!!)

It sounds as if you've already thought this through and are comfortable with your decision. I hope I can reach that point soon. I'm still very unsure.

Thanks again, Deanna. I appreciate your help. [img][/img]

On Dec 1, 2000

First of all, I just want to say that you sound like a very good mother who takes her child's allergy seriously. However, I think you may be overreacting just a bit. I am a 25 year old PA woman, and I get hives on my face (and sometimes other places) ALL THE TIME. I don't know if it's PA related or if I'm allergic to something else (dust is a frequent culprit with me). The reason I said "overreacting" is because I don't think you need to give your child benadryl every time you see one hive. They go away on their own if left alone. By this, I'm not saying that I think you should underreact. If you see something that is very scary to you, by all means, do what you must. I just think that the benadryl could become less effective if it's used too frequently. I'm not trying to insult you at all, so I hope this post does not make you angry. I give parents of PA kids a lot of credit. In my situation, I only have to worry about myself. I hope and pray all the time that my future children take after my fiance and not me when it comes to this allergy. I know the level of panic that this allergy can create first hand.

On Dec 1, 2000

Yankee: Thank you, too. No, I'm not at all upset. Actually, I have a sister-in-law who feels as you do. She gets hives all the time, doesn't know what from, and doesn't really care to find out. Boy, that bugs me - not in an angry way... I would just hate not knowing what was causing a reaction, ANY reaction.

I've wondered about the hives going away on their own, but I'm too afraid to wait them out. The first time he got hives from contact exposure was at his preschool open house. He got one, then another, then another, then started the coughing... We gave him Benadryl and left soon after. His preschool teacher asked me the other day about building up a 'resistance' to Benadryl. I've never heard of that, but I guess it could happen.

I'm taking my younger son to the allergist on Monday for some skin tests. Maybe I'll take along a couple questions about our oldest as well!! [img][/img]

Thanks again... and thanks for the compliment - you must have known I needed it today!!

On Dec 1, 2000

Lam, My nephew always gets hives when he wrestles with anyone or gets in grass. I know he doesn't get benedryl everytime or maybe hardly ever at all. He just gets hives because of sweating. He did go to a skin doctor and he told my sister it happens alot. Sweat can be worse on some peoples skin than others. My daughter could wrestle and nothing where as my son would probably break out. Take care claire

On Dec 1, 2000

Claire: We were posting at the same exact time!! I appreciate your response, and if that had ever happened to my son before last night, I'd probably connect the two, but he wrestles with his daddy all the time with no reaction. I wasn't specific before, I apologize - the hives were on his face. For some reason all his contact reactions have been with hives on his face. Does your nephew get the hives on his face, too, from wrestling? The only 'reactions' our son has had to any type of exercise/rough play is coughing. The allergist thinks he may be developing asthma. Whenever he starts coughing, we sit him down until it stops. Thanks, Claire!!

On Dec 1, 2000

Lam, No my nephew gets them since birth so I would say they are different than your son. I do hope you find out soon what it is because I would be afraid of letting mine even go to sleep if they had hives. Maybe you should try the uncle again because maybe they use some different laundry soap. I am also wondering about shell fish. Has he possibly eaten any of thay. I get hives just touching shrimp. Best wishes claire

On Dec 1, 2000

My son takes a daily does of Zyrtec. This was prescribed to help him with his environmental allergies. It has made such a huge difference in our lives. He is a much happier and joyful son. When the allergist first prescribed it to us I inquired as to how long he recommended him to stay on it and he said, "Forever." I couldn't believe my ears. I did not like the idea and even thought that maybe as he gets older I would start to change it to every other day or so. He does occasionally miss his antihistamine for a day or two. When this happens his asthma starts to act up and he wakes up with red puffy eyes and he complains of major headaches. All of this occurred before we started him on the Zyrtec but never happens unless he misses it.

I have noticed a difference also when he is accidentally near peanuts (unexpected places). Before he was diagnosed with PA we would eat them around him. Of course, he would react slightly to it. He would experience swollen eyes and extreme itching of the scalp and hands (I would have to hold his hands down to stop him from rubbing his eyes and scratching). I do not eat them around him anymore and rarely eat them at all (except for that occasional once a month craving).

Three times so far he has eaten or been around something that accidentally had peanuts (one is unconfirmed but I think it did) and his reactions were alot less severe. He would only experience one symptom...not multiple. One time he had a red rash around his mouth, another time he had the swollen eyes, and one time he experienced a major coughing attack with an upset stomach.

I can understand how frustrating it must be for you to experience this on a daily occurance. Let us know how things go!

On Dec 1, 2000

Lam, I have never had a problem with hives with my PA son. However, he has been on a daily antihistamine (first Benadryl and then I switched to Claritin because it is non-drowsy and one dose a day rather than two) since he was 2-1/2 due to his environmental allergies.

I simply figure that he is wired as I am. I was allergy tested at a young age 35 years ago. I then had to have immunization therapy for I don't know how many years and when I was old enough to decide for myself, I stopped because I hated getting shots every day. I then switched to controlling my environmental allergies with a daily antihistamine.

In my early 20's, I was re-tested again for my allergies and it was suggested I undergo immunization therapy again. I did for maybe about a month. But, I found that the shots actually brought on a migraine and I was having enough of them already. So, I switched back to the daily antihistamine. So, I've been dealing with some type of "therapy" if you will, for my allergies for 35 years or so.

As far as immunization therapy for my son and his environmental allergies, I am simply not comfortable with it and find them easily controlled with the Claritin.

Now, I am not clear if Jesse does not get hives because he is on the daily dose of Claritin.

However, and I think this may be very important, when Jesse had his second anaphylactic reaction, he was taking Claritin on a daily basis. It did NOT mask ONE single symptom of anaphylaxis.

When we got to the emergency department, I was trying to tell the doctor that he had had an antihistamine that day and the doctor basically told me to be quiet, as they are two totally different acting antihistamines and the Benadryl was obviously required as my son was in total anaphylactic shock.

So, if you were to choose to treat your son on a daily basis with an antihistamine, I would see what your allergist recommends (I changed to Claritin as I didn't want to drowse him out when he was going to be going to school - and the Benadryl can, but does not necessarily make you drowsy, it did my son), it may actually help with the hives and definitely will not mask a reaction if it is not Benadryl anyway. Actually, I'm not even clear if Benadryl, when taken on a daily basis would mask any symptoms of an actual reaction.

Actually, in now thinking about that, I would actually recommend that you use a different antihistamine than Benadryl, but then, it may not as act as quickly on hives. I'm going to grab my son's bottle of Claritin to see what symptoms it covers - I know that Benadryl does specify hives, doesn't it?

"Fast relief from hayfever and other seasonal allergy symptoms: itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; runny nose; skin itch." Actually, I'm not clear that the type of skin itch they're referring to would encompass hives. Sorry, I was trying to give you some type of answer. Of course, I didn't mean for you not to discuss it with your allergist.

Also, I believe Morgansmom, who hasn't posted for a little bit, but if you can find one of her posts and see if she has an e-mail listed, I believe she uses Benadryl on a fairly regular basis. However, I'm not clear if she uses it daily for her daughter or not. You may want to discuss this with her.

Again, I'm not clear if the Claritin is staving off any hives that Jesse would normally be developing but I do know that it did not, in any way, mask one symptom of anaphylactic shock.

Lam, I hope I have been of some help to you re this, especially since I haven't had to deal with a child developing hives all the time. But again, maybe it's because he's been on an antihistamine for so long. Best wishes! [img][/img]

Oh, and sorry, does your son have any allergies other than the suspicious one in the Pull-Ups, other than PA? Could he possibly have developed any since his last allergy testing, if he has, in fact, been previously tested?

The day I can make a post short will be the day most people breathe a heavy sigh of relief! Again, best wishes! [img][/img]


On Dec 1, 2000

Your post has me thinking, Cindy. When Cayley had her anaphylactic reaction, I gave her Dimetapp Allergy medication at home, then rushed her to the hospital.

I told the medical personnel I gave her Dimetapp (not the cold medicine, but one specifically for hives, itching, etc.) and they immediately gave her a dose of Benadryl, and they explained that the concentration of antihistamine is higher in the Benadryl than the Dimetapp (I remember this being the explanation by the nurse; basically the doctor said Benadryl just works better).

They advised me to keep Benadryl at home to use after the Epi, in case of a reaction, because the "other" brands just don't work as well. Cayley gets the occasional hive, but other than a couple of times, I've never had to give her Benadryl for them, ever since she outgrew her milk allergy at 2 1/2.

Lam, if you decide to give your son a daily antihistamine to help with the hives, maybe you could ask your doctor about the Claritin, Dimetapp Allergy, etc. This way, the hives might be prevented, but you wouldn't have to worry that the antihistamine is so strong it might "mask" a reaction. Just a thought!

On Dec 1, 2000

Hi! Well, Logan gets a hive or two on his face just about every day. We pretty much just ignore them, although when I do see one I am a bit more watchful (is that a word?) of him. Logan is on 2 daily antihistamines and has had 3 anaphylactic reactions (to 3 different things) in the past 3 months. NONE of his reactions was even remotely masked by his medicines. Two of his reactions started within 15 minutes and the third started immediately.

As I understand it, the role an antihistamine plays is to lessen reactions or prevent them altogether. As drugs, antihistamines are designed to counteract histamines. Histamines are what cause the reaction and if they are stopped then the reaction does not occur. By saying an antihistamine might mask symptoms is saying that it is hiding the effects of the histamine being released, but that's not how antihistamines work - they treat the cause. If a reaction is severe enough that the antihistamine is no longer strong enough to block the release of histamine then there is no way that reaction will be masked.

If your son is on a daily antihistamine, possibly he won't react to the lesser exposures but any exposure that could result in anaphylaxis is going to be much stronger than the daily preventative dose of antihistamine.

When Logan has had his anaphylactic reactions the Benadryl dose given him to help the reaction was much more than I would ever give at home (something like 3x more), so I think that even a normal dose of Benadryl is not enough to mask symptoms of a serious reaction if masking is indeed possible.


[This message has been edited by rebekahc (edited December 02, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by rebekahc (edited December 02, 2000).]

On Dec 2, 2000

Good morning everyone! I cannot thank you all enough for all the wonderful advice. I was totally stressed about this yesterday, and this morning things are much better.

rebekah: Your explanation of the 'masking' question was great. I totally agree with you, and I have even 'argued' those points myself in the past. For some reason, I sometimes get so concerned/worried about certain aspects of PA that I get very stressed out and even question what I know I know about it. It's that 'rollercoaster' effect, I think.

After all the terrific responses, I can say I'm heading back down the other side of the big hill. I will be taking my youngest son to the allergist on Monday - I'll bring up my concerns with her then.

Cindy and Cayley's Mom: Thank you for the interesting info about Benadryl. I knew it was the med of choice, but didn't really know why.

Cindy - My son had the RAST shortly after the Pull ups incident. We discovered he is allergic to cats, dogs, dust, grass, tree pollen. To date, he hasn't reacted to any of the above with hives - sneezing, runny nose, coughing.

Thank you everyone - your help is invaluable!!!

[This message has been edited by Lam (edited December 02, 2000).]

On Dec 2, 2000

Interesting topic! One I've wanted to ask over the last 8 weeks but didn't have the guts to bring up that benadryl link again!! [img][/img] So, thanks Lam!!

I haven't been reading all of the posts lately so I missed this one, darn it!!

Anyways since the last post on the benadryl thread, I have had some amazingly frustrating times with hives. 6 weeks to be exact, all of October and the first two weeks of November. The last three weeks being the worse with hives and eczema rashes every day, not only at school but also at home.

I was so frustrated trying to figure out the cause that I finally did a complete elimination of all foods except for fruits and vegetables and took away all soaps etc.. etc.. The hives cleared immediately, they were beginning to worry me, but I still have not figured out the cause.

I slowly re-introduced everything back into her diet, so it does not seem to be food related. I'm left with either the industrial soaps that they use in the school or touch reactions from being in school. I believe that she is reacting often from touch.

This is the first year of school for her (she was in preschool last year) and so she is much more exposed to the real world with all of her allergens in them. Milk program at school as well as milk and egg products, peanuts have apparently been eliminated from school.

I was treating all itching and bothersome hive episodes with benadryl when they appeared and this was working for us. ...but everyday became a bit much and so like you say Lam, I started to question my thinking on all of this and remembered some of you who have your kids on daily antihistamines.

After visiting the doctor, I decided to put Morgan on a daily dose of Claritin on school days only. So far I am seeing an amazing difference. She is not getting any reactions. So it seems that the Claritin is preventing the reactions from even occurring. So far, so good! When she's at home with us we don't give her the dose.

I still believe in everything I supported in the original "does benadryl mask anaphylactic reactions" links, but have just change my own strategy from using benadryl after seeing hives to using Claritin before encountering the world. ...because the hive episodes became sooo numerous!! My emergency plan remains the same with epi first if anaphylactic followed with benadryl and benadryl only if just hives.

So this is my latest question! I know that claritin and benadryl are different and that benadryl has the quickest release, but now I'm wondering if my emergency plan of still using benadryl for hives with no further follow up (just observation for further signs) is still appropriate because I'm using the daily dose of Claritin. I need to discuss again with the doctor. It just seems like alot of antihistamine doesn't it?? I know it's ok if you're on route to hospital but would it be ok if you are on a daily dose of claritin and then need benadryl for a hive episode hhhhmmmmm!! Any thoughts??

Lam, perhaps the daily dose will also help you in the future!!

Again, thanks for asking cuz shucks as you can see, I've been dealing with this the last two months and didn't have the heart to bring up the topic again and admit I had to change my plan too!! [img][/img]

On Dec 3, 2000

morgan's mom: You and your daughter have been through a lot recently!! Thank you so much for chiming in with your experience, and with your decision. I understand being wary about bringing up 'that question' again! [img][/img] But I'm glad we did. I truly see the whole picture now, from both sides.

I will be taking my youngest to the allergist tomorrow. I am writing down questions right now to take with me. I'll include yours about giving Benadryl in the case of any reaction even if the child is already on a daily dose of another antihistamine. I'm sure I'll be back here tomorrow posting the findings of our appointment.

On Dec 3, 2000

I am so happy to read that a daily antihistamine is working for mild reactions for the children of those who have posted. That helps me to stay optimistic that it will be the case for my son when the time comes.

Lam--how old is your youngest son and what is he being tested for? Good luck at the appointment tomorrow. Deanna

P.S. I'm editing this message because I wanted to add that it's threads like this one that help me to remember why I come to this board. It's so comforting to know that there are so many others going through the same things that we are. Thanks everyone!

[This message has been edited by DMB (edited December 03, 2000).]

On Dec 3, 2000

Morganmom, you've raised a REALLY good question about the daily dose of different antihistamine and then treatment with Benadryl. Good thread starter!

I believe that Jesse is probably like Morgan. I have never had a hive reaction with Jesse, but, as I say, he has been on a daily antihistamine since he was 2-1/2 years old. The Claritin is probably preventing any slight reaction.

I don't even think I can really address your question. I do know that if Jesse has an anaphylactic reaction, he still requires Benadryl despite having had his Claritin that day. But, I'm not clear how I would deal with a hive reaction, as I said, I've never had to deal with one. I hope you get some really good responses, as again, I do believe this is a really good question. Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Dec 3, 2000

Okay, me again LOL! Logan takes Claritin every morning and another antihistamine that is an appetite stimulant every night. We're supposed to be taking the appetite one more frequently but it makes him too sleepy to function. Also, when we get Logan's allergy shots, if he gets a few hives or anything they give him a dose of Zyrtec even though he's already had Claritin.

If a child is on a daily antihistamine and still gets a few hives I would think based upon my experiences that a little benadryl on top of that is okay. It's been my understanding that you couldn't take another Claritin or whatever you've already given but a different one would be okay. Personally, if Logan just has a few hives and doesn't seem miserable we just let them be.


On Dec 4, 2000

Rebekhah, you have an antihistamine appetitite stimulant for Logan? I could really use something like that for Jesse! Do you mind my asking why it was prescribed? Jesse is an extremely picky eater. He is considered in the 40th percentile weight wise. His sister, who is 21 months younger, weighs 1# less than him and they were both the exact same weight at birth. Now, he could simply have inherited his slender build from his Father, which is fine, but it's the picky eating that really sends me, especially when you know you can't use that old stand-by that a lot of parents do, the pb sandwich before bed thing! Just wondering. Thanks. Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Dec 4, 2000

Hi everyone. I'm here to post the results from my youngest's allergy tests done today. He is NOT allergic to peanuts - YEAH!!- at least, not yet. The allergist mentioned what we all know - allergies can develop over time. We had him tested because he is a VERY picky eater, and I wanted to make sure it wasn't for a reason other than stubbornness. Now I know - he's stubborn!!

morgan's mom: I owe you a huge apology - I didn't ask your question today. When I brought up the fact that my older (PA) son has been getting hives from contact, the allergist practically laughed. I told her about the kiss on Halloween (when I ate a peanut butter cookie earlier in the day, and he ended up with a hive where I kissed him even hours later). She started shaking her head (no) before I finished telling her about it. She practically said that peanut allergies don't get THAT bad. I beg to differ - don't you??? I know that RASTs don't necessarily mean anything, but my son's was 48,000+ on the 18,000 scale. His hive from the skin prick was as big as a 50 cent piece and stayed on his back for weeks. It's not that I want my son's allergy to be that bad -that's not what upset me... I'm not looking for some kind of justification or whatever. I'm just appalled that she doesn't believe it could really be that bad - for ANYbody!! AARRGGHH! I mentioned this site, and she said it's good for me to talk to other PA moms: "they know what they're talking about." Does that mean she doesn't think I know what I'm doing??? She was not the allergist to disgnose our son - if she was, she probably would have just told us "Don't let him eat any peanuts. Here's a script for an Epi pen. Bye." Is there a new allergist in our future?!?!? I know she knows that peanut allergies are serious - I just don't think (after today) that she thinks someone can get hives from such a tiny amount of exposure. I don't know...

I'm sorry for venting here - maybe I should've waited until tomorrow to post - but I'm going to be very busy then, so this is it.

I did manage to contain my frustration enough to ask if we should consider a daily antihistamine - she was adamant - no. She said she would want to make absolutely sure that's what was happening and why, before starting something like that. She truly doesn't believe the hives are from peanut exposure/contact.

Okay, I'll close now - I could go on forever. I'm upset and confused, and frustrated. I'll check in again sometime soon, and hopefully I'll be calmer then. Thanks for being here, and for 'listening'. [img][/img] 'Night!

On Dec 4, 2000

Lam, It sounds like you had a rough visit at the doctors today. I'm sorry.

You mentioned that your doctor doesn't believe your son's hives are from peanuts. Did she have a suggestion as to why he's getting them then?

On Dec 4, 2000

Aren't doctors wonderful!! Even the so called good ones!! I often leave my doctors appointment thinking to myself, "you really don't have a clue how much these allergies affect us on a day to day basis". ...and I do consider our doctor to be one of the best! My daughter was getting hive episodes 4 - 6X/day, and my doctor didn't seem overly concerned about figuring out what was causing them. His comments, hives are the most frustrating of all symptoms for parents because it is so difficult to find the cause. Hives can appear up to 24-48 hours after an exposure and so you may never figure out the culprit. For people who are predisposed to hives, it is very common to have an episode after being outside in cold weather, or if you have a virus or, or, or...

I was the one who took the initiative to eliminate all foods and externals to figure this whole thing out! I was also the one who intiated the daily antihistamine which he said would be fine.

Anyways, what I'm trying to say is "I hear you", "I have the same frustration". I really believe in a mothers intuition, you'll know when it's right to go on a daily antihistamine. My daughter is well and most often hive free, for five years now, because I've continued to figure out what is bothering her and made appropriate changes not because my doctor or any other doctor helped me to any great extent, except of course with testing confirmation.

I guess the good part about my doctor is he is willing to learn, he is willing to listen when I'm frustrated even with him, he is more on the ball than other doctors, and he is active in our community supporting his patients with allergies.

Bottomline this allergy stuff is frustrating especially when our doctors don't even get it! Sorry to hear about your frustrating day!

On Dec 4, 2000

How frustrating for you, Lam. I'm sorry that she had to act that way with you. When my son first went to an allergist at 18 mos, his allergist specifically asked if he had had any contact exposures. When I told him about him breaking out in hives on his face from my niece kissing him after eating a pb sandwich hours earlier, this only confirmed to him how severe my son's allergy was. Now only if my son's pediatrician had been that understanding--he just told me to keep him away from peanuts and wait 3 months and put a dab of pb on his arm to see if he reacted--which of course, he did.

Why can't some doctors listen and learn from their patients. If she would've taken the time to LISTEN to what you were saying maybe she would've learned a thing or two about peanut allergies. Did she give you any explanation at all as to what she thought he was reacting to? Again, I'm sorry that she left you frustrated, but at least your younger son does not have a peanut allergy. That's probably the one highlight of your visit. Take care. Deanna

On Dec 4, 2000

Cindy - The antihistamine is called periactin and was prescribed because Logan wasn't even on the charts for weight. He's finally on the charts (a little) and is 39" tall and weighs only 32 pounds at age 4.

Tammy - So sorry you had such a bad time today [img][/img] Just my personality talking here, but I'd be really tempted to "prove her wrong." However, I'd never have the guts to do it or be willing to risk a reaction. Why don't you ask the pedi for a daily antihistamine?


On Dec 5, 2000

Lam - I really have a problem with doctors being "adamant" about something! Doesn't that just drive you crazy??!! It really gives us insight into how inflexible they are - what if they were proven to be wrong about something? Would they admit it? Or would their pride prevent them from picking up the phone to call and say "Maybe you are onto something there, let's give it a try". I don't know, these types of doctors just give me a scare (I had an OB/GYN like that with 2 of my 3 babies).

Anyway, aside from that little vent, has this allergist set up a plan to help you find out what the hive triggers are? If she doesn't want to prescribe a daily antihistamine until she knows what's causing the hives, then she'd better make arrangements with you to somehow uncover the reason. Did she really send you home saying no, and then not discuss further how to pinpoint a cause? Sorry that your visit went badly, and I don't blame you for posting when you did, when the experience (and frustration) were still fresh in your mind. You suggested maybe switching allergists? That might be a good idea, because there are allergists with better explanations out there. Good luck!!

On Dec 5, 2000

Lam, I like most others, am very angry with your doctor. She doesn't believe in contact reactions? As Cayley's Mom asked, did she suggest anything in trying to determine what the cause was of your child's hives? My anger is really starting to surface.

I'm not clear that I can call Jesse's last reaction a contact reaction or not. But, the offending pb square simply touched his lips (I understand that it may not simply be contact because through his lips, the allergen would then enter his mouth, I guess), and he went into full anaphylactic shock.

I have no doubt in my mind, because of what I have experienced with him, that another child would react to contact with peanut residue or by being kissed. Look at Claire's son who reacted to the smell of his sister walking by after she had eaten some of her peanut Hallowe'en candies. I'm sorry, your doctor is wrong.

I'm oh so pleased that she is glad that you have found this site for support. Given the way she treated you, you need this site for a lot more than support. You need it for information to back you up should you decide to visit this woman again. My blood is boiling, and, at my age, it could mean a heart attack or stroke, so I will stop that rant.

Sorry, I just had another thought as I was skinning and cutting my daughter's apple. When Jesse was allergy tested last month I did not want him tested for peanut. However, the way the serum was mixed, they had to put the serum on him anyway. They simply did not prick his skin. So the serum (which I understand can be pretty potent) was on his arm but not into his arm. He still had a huge reaction. Is that not a contact reaction?

And, in ending, I wanted to post on the upside. I'm pleased to hear that your younger child is not PA. That seems to be happening to a lot of us lately!

Your doctor was right in one way - you definitely need the support of this board after your visit with her and I hope you received some from my post and the many before it. Best wishes! [img][/img]

Oh, and it's a suggestion, maybe you and Morgansmom could figure out a plan on how to determine what is causing your son's hives. She sounds as though she's been to he** and back, as you have been with the hive thing and maybe she has some good input on trying to figure it out with you. I do not mean to speak for either of you, it just seems as though you're in/were in very similar situations.

Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Dec 5, 2000

Hi Everyone! I cannot tell you how great it was to check in here and read all your thoughtful, caring responses. The support you all give, to me and everyone here, is so incredible. THANK YOU!!! To answer some questions - She didn't really give an explanation or even a guess as to what could be causing the hives. Well, she did mention the 'condition' that Claire was referring to - some people develop hives at the site of a scratch. She showed me how to 'test' him for it; I did, and that's not it. (I already knew that.) She didn't say anything beyond watching for a pattern that may clue us into what could be the reason - I've already done that, and I truly feel it's peanut related. I would love to 'prove her wrong' (rebekah) but I think we already did that. The last time my oldest was in to see her, we did a 'touch' test. She put peanut butter on his back - a smear that was barely visible. Within 20 minutes he developed a hive.

I KNOW!! I KNOW!!! THAT should have been proof enough, but I guess she either forgot about it, or didn't believe her own eyes! I'm kicking myself right now for not bringing that up to her yesterday - and you all can kick me, too! [img][/img] After I got flustered, all I could think in my head was "WHAT?!?!?!?" I'm getting the picture that I put way too much confidence in doctors. I go to appointments all prepared with lots of questions, but when they give their answer, I just accept it - until I have time to roll it over in my mind several times. My husband kids me that I'm just no good with doctors... I'm beginning to think he's absolutely right!!! No, I don't think yesterday's bad appointment was ALL my fault, but do I think I should've done better.

I know what I know about PA. I just need to trust myself - and you all!! Thanks again, so very much, for being here when I needed to vent, for your support, and for the wisdom of your experience. This will be an on-going question for us, and when I figure it out (daily antihist or not) I'll surely be here to discuss it with everyone. In the meantime, I guess we watch and Benadryl when necessary - business as usual. Take care!

On Dec 5, 2000

Lam, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about how you ended up basically blanking out at the allergist's office. First of all, I find it very difficult when I have my children with me to discuss ANYTHING, never mind anything serious. I don't know if your children are the same.

Secondly, most of us have been taught that doctors are God and not to be questioned. And, a lot of doctors to-day still perpetuate the myth that doctors are God and look very suspiciously at you should you question their knowledge.

When I moved here, I had an older doctor who was retiring. He was pretty blase (turns out he's PA), but he dealt with me effectively. Then, when he retired, the doctor that took over his practice was just out of med school and had no hesitation in mentioning this several times during an appointment. When the woman did not know what a medication was that you can buy on-the-shelf in America, and had to check her doctor's drug manual (CPS) to see what the he** I was talking about, I thought, that's it!

Now, I have one that has a God-like mentality although, through me writing him a couple of letters he is becoming, if at all possible, a bit more empathetic.

Then, when you're dealing with a "specialist", i.e., allergist, whatever, I believe we tend to think that these people are even more God-like than family doctors because they're specialized in a particular field. I recently saw a neurologist in Barrie and he was extremely surprised to find that I had had the "best" neurologist in Toronto and wanted to know how I managed that. When he didn't know what stomach migraine was, I thought, okay, I have another problem with him.

I don't know more than doctors, but I consider myself terribly pro-active when it comes to my health and my children's health. What I gather from your posts is that you are the same. So, you were dazed and confused at the allergist's yesterday - that's completely okay. Remember when I posted the results of my kids' allergy tests? I'm still dazed and confused to this day. I have yet to receive their "scores", have yet to discuss it with the family physician and really don't know what to make of it.

What I'm basically trying to say, is don't be too hard on yourself about yesterday. I do wish whoever suggested the magic bonking wand would get it out there on the market, because I'd be there bonking the allergist upside the head (isn't that terrible?).

I really think if you could do something similar to what Morgansmom has done, you might find the culprit. Given your son's environmental allergies, I'm not clear that it isn't something to do with them rather than PA, but again, I'm not a doctor (not that your doctor even pointed you in any direction to go).

I have just found dealing with doctors for the past twenty years extremely frustrating, but I must say that I have had much luck with regard to PA. No one has ever questioned it and my son has always been prescribed his Epi-pen.

The other thing I was wondering - if your allergist doesn't believe in contact reactions, does that also mean she doesn't believe in airborne ones?

Lam, I'm glad that you received the support you needed here. I know this site has been my life saver on many occasions, otherwise my head would simply have exploded or would have been banged against the wall for a long period of time. It can be very frustrating, especially when you're dealing with doctors that don't "get it". But please, don't be too hard on yourself.

We, as a society, are becoming more pro-active in our health care and choosing alternatives, etc., but still, most people are brought up to believe that you do not question the wisdom of your doctor. Please don't be too hard on yourself and don't second guess yourself.

What I would probably suggest, but you may want SOMEONE'S approval (perhaps even a pharmacist) is that you try your son on a daily antihistamine for a couple of weeks and see what happens. I know my girlfriend last night, I was on the phone with her and her child was coughing terribly with his asthma although he had received his reliever puffer (3 puffs) and preventative puffer (1 puff) for the second time that day. I asked her if she had ever considered the fact that her son may have allergy induced asthma (I find her home very toxic). She thought about it and then realized when her other asthmatic son was coughing terribly in the summer, she had given him some Benadryl and it did stop the cough. She tried the same thing with her other little guy last night. It worked. I strongly urged her to make an appointment to discuss the children's asthma with their doctor. My son is asthmatic, but he has NEVER sounded the way her children do on a daily basis. I consider their asthma uncontrolled and yet they are on daily puffers. Something is not right. Then, when the Benadryl did work, the natural question is, is it allergy related?

You didn't need long-winded babble from me. I guess I'm trying to say that sometimes you can get advice from other parents that, if you sit back and really think about it before you make a decision, it may be beneficial to try. I still believe you and Morgansmom should be communicating as your situations do seem very similar.

Did the allergist say why she wasn't comfortable with a daily antihistamine?

That was the other thing, to-day, when we discussed the asthma-allergy link, my girlfriend said, well, I don't want the kids tested because then they'll have to go for shots. Well, duh, no they don't have to go for shots. They can take a daily dose of antihistamine. I don't mean to sound mean spirited about my friend, she is actually my best friend but sometimes I simply question what she's thinking. I have given her so much information about asthma and simply from reading it she should recognize that her home is toxic and I'm not going to be the one to tell her it is! Glade air fresheners in all the outlets? Put fleecy in the water of the humidifier so the water comes out smelling nice? Deodorizer powder stuff on the carpet? Carpets in the bedroom period when they own their home? You see where I'm coming from.

Again, I'm sorry. Why did that all pour out? I wish you the best in this journey and at least you know you can come in here and post every little question and receive some type of response. Best wishes! [img][/img] and actually, hopefully not a babbling response from an obvious lunatic [img][/img] or is that simply sleep deprived?


On Dec 6, 2000

Cindy : you've just won the "Golden Keyboard Award" for the longest post in the history of Forums !! [img][/img]

I must admit I have to agree with a lot of what you said - some people don't understand, even when it's right "in their face". That can also apply to the medical profession, although I've had nothing but 100% support in my personal experiences with PA / NA. Maybe that's because I'm an adult with the allergy, having to take responsibility for myself only and I'm not a parent with an allergic child. I've certainly met some people who think that parents in that situation are over-reacting and being over-protective of their children.

Best wishes...

------------------ Nick (PA sufferer)

On Dec 6, 2000

Lam, I can not believe that they told you hives don't work that way. I touch shrimp and I am covered in hives where I touched it. My daughter gets hives when there is even a cat in the room. What would the difference be with peanut butter. christopher can't breath when he comes in any cantact with nuts. If he smells it he can't breathe. I was told once that this was not true. My doctor told me exactly where to tell those people to go. My kids have the greatest doctor. He even told the school and wrote a letter that if anything happened to Chris as far as nuts go he would be getting his own lawyer in school.He has always treated him so special and rushes him when he has even an office appointment. Just because he likes to discuss everything with him. I have never had to sit in the waiting room or anything so I guess we better hang on to him for a while. He lets us do the asking and has never lead us to believe he is better. He even told me when I had the baby that I should take care of him my way and if I felt I needed help feel free to ask. He only told us not to give him any nuts until he was at least 3 years old. Now he is going to be 3 in January,and I see no nuts then either. Take care and best wishes with your doctor. claire

On Dec 6, 2000

Cindy- I have some questions regarding asthma. I tried posting under Living but did not get many answers to my questions. If it is not too much trouble could you please email me? I would love to talk to you.

On Dec 6, 2000

Thanks Everyone! Oh, and Cindy, I'm sorry for getting you so enangered the other day. I also find myself getting VERY upset by some people's posts about their experiences in the real world sometimes. Sorry to have pushed you to that brink!! [img][/img] And thanks again for your thoughtful response.

I just wanted to say that I was thinking about what I just posted yesterday, about the "touch test" and not reminding the allergist about it... I think she probably does 'believe' in direct contact reactions, but apparently not what I call "2nd person" reactions - the kiss, the contaminated toys, etc. I know that those reactions DO occur, and we will just have to continue to deal with them as they arrive. If it gets to be REALLY bad, like Morgan's, we'll be right back to her office - or we'll give him a daily dose (probably of Benadryl) on our own. I wish everyone well - Have a great day! P.S. Claire: It sounds as if you've got a great Dr. Good for you!!!

[This message has been edited by Lam (edited December 06, 2000).]

On Dec 6, 2000

Lam, I must apologize for completing losing it in your thread last night. I really don't know what happened to me. I was extremely angry at your allergist. She basically left you on your own to figure out what is causing the hives with your son. This angers me. My family doctor's appointment this morning angers me. My son's school angers me. On the upside, it was Claire that got terribly angry at my son's school the other night. I think that anger may be an underlying emotion a lot of the times with us that we fail to recognize or are able to keep under control for the most part.

I don't know why I went on about my girlfriend and her children's asthma and me trying to figure out the allergy link for her. It's just that I do consider this woman pro-active in her health care for her family and I can't understand why she wouldn't have raised the allergy issue with her doctor based on the information I've given her. I guess it's to each his/her own. She knows that she shouldn't be drying her clothing outside in the summer because of the asthma but she continues to do it. Then, there's the wood stove.....

Nick, thank-you for the award which is very much appreciated [img][/img] In actuality, I type REALLY fast so whatever thought (no matter how inane) enters my head gets onto the screen as fast as it comes out. That's why my posts are ALWAYS long-winded and I tend to waffle on. I have also been asked to paragraph my posts out because a couple of people actually enjoy reading them (laugh of the day perhaps) so that makes them appear even longer. Anyway, again, thank-you!

And, I'm sorry, NaomiR, I would e-mail you, but your e-mail address is not listed on the board (neither is mine, no biggie), so I can't. I'm at [email][/email] if you'd like to e-mail me. Now, please remember that I am not an expert on asthma and I find this very difficult to deal with when my son has a cold, etc., i.e., is his breathing okay, is he "belly breathing"? stuff like that.

However, through dealing with The Asthma Society via e-mail this past summer (not his doctor, doctor not totally at fault) I was able to wean him down from three puffers a day to two and even less puffs on those two.

I do get a subscription to a magazine called Breathe Easy which one of the associations puts out, I believe (can't check now due to time constraints), so that's how I get some information. It is free. I'm not going to continue to go on here, please e-mail me and I'll try and find a copy of the magazine so you can also request a free subscription and I will try, as hard as I can, to answer any questions you may have.

Again, Lam, my apologies. You didn't need to apologize to me! I really think it's okay if we get angry about something that is happening to someone else, even if we only know one another on this board. I believe it shows we care for one another and I think that's really important. I got angry, it means I care about you and your child, regardless of the fact that I don't personally know you, but I was angered by your allergist. I care about you and your child, Lam. That's really okay!

Best wishes, oh, and Nick, thank-you again [img][/img] [img][/img]


[This message has been edited by Cindy Spowart Cook (edited December 06, 2000).]

On Dec 6, 2000

NaomiR., I am in NO way saying not to e-mail me, but I recognized that possibly other PA parents could use some information re asthma also. I was mistaken, the magazine is called Breathe.

At any rate, I have posted the information on how to get a free subscription to the magazine and some other asthma links I found in another brochure, under the Links section entitled Asthma Links.

I will welcome your e-mail, but again, thought other people may want to get this information too, so why not post it? Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Dec 6, 2000

I am sorry LAM if this is taking away from your post!

Cindy- I did try to post this under Living with PA. There is a thread there titled Asthmatic PAs-what are the first warning signs but I only got one response and this is starting to concern me. I will post there again though and see if anyone else replies. Thanks!

On Dec 6, 2000

NaomiR., I actually did respond to you in that thread just a little while ago (before I posted under Legislature), but I really want you to e-mail me regardless. We can thrash things around sometimes better off-the-board. Best wishes! [img][/img]


On Dec 6, 2000


I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere in this thread if your son is on medication for any other reasons.

Drug allergies can produce hives (as witnessed first hand with my younger son's allergies, and they continued on and off for almost a week until the antibiotic was completely out of his system, and they tended to "re-appear" with activity). Our Canadian CPS lists one of the adverse effects of ventolin and claritin extra as "rash" (whatever that means).

Just curious to know if you have searched along that line.

On Dec 7, 2000

Naomi: No apologies necessary - I don't consider anything "my" thread. You haven't stepped on any toes. [img][/img] Actually, my son may be heading down the asthma road, so I am interested in that topic as well.

Cindy: Thanks for caring!! [img][/img]

Adam's Mom: Thanks for your question. Any help is appreciated!! At the present time he is on Lorabid, but he hasn't had any hives while on it. He has reacted to penicillin in the past so we avoid it now.

I like to think I'm as observant as I can possibly be. The PA is always foremost in my mind. I don't think about it constantly, but thanks to it, anything 'strange' that comes up immediately brings up all the related questions and concerns.

I appreciate any and all suggestions, ideas, and advice I receive from everyone on this site. Just when I think I HAVE thought of everything, someone gives me yet another venue based on their experiences. I love it!! Thank you!!

On Dec 14, 2000

Hello all, I am new to this site first day and I cannot tell you how excited I was to read all your posts. . . I learned more in the past hour than I have in the past two years with the allergist. .

I am the mom of a two year old PA allergic boy who also has allergies to soy, casein, and peas. I have to tell you this has not been easy especially doing this with no support as there are no support groups in my area and unfortunately I do not know anyone with food allergies. I was surprised to see Lam's post about hives, as my son can get a hive it seems just from the air he breaths.. His diet is strickly monitored by me, I quess I am somewhat militant about that I dont allow anyone to feed my son, not even his father unless he asks me first.. (Prozac is probably in my future)...

Anyway, I did not know all this information about antihistamines given on a daily basis to control the "smaller" allergies. Along with the hives that appear for no explanable reason, he also gets a red rash around his mouth and cheeks and for the life of me I cannot get anyone to tell me what this is. It does not seem to iritate him but it really is not attractive, it looks like very bad sunburn (very strange). This type of "reaction" he can get everyday or just several times per week..

Back to the hives.. hate to be rabbling but I am so excited to have someone to talk to I want to get it all out. My son's reactions to foods (never a peanut reaction thank GOD) are only localized, he will only get hives on his face and his eyes will swell but I thought if you have a food allergy it is a systemic reaction, affecting the entire body, why does he only react on his face????

I have to say, there are nights I sit up and cry thinking about what could happen and if something did happen when I wasnt around. Well thanks for listening, I cant even write anymore because just this little post, has thrown me into histerics.

I Look forward to reading all your posts.


On Dec 14, 2000

Ari, welcome! I don't have a support group near where I live either so I have used this website, since May of this year, as my support group and it has worked immensely. Questions are asked and answers, concerns are voiced and heard and responded to with caring, concern, compassion. You are encouraged and when needed, calmed down. You may want to go to the Introduction section of the Discussion headings and place an introduction about yourself and your son in there (although I never did, I just starting posting questions!) and then go from there with the questions that you have. If you raise them in a thread separate from someone else's you may get the response you want faster or directed right to you. Just a thought. Best wishes! [img][/img]