Posted on: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:28am
aljuma's picture
Joined: 12/20/2005 - 09:00

My 21/2 year old son had a reaction in June. He woke up from a nap with huge hives all over his body. They relocated themselves from his hot spots to all over his face and body. After giving him 3 doses of benadryl and two doctors visits, his ears, lips, eyes swelled up. However after every dose of benadryl his symptoms became worse. After 8 hours in ER pumped with prednisolone and atorax his swelling subsided.

He was tested for 30 of the most common allergies (peanuts, shell fish, some fruit, bees, etc.) but everything he was tested for came back negative. One month after his reaction his sister had the same reaction minus the swelling in the face.

Since his reaction in June, he has had 2 more eposides. Both were small hives on his arms, tummy, back and legs. He has a good appetite and eats many different foods. He ate nothing new on those days that I can think of.

The doctors are telling me his reactions may not be allergy related and could be his body fighting a virus.

I am really concerned and unsure what to do. Any suggesting. Has anyone experiences something similar and what did you do.

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 1:42am
bethc's picture
Joined: 04/18/2005 - 09:00

I'll see what I can answer, and hopefully other people will hop in once this is on the daily topic list.
Reactions often start very quickly, in the first few minutes. Usually hives will pop up right away. People who get mouth pain or tingling usually feel that immediately. But sometimes there is a delay. They say up to 2 hours is a real possibility. People on this board have experienced longer delays. My DD is one who has had 2 reactions that didn't become obvious for many hours, but that is not her norm.
Mystery hives are a real problem for those of us watching out for reactions. Sometimes they're from peanuts, sometimes they're not, and you can't always sort it out. It could be that your DD got a rash from something else entirely, especially since it was her back only. Allergic people tend to be sensitive. Any new soaps, laundry detergents, lotions? How has her PA shown up before -- full-body hives, facial hives? Could she have come into contact only with peanuts -- not actually eaten it, but touched it and touched her back, or could someone else have touched her back with peanut residue on their hands? I believe my DD had one reaction like this, where she touched something at a store and then reached inside her shirt to scratch her back. She had bad hives on her back, but nothing else happened. When we think it's contact, we wash that area of her skin and keep an eye on her. The doctor said we can also give her Benadryl in those cases.
I'd suggest asking your doctor for a Food Allergy Action Plan. We got one from my DD's allergist, and I feel so much more prepared with all that in writing. It tells you that if she gets this symptom after an ingestion of peanuts, here's what to do. Now, because my DD has had a documented serious anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, we're supposed to use the Epi-Pen if we believe she ate peanuts and has any symptoms. That's not the case for everyone. For many, I believe it's 2 symptoms that lead to the Epi, or respiratory symptoms that require it. You'd have to get medical advice.
But the plan is not actually for those symptoms if we don't believe she ate anything with peanuts in it. She can get a stomachache and we don't give the Epi if we don't think she ate peanut traces. So there's still always that struggle with "Is everything she ate safe? Is this rash from something she ate or just something else?" That's the ongoing difficulty: determining the cause of the symptoms.
With the new U.S. labeling laws (are you in the U.S.?), companies do have to use plain language to tell you that they put a peanut ingredient in their food. So, yes, you're looking for peanut this and that in the ingredient list and things like "natural flavor (contains peanut)". They can no longer hide it in things like natural flavor, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and the like, without disclosing to you that they actually put a peanut ingredient in there. Refined peanut oil is exempt, I believe. And you should check all over the label for warnings about cross-contamination with peanuts. Mostly they'll put these below the ingredient list, but sometimes they're somewhere else on the label.
One very important thing to know is that cross-contamination warnings are optional. The labeling law does not require companies to put any kind of a "may contain" or "processed on equipment" or "processed in a facility" warning on any food. So some companies do it and some don't. Some word it one way, and others word it another. It isn't standardized. So just because there's no peanut warning doesn't mean that there's no risk that the food has been made on the same machine as something with peanut butter and has picked up a little on its way through. There's no way to know that unless you know what the company's labeling policy is.
At first, I only went by the labels. It was overwhelming to consider contacting every company. But I kept reading things on this board that led me to check company websites and sometimes to e-mail or call companies that I was uncertain about. My approach has been to gradually cut out things when I found out they were risky for my DD. Others go the other way: they only eat or feed their child those few things they know are safe, and add to those after they've contacted companies and found things that are also safe. Everyone has their own path on this kind of thing.
So you do have to sort out what may have caused her rash. I'd write down everything she ate yesterday. Think about what other people ate around her. Think about where she went and what she did. Think about any new products you've used that came in contact with her back. Consider illness (any fever? other viral symptoms?). I would not give an Epi for only a rash on her back if you don't believe she ingested something with peanuts in it and your doctor hasn't told you to give the Epi for absolutely any symptom. Benadryl would be reasonable for a variety of things that cause rashes -- but I'm no doctor, I just know what I've been told as a patient and mom! How long to keep an eye on her? Probably a couple of hours most intently, and, to a point, for the next day. You're watching for mouth and throat pain or itchiness, stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, skin swelling, cough, wheezing, sneezing, bluish skin. Again, it is helpful to have all of this in writing from your doctor, as it is on our FAAP. You should look at the anaphylaxis grading chart that's on this site. And call your doctor with questions this morning if the rash hasn't resolved.
There's so much to learn at first! I hope this is helpful. You might want to find "The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies" at your library or bookstore. It gave me a good start. I hope your DD's doing better.

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 1:47am
Daisy's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006 - 09:00

Here is a link to the [b]Pediatric Anaphylaxis Symptoms and Grading Chart[/b]. I found it helpful to print this and keep a copy with you. For an infant or toddler, perhaps keep with your diaper bag. My DH shrunk it a bit and I keep a copy in my purse with the name & # of my Allergist on the back, emergency contact info and a list of my allergens.
Hope your DD is better today, and yes you treat hives only with Benadryl. Print the chart and show it to the Allergist this is an Allergy Action Plan. Ask when to give thee Epi and how much Benadryl at her age/weight. Be sure you write all of this down, and it's a good idea to have your husband or someone else their to remember any other questions you may have and help write down answers.
Many here read labels 3 the store, at home and before serving. Just a good habit to prevent mistakes. Some manufacturers are better than others about labelling for cross-contamination. Some don't list this at all. See the Manufacturer's section for daily posts about different brands. Post their if you have a question about a specific product.
Especially for a toddler or infant, create an allergen-free zone in your home. Toss any PN products or may contains. That way everything in your home is safe, and you won't have any accidents when other family, friends or sitters visit your home.
Assuming you have a couple of Epis and liquid Benadryl on hand? Please keep these with your daughter ALWAYS, even when she may not be eating. You never know when she will touch something at a park or store, and will then put her hands in her mouth.

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 1:49am
bethc's picture
Joined: 04/18/2005 - 09:00

I see that the symptoms chart is right up on top -- check it out. I didn't list these symptoms to watch for: change in activity level, hoarseness, labored breathing, difficulty swallowing, rapid heartbeat. Again, look over the official list!

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 2:30am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My nephew just had a rash caused by a virus. Just bumps on his back with a very low grade fever. Could it be from a virus?

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 6:12am
TMG's picture
Joined: 01/05/2007 - 09:00

Thank you SO much for the posts... Beth, yours was particularly helpful... there is SO much to learn at first!
I think we have narrowed down what may have caused this... she had stauffers animal crackers which are a may contains. But I'm still unsure why the bumps were ONLY on her back? It makes sense that it would be these because she had them just 1/2 hour or so before we noticed the bumps. But she only had 3 or 4 of them? I don't know.
We have never actually exposed her to peanuts or peanut butter - except when I was nursing. So we have no idea what type of reaction she may have - and we've never EVER noticed anything like the bumps we saw last night.
She didn't have a fever. And this morning we checked and the red bumps were gone. I had her in a onsie yesterday/last night so I don't think she could have touched anything and then scratched her back... or it wouldn't be skin to skin contact anyways as far as her back goes.
I appreciate all replies and I am going to print out that chart and also check out the manufacturer board.
Thanks again.

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 1:19pm
April in KC's picture
Joined: 08/28/2006 - 09:00

TMG, I'm glad your daughter is doing better.
Regarding hives on back:
The histamine response that causes visible hives causes other changes throughout the body...hives can occur internally, on organs, too. When hives are from an ingestion, they are often "systemic"...which doesn't necessarily mean that they are everywhere on the body, but they may occur on the torso or follow a relatively symmetrical pattern on the limbs. For my own kids, chest and back have been affected in ingestion reactions.
Nate had whole body hives in his worst reaction, and Drew had a cluster of hives over his breastbone in his most recent nursing reaction. The time prior to that, he had back, chest, neck and upper arm hives in a fairly symmetrical pattern (with a few odd ones just on half of his upper back).
If I see hives on ONE forearm but not the other, I am more inclined to think that it's a contact reaction. I treat with Benedryl, and watch very carefully.
Facial hives can be strange...for whatever reason, when my kids get facial hives they are frequently just on one side. Nate has a spot near his mouth that seems to get "activated" in any reaction, big or small, even just going to school without taking daily Zyrtec can cause this spot to appear. It was in nearly all of his preschool photos, and we assumed it was just sensitive skin. Over the summer, though, in a clean home environment, it went completely away. And this year, once we started daily Zyrtec, it has gone away except on days when he hasn't had his Zyrtec. The location of the spot may be the same physical site as his first-ever's like his body remembers and this little warning sign pops up. It's confusing, though. When I see it these days, I watch very carefully for distressed breathing, coughing, other symptoms.
When I see hives on the neck, back or chest, I ASSUME there are also internal hives and other symptoms at work. I get very alert and make sure I have the Epi ready. My physician's instructions are to Epi if two or more body systems are involved in the reaction...for example, skin (hives) plus GI (vomiting or nausea). Other systems can include cardiac and respiratory. Low blood pressure can occur and is dangerous. Pulse changes can occur. Hoarseness is especially concerning as it is a sign of the larynx swelling.
One note...Benedryl causes sleepiness and can mask some of the visible symptoms of anaphylaxis. If you give Benedryl, you have to continue to be very alert to all the symptoms the sleeping child may have, for several hours.
I hope this doesn't scare you but does give you more information to go on. It's just a little bit of personal information. Every reaction and every child is a little different. Just be aware that there can be invisible symptoms at work when you see hives on the body.
Many people on these boards have had reactions from a "may contain" like animal crackers or PLAIN M&Ms. You just never know when that package is going to be the 1 out of 100 that "does contain."
Regarding having a little one with allergies:
Little kids can describe allergic reactions differently. They may describe something as tickling, as being "spicy," or as being stuck in their mouth. They may say nothing and just reach into their mouth.
Take care! Big hugs for you. It's hard to have a little one with allergies, but you're doing a good thing by reading up on them.
[This message has been edited by April in KC (edited February 02, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by April in KC (edited February 02, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 4:59pm
NicoleinNH's picture
Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 10, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 9:58pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Our son has had hives on the back of his neck from peanut exposure, even when there were none anywhere else.
Like most everybody else, don't know why it happens like that - just know that it sometimes does.
Glad to hear things didn't get any worse! [img][/img]

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