Food allergies suck

by Kim on April 14, 2014

This is not the way I was originally hoping our family would spend Sunday night.


Mason had a big, scary allergic reaction after (we think) eating some fish sticks at dinner, and we ended up in the ER.

This reaction was different than anything we’d seen before–he had the usual itching and redness and hives that he’s gotten several times before, but this time, he was also coughing a lot, and I noticed that he wasn’t acting quite himself. I gave him a dose of Benadryl and crossed my fingers–that was the furthest we’d ever had to go for treatment before.

This time, though, the Benadryl wasn’t helping. His body continued to redden and he was itching everywhere…and then he started wheezing. We’d never seen a respiratory reaction before, so I pictured his little throat closing up and started to panic.

I tried to call an on-call nurse, looking for advice on whether to give him the epi-pen, but halfway into the logistical crap that comes with trying to get medical help on the weekend (“is your address still…?”), I dropped the phone, made the executive decision, and gave him the injection.

It was terrifying, of course–especially since it was my first time. I was so, so thankful that we got the newer epi-pens that come with recorded voice instructions–there was no way I was going to remember how to use the thing in my state of panic, and it would have been horrible to have to fumble around with paper instructions.

He screamed at the shot, making me feel like the worst mom on the planet, but the results were almost immediate. Most importantly, his breathing went back to normal. But the skin reaction was still spreading and intensifying, and since we’d given him the epi, we loaded him into the car and headed to the hospital.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from the epinephrine itself–there’s a huge list of potential side effects, including shakiness and vomiting, and our allergist had warned us that a lot of parents are surprised by what comes after the epi. But Mason was just kind of listless in the car, while I kept prompting him to say things to make sure he was breathing ok.

In the ER, his skin was still looking pretty bad (red and blotchy, all over his body) but he seemed comfortable enough. They gave him steroids on top of the epi and Benadryl already in his system (which I wasn’t excited about, but his body seemed to need all the help it could get) and sent us home in less than 2 hours.

Today, everything’s back to normal, but my confidence has been shattered. Up until now, we didn’t think we had a kid with anaphylactic-level reactions. Now I feel like I’m right back to where I was when he was initially diagnosed, with all the same fear, anger, and self-pity. Why us??

Most parents don’t realize how lucky they are to be able to feed their kids a simple glass of milk and a cookie. (Or insert a thousand other foods here.) They don’t have to ask the world to make special accommodations for their kids (and to deal with the world’s annoyance and lack of understanding). They don’t have to sit through multi-hour allergy appointments and carry epi-pens everywhere they go.

I know that things could be worse. And I know I’ll feel better tomorrow. But for today, I’m letting myself pout, and I’m saying that food allergies suck.

Before all the drama went down, we were having a really nice, low-key weekend.


It rained for most of the weekend, which I found relaxing and Mason found totally unacceptable.


I tried to distract him…


But he kept ending up here.


Poor kid.

As for me, I finished writing and prepping a prenatal workout that I’ll be sharing later this week.


I also got the official go-ahead to start studying for my Fit for Birth pre/post-natal fitness training certification. More on that soon!



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex @ Alex Runs For Food April 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm

OMG so scary! You did the right thing by giving him the epi!!!! Allergies are very scary, you can be fine eating something one day and the next day be allergic! Or you can have an allergic reaction of just redness and next time have respiratory distress. They are so tricky to figure out. Don’t let yourself get to discouraged! You have it figured out and are doing great. You knew exactly what to do in the hectic situation! When an allergy causes respiratory distress don’t bother calling an on call nurse go to the ER. All the nurse is going to tell you is to go to the ER :)
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Kim April 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Good point. For some reason I just didn’t trust myself to make the final decision. It seemed like such a big deal. Next time, I’ll go with my gut right away!


Jade April 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I know I’m late to this but wow, that would be a very scary moment!! We have been lucky for no allergies here, but we have to have one at work in our first aid kit, but still my heart goes out to you!
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Kim April 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Thank you Jade :) I’m glad you don’t have to deal with it!


Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate April 15, 2014 at 8:35 am

Oh my gosh…sorry, Kim. I can’t imagine! The good thing is everyone (including yourself) is feeling much better today, right?! Food allergies are so weird!!
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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome April 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Oh my I’m so sorry that happened Kim! I so feel for you all! Hopefully he eventually grows out of his allergies. I have a friend who’s daughters food allergies have gotten a little better as she’s aged. Fingers crossed you experience the same :-)
Can’t wait to hear about your Fit for Birth Certification!
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Kim April 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

My fingers are SO crossed for that! This is such a tough way for him to live, and it’ll only get harder as he gets older.


Nicolette April 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I am so sorry you went through that scary situation. It sounds like you did everything you were supposed to. You’re such a good mom! I am a pediatric ICU nurse and my 2 year old son also has food allergies (not to the extent Mason has) and we are suspecting his 2 month old sister does too. It is still scary, frustrating and not fair that our little ones have to go through that. And you’re totally right about people who just don’t “get it”. I look like the over protective crazy mom whenever I ask what is in whatever is being served or when I teach all his babysitters how to use the epi pen just in case. I am so glad Mason didn’t have a worse reaction–all because of a brave, smart and quick thinking mama!


Kim April 15, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Thanks Nicolette, it’s so nice to hear from other moms in the same shoes. I always feel so alone! And I’m so, so sorry to hear that you’re suspecting allergies with #2. That’s so frustrating. I’m already worried about it for our second and he’s not even here yet. I just wish we could find some answers and prevent or get rid of these stupid allergies! Hang in there. And thanks for reading/commenting!


Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness April 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Oh man- how scary for you all! I’m glad everything ended up ok, and hopefully you won’t have to experience anything like that again!
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Kim April 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I’m so sorry that Mason (and you) had to go through that last night and that you have to deal with it all the time. I think you are entitled to complain about it – you’re right – it totally sucks for y’all!!! I’m glad that you listened to your gut and made the executive decision to give the shot (even though it was hard for you as a mom). Hopefully this won’t happen at the same level again!
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Katie @ running4cupcakes April 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

oh my goodness – so scary! I am so glad that he is ok!!
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Kristin @ A Mom on the Run April 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Oh gosh, Kim, I’m so sorry! That must have been so scary! I’m glad to hear that Mason is okay. Our oldest dog had allergies when he was younger and I struggled to give him his allergy injections, so I can’t imagine having to do it to one of my babies. Mason’s lucky to have you for his mom!
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Kim April 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Aw thanks Kristin :)


char eats greens April 14, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I’m SO sorry that you had to deal with that this weekend. Poor little guy :(. My heart just goes out to him! Do they have any idea why a baby might have so many allergies to start with? I was so worried about Nia having allergies, but really, I have NO clue if it’s chance, or something causes it? Either way, it shouldn’t happen to anyone. Period. I hope that, that was the first and last severe reaction he ever has! You are a great momma!
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Kim April 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I wish I knew what caused it! We have zero allergies in our family and I was pretty healthy during pregnancy. It’s so tough when people are convinced that they’re caused by something specific, like processed foods, and then they judge for it. I’m just soooo hoping the next one is allergy-free!
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