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Hills, Valleys, and Allergies

Not more than 5 minutes after Jensen was fresh out of his footy pajamas, he announced “This day is boring.”

He’s 3. What does he know of boring?

“Well, small boy, the day is young. We can only go up from here.”

I have to stifle a chuckle, as with this particular one of my offspring treats each moment as if it’s a thrilling roller coaster ride.

And I’m just strapped in for the duration of the ride.

We’ve had a lot of twists and turns of late in the House of Fiddle. And there is one I wanted to share with you, mostly because of all the support I have received over the last 8 months with regards to Jensen’s health issues.

Eight months ago, he was diagnosed with severe food allergies. The list was staggering, and left me with little idea what to feed him. You all jumped in with amazing websites, ideas, and recipes. And most of all, you gave me hope and support. I will never forget that.

In the last month or so, Jensen seemed to have a rather significant setback. It didn’t seem to matter what I was feeding him, he would still suffer from fits of severe itching. So much so, that he was literally ripping his skin to shreds with his own fingers.

And yes, we put socks on his hands and used brightly colored duct tape to secure them (to his pajamas), and called them his “Super Gloves.”

Still he was miserable. Colorful. But miserable.

Last Friday, he saw a different doctor. One that specializes in pediatric allergies. After a lengthy exam, this doctor concluded that food is not the culprit.


Jensen has Atopic Dermatitis (or Excema). This is not news to us. But this doctor has a very different theory about how to treat it.

He interpreted his old blood work to indicate that Jensen may be allergic to eggs, peas, and salmon. (These have all been stricken from his palate for 8 months.) There may be some pollen issues also, so he had Jensen retested. We’ll get those results back in a few weeks.

He recommended that we bathe him for up to 20 minutes, 3 times a day. Afterwards, lightly dry him and slather him with either Aquaphor or Vanicream. Some of the oils we had been using may have been irritating him. He has also prescribed Hydroxyzine instead of an antihistamine.

His skin is so severely dry, that we cannot allow it to go without this heavy duty moisturizer. We’ve also cut back on running the heater. Which in Florida is not a great sacrifice. It has been very dry here lately, which accounts for this appearing seasonal.

And folks, we’re giving this sweet boy pretty much whatever he wants to eat. He has been such a trooper about his diet restrictions. And his eyes LIT UP when we gave him his first cheese stick.

Result: HUGE IMPROVEMENT. After a week, his diet does not seem to affect his skin. Cooking has once again become a joy.

Well, joy may be too strong of a word. But I don’t break down and cry in the kitchen as often.

We’re just thanking God for this development. I don’t know if he’s “grown out” of the other allergies, or they were misdiagnosed. We’re just moving forward. Gratefully.

My heart goes out to all the allergy moms out there. It is heart breaking to see out children suffer, and to feel powerless in helping them.

I have so much more of an understanding and am so much more aware whenever I pack snacks for my kids when they are going to attend a public event. There may be children attending who face life threatening food allergies.

Anyhoo. That’s one of the interesting twists that we’re facing here. I’ll keep you posted as to the results of his testing.

And thank you again for all your support and sweet e-mails checking on my little man.


36 Responses to Hills, Valleys, and Allergies

  • Something that is natural and soothes itches is lavender oil.

    Put it directly on the skin.

    He’ll smell like a girl for about an hour, but it will help.

  • Would olive oil work? When we visited my son and daughter-in-heart in Texas recently, she had a bottle of olive oil on the baby’s changing table. I asked her what that was for and she said that it helps with his dry skin and eczema. Our son also has a very severe itching/eczema problem with his feet and they have discovered that olive oil does the trick. May not work for everyone but we have battled eczema for years in our family. Even took our son to the manicurist to have his hands dipped in a paraffin bath when his hands were so bad.

    Glad to hear Jensen is improving and that you can relax a little in the kitchen!

    • Laurie,
      YES! Olive oil has been recommended by his new doctor as well. Add a little garlic and I could just eat him up! 🙂

  • That is soo wonderful! Wishing you all the best in this.. as a mom with a child with several food issues.. I know it’s got to be an incredible relief to be able to ‘just eat’ again. Yay! So happy for you!

  • We had the same thing happen with my daughter – and I jst realized tht after reading your post. At her one year visit she was diagnosed with dairy allergies. The rashes improved, but did not go away. A friend suggested aquaphor and we tried it and it totally helped. At her two year visit, amazingly her severe dairy allergy had disappeared! Hmmm…

  • The super thik paste made by Eucerin (sp?) is what worked for us. Sometimes I would mix in their anit inch calming lotion as well.

    Sorry bout this. Bummer, I know.


  • Delurking briefly to add a bit…I have eczema. I have tried many lotions but the only thing that has ever worked for ME is A&D ointment, the diaper cream. My eczema will briefly GO AWAY if I am consistent about using it. Smells awful but…..

    • Shannon,

      We’ve used Desitin on his rashes as well. Especially when he gets them on his bottom. He will particularly enjoy going through my archives when he’s older just to see how often I discuss his bottom. I predict therapy.

  • WOW! What a difference another doctors perspective can make. Glad things are getting back to “some” normal. What about Eucerin lotion? Should be in the same place as the Aquaphor. Keep the faith and try to enjoy your time in the kitchen!

  • What great news!! So happy for you, Dee Dee!!

  • Two things: As for the first comment above, I just read on a gDiapers forum that lavender oil may have hormonal effects. (Do a Google search for “lavender oil hormonal.”)

    Two, when Tyler had seasonal eczema (probably related to the indoor heat in the winter), we bathed him in the Aveeno oatmeal bath powder and used Aquaphor immediately after. (His eczema was not severe and he was too young to scratch, so I don’t pretend to know what you’re going through. I just mention the oatmeal bath in case it helps you or other moms reading this. Good luck!

    Wonderful news about the reintroduction of favorite foods.

  • Good to hear! Glad he can start eating regular foods again. (Because my eyes light up when I see cheese sticks, too 🙂

  • Hey, there. We have been down the road you are on and it is a bumpy one. Vanicream has been one of our blessings. One other thing we learned at National Jewish Medical Center (we took our son there when he was 3; this hospital specializes in these kinds of diseases) and they taught us to put wet clothes on him after we put on the Vanicream or steriod cream. We use large tube socks. He takes his bath, puts on his lotion and then pulls on one wet sock over each arm and leg. Then, we put a dry sock on other that. He sits with that on for two hours or sleeps in it. The cool water takes away the itching and it super hydrates the skin. This has made a world of difference for our son. He is now at the point, at age 9, that he does this for himself after each bath.

  • How wonderful. I hope that he has “grown out” of his allergies. My son was diagnosed with asthma when he was 9 months old. When he was about 5, he got real sick and of course the asthma kicked in. We got through that “bout” and to my knowledge has never had another astham attack. So, I guess what I’m saying, is that it is entirely possible that he has out grown it. I hope my granddaughter outgrows her allergies, dairy products being one. And one that really bothers her is pecans. She loves them but can’t eat them. Margie

  • I don’t suffer nearly as much as your son but I have had eczema on my hands since I was very young. To the point where it will crack and bleed if I I don’t keep up with it. I recently discovered Lidex cream, which is by prescription and will literally clear up a patch overnight. You couldn’t use it all over him, but maybe on the bad patches. DO NOT get the generic – it is a greasy ointment that is not the same at all. Good luck!

  • A friend sent me here because I was going through similar things with the allergy induced eczema… I think we may finally have figured it out without having to go through testing our not quite 2 year old – but getting there has been quite the nightmare.

    Our biggest culprit was OxyClean (the regular one, not the OxyClean Free) – we took that out, obviously, and started double rinsing as well. We use hydrocortizone cream for the itching, followed by Eucerine (or an equivalent) to moisturize, and then Aquaphor to seal it all in and protect and heal the chapping). We’re down to doing this once a day now (as we’re into week two of no OxyClean and making rapid progress).

    It’s so nice to have a happy little one whose skin is so soft and kissable again! And it’s nice to know we can all sleep through the night now too… and don’t have to live on Benadryl.

    • Hi Tara!

      And welcome! I wash his clothes separately in Dreft and do a double rinse. I use to make my own detergent for him, I began to feel a little too much like Ma Ingalls. Except for the washing machine and all. 🙂

  • Glad your little one can eat “regular” food again. You’ll be in our prayers as you continue down this road with your little man.

  • Oh, how I rejoice with you that it’s not food. And I can so relate about the contact dermatitis. That’s what’s wrong with my itching freaking eyelids. I am allergic to a chemical called “colophony,” which is basically anything adhesive, plus it’s in mascara, etc. I’m working on purging myself of the chemical in all of its tricky alternate names. Has he been patch tested?

    • Linda,
      He has been blood tested. And his fleet of matchbox cars grows every time he has to undergo the test. Now when he wants a new car, he asks for blood work. 🙂

  • Bless his little heart! And yours, too. I’m so glad that things are looking up.

    I taught elementary school for 9 years and I always felt terrible for the kids with food allergies. When you stop and think about it, it’ll really break your heart.

    I hope Jensen eats a lot of whatever he wants! 🙂

  • Glad to hear he can eat “normally” again!

    Something that helped my son a lot in the battle against excema was creamy petroleum jelly. It’s a lotion you can sometimes find near the Aquaphor. It’s the same main ingredient but it soaks in better and doesn’t leave his skin all oily-feeling.

  • OHHHH! I am SO jealous! To cook only one meal for the entire family!!! What a blessing!

  • So, SO glad to hear your news! Guess his day didn’t end up so boring after all!

  • This actually sounds a lot like icthyosis. The way you described it is exactly the way I would describe my son’s skin. Has he ever been tested for that. It is a genetic disorder. My son has the x-linked version, which often looks like severe from of excema. I am a carrier, my two brothers have it (before they were diagnosed it was thought they had excema) , and my son has it. We are currently bathing every other day, but using Aveeno baby soothing relief lotion 2x a day. We really slather it on, to the point where we have to wait about 20 min to put clothes or pj’s on to let the lotion soak in. He also gets oatmeal baths to help with the itching. It is much, much worse in the winter, especially here in lovely NJ, and in the summer practically disappears, at least for us.


  • What a wonderful feeling it must have been to walk out of that Doctor’s office. Freeing, I’m sure. I’ll surely keep your Jensen in my prayers tonight.

    (I can’t promise past that, as I’m sure that my amazing ability to forget things like this has not diminished. Horribly enough.)

  • I would definetely do a Hallelujah dance if cheese was forbidden and then on the menu again!!

  • Is it warm enough for him to go swimming in the ocean where you live? I was reading another person’s blog, and they found their daughter’s eczema completely cleared up with a week over Christmas vacation in Puerto Rico, swimming in the ocean every day. Apparently (according to to a pediatrician I know) these skin things can develop an infection so maybe the salt water helped to clear that up. Sometimes antibiotics help.

  • My husband developed an allergy to eggs and laundry detergent a few years ago (the result of taking Organic Chemistry in college), so I feel your pain. Egg allergies are serious, and you don’t outgrow those, but with better food labeling today, it’s not too hard to make sure we’re safe. Going out to eat is a challenge, but we made sure we’re well-educated about what foods are typically prepared with eggs, mayo, etc. As far as the detergent, I only use Cheer powder, and recently, I found some dye-free, fragrance-free Cheer powder that is great. I don’t use dryer sheets and I can’t use color-safe bleach on his clothes unless I run them through the rinse cycle at least twice, if not more, depending on the fabric. It was exhausting at first, trying to get into the groove of checking labels and washing his clothes separately, but it gets easier with time. So hang in there! I’ll be praying for you and your sweet boy.

  • Oh, and I think I buy out Wal Mart’s supply of Aquaphor when I run out at home. I love that stuff… we use it on everything!

  • I have a daughter with mild excema that seems to come on in the winter with the drier air. We’ve never had her tested before, just apply hydrocortizone cream on the break-outs, and try to make sure she uses the lotions I’ve made every day. Straight shea butter is a wonderful (and natural!) moisture barrier for those who aren’t allergic to latex.

  • You know, during my bout with food issues (TWO YEARS), one thing I thought the whole time was, goodness gracious, how much harder it would be for the kids.

    Now wasn’t that encouraging?

    I know how much work it is to pack separately and to not eat out and the isolation blah blah blah…

    Glad to hear some good news. 🙂

  • Wow. What a relief you must feel! We had a rough patch today when we waited for the car to get finished at the shop–we waited at Dairy Queen because there wasn’t anywhere else, and Baby had to sit and watch Brother and Sister eating ice cream, and Papa eating french fries, and for a minute or two, she just couldn’t take it. Then I offered her a straw for her “ice cream milk” (milk with sugar and vanilla in it), and a couple of french fries, because there was no corn oil, only soy, and she hasn’t had any soy exposure for weeks, and she happily drank her milk, and ate her two fries and just got over it! Such a trooper!

  • My oldest daughter has eczema and we have been prescribed every type of cream you can think of. But what we have found to work the best is not a precription at all. It’s Cetaphil cream (found with the cold cream). It’s really thick and we slather it on her several times a day. That, along with her allergy medicine seem to be helping finally. 🙂
    I’m glad Jenson can eat some regular ol’ food. I know you are too. 🙂