When I tell you that my child CANNOT have milk, it doesn’t mean that I’m a crazy freak convinced that cow’s milk is for baby cows only.
When I tell you that my child cannot have milk, it means, that she canNOT HAVE MILK because it can actually KILL HER WITHIN HOURS!
She has a milk protein allergy. She’s not lactose intolerant and she will not get a mild tummy ache after drinking a glass of milk. For her, it’s enough to encounter few drops of food which contains “some” milk ingredient and she might develop an overall reaction – anaphylaxis, which is life threatening if not treated immediately and correctly.
No, she cannot have lactose free things and it’s not enough to remove milk containing ingredient from her plate. There can be absolutely NO cross-contamination of the surface she touches or of the food she’s eating. Just FYI, she cannot have eggs, nuts and bee products either.
It happened yesterday…
She was with my friend who gave her very safe, lactose free cocoa mixed with water. She even washed the cup twice beforehands so there were no traces left from its previous use with milk.
My daughter drank the cocoa, considering it was safe, but started to feel a little unwell. Grandma picked her up and took home (5-10 mins after drinking the cocoa). Ela didn’t want to say anything, but she was feeling worse and worse. She started losing her voice as if she had a sore throat. Her nose got blocked, her cheeks turned red and she started to feel feverish. Shortly after, she vomited everything she ate that day and tons of mucus came out of her. My mum rang me that Ela isn’t well and that Niko (her little brother) said that she’s had a cup of cocoa WITHOUT MILK, only mixed with water. I rushed to her as fast as I could.
I thought that it must be just a mild tummy ache she’s got, if cocoa was just a pure cocoa mixed with water, there’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure she will be ok by the time I get there.
It was much worse than I expected
I arrived within 15 minutes after receiving the phone call and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my little girl and when I saw what came out of her. But I thought that it’s all over. It’s happened before and when she vomited, she felt better almost instantly and went back to her normal self, being happy, playful little girl. But this time, she was just sitting on my lap, saying (with a lot of effort) that she feels better but was complaining about her nose and throat. I gave her antihistamin pill prescribed by her doctor and 5 minutes later I gave her another one as I realized that it’s not as good as I thought it would be by now. I was somewhere between calling an ambulance, rushing her to the hospital or waiting for the pills to start working. But somewhere in my brain I was denying that whole situation. I refused to believe that this is happening. She had no wheezing on her chest and started to feel better (for real, not just saying “I feel better, mum”) 20 minutes after having the pills. Her colour went back to normal, she wanted to play and was very excited that she can use 1 of her nose-holes now as it’s getting unblocked.
Needless to say how terrible I felt and how I still feel when I’m writing this lines… I want to hide in the corner and cry. Because I realize that she’s in danger everyday, everywhere she goes and I can’t always be there to protect her.
Tell me that it isn’t happening
I couldn’t believe that it was happening when it was happening and I blame myself for not taking it more seriously at the time. It’s just now when I realize how much worse it was than her last incident which happened 2 years ago. These reactions often get worse each time they happen. Her body is building up “immunity” to the allergens and every time when she encounters it, her confused immune system is faster and more aggressive in response. So what my friend did by giving her the cocoa if “nothing serious” happened? She pushed her closer to a life threatening situations. Luckily I was there soon enough to give her double dose of her medicine to stop the reaction.
Next time something similar happens, she won’t get through without her epi-pen. But will I be there when it happens? Will someone else judge the situation and symptoms fast enough to give her medical help that she needs?
I’m really worried. I haven’t slept all night as I was checking up on her every few minutes. People don’t realize that REAL SEVERE ALLERGIES exist, they don’t know how to distinguish and treat the symptoms. Even I don’t know. But the worse part is that they don’t believe you when you tell them that she has a bad food allergy. They give her something they don’t even have the label from anymore, with listed ingredients and allergens. Assuming that it’ll be fine, it can’t be that bad, right? She’ll only have a tiny bit of it. No one will notice.
I try to avoid reading negative news to have a better chance to think positively. But you can’t avoid everything and I have read or heard several stories with a tragic ending caused by a food allergy. I don’t want her to be the next tragic story…
Please, if you want to help:
- Increase your own awareness about allergies, anaphylaxis and symptoms.
- Always ask parents if a child CAN eat what you want to offer, no matter how much convinced you are that it must be safe. If my friend’s had asked, I would have asked back, does it have a list of allergens on the label? She would have said: I don’t have a label anymore. So clearly, I wouldn’t let her give it to her.
- If someone tells you “I have a food allergy,” please take it more than seriously. I know that it must be disappointing when you put in all your effort and then find out that this person doesn’t have any severe allergy and is having “occasional treats” containing the allergen which don’t cause him any harm. But by being strict in this issue, you can save someone’s life.
Please, help me to protect my precious baby.
I’m off to cry my eyes out as kids are not around to see me now. Byebye.