Nathan’s Mumma says….
Nathan doesn’t like cake, or biscuits, or pasta. He’s a fussy eater, or so we thought. Turns out Nathan has an egg allergy. I hadn’t given Nathan any actual egg during the weaning process as I have an allergy to raw egg so I was super cautious with him. We don’t eat egg much anyway so it was never really an issue or a consideration.
Fast forward to our holiday in May this year (2014) and we were on a mission to expand Nathan’s diet, feeling he was a bit stuck in a rut of chips/waffles and meat in various guises (at this point Nathan also refused to eat vegetables of any kind). With myself, my husband and my parents we agreed that we could give Nathan tastes of what we ordered, within reason, and see what he took to.
We went to the pancake and waffles house one morning and as I had already tried Nathan with pancakes and waffles at home (to no avail) we ordered him a sausage omelette (sausage being one of his favourite foods). Nathan ate all the sausage with and tried a piece of omelette the size of my thumb nail or a 20p piece.
Almost immediately he became quite agitated, it was noisy in the restaurant and it was close to nap time, so my mum took Nathan outside to try to distract him with the ducks on the water. Within a couple of minutes they returned, Nathan pale and clammy. He was developing white spots around his mouth and had a raspy voice. Mum, who works in the NHS, insisted on taking him to the medical centre next door and I naturally went too. One look at my rapidly deteriorating son and they whisked us in to see the nurse.
The staff immediately gave Nathan a dose of antihistamine syrup, set up a nebulizer and then decided to administer an epi-pen. This is a routine way of giving a dose of adrenaline to someone in order to calm their system down from the reaction they’re having. In our case the epi-pen failed to eject the dose of adrenaline, so the nurse drew up a dose in a traditional needle and syringe. Unfortunately Nathan was getting worse still as the antihistamines didn’t touch him. They used the nebulizer and then oxygen as we waited for the paramedics and an ambulance to take us to hospital. His oxygen saturation levels weren’t particularly great, not surprising given his difficulty breathing. The staff were great and the ambulance staff fantastic. Within about 10 minutes Nathan’s breathing began to improve, and he started to pink up again.
They loaded us up in the ambulance and took us to West Sussex hospital, where we were met by the pediatric nurse who took us into a side room with some toys. By this point the adrenaline etc had worked wonders, as had his little ambulance-ride nap. He was quiet but ok. We were taken up to the children’s ward to see a doctor and an allergy specialist who just happened to be working that day.
Before we left A and E the nurse attempted to check if the epi-pen had discharged or not so we would know exactly how much adrenaline Nathan had received. Standing over the sink she clicked the epi-pen needle straight through her thumb!
The allergists we saw that day gave us lots of information sheets about avoiding egg and egg products, he prescribed an epi-pen junior and antihistamine syrup (which took hours literally to get dispensed by the hospitals pharmacy). Nathan by now was back to his usual self, all be it a quieter version. We were advised to contact out GP as soon as we got back home for a referral for allergy tests (more of that in a subsequent blog).
And so our life now involves meticulously checking every packet of food for egg and egg products before giving it to Nathan. We have to be extra careful at this toddler classes that he doesn’t get his hands on something with egg in. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to want things with egg in…spooky.
I’ll keep a diary type blog going as we venture down this road of life with a severely egg allergic child…how it affects us day-to-day, how other people deal with the allergy, what the allergy tests involved and what they showed, how we go forwards with Nathan’s allergy and with his eating…
It’s all new to us and we’ve already met some new friends because of it…so if your child has an allergy like Nathan please get in touch and know that it’s not just you.
Helpful websites for allergies in general but specifically egg allergy as that’s our frame of reference: