Food Allergy Fact

UP TO 15 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE U.S. HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY

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True Stories - Beth

Beth F.

Food Allergy Mom


Beth’s son Drew, is now 7 1/2 years old. He is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, green beans, peas, and possibly strawberries.

At four months of age, Drew starting getting eczema on his chest, belly, and back. When Drew was six months of age, he had a reaction to something that caused the giant hives/welts all over his body that lasted a few days. His doctor ordered blood tests and Beth soon found out Drew was allergic to milk, peanuts, dog, and cockroaches.

From that moment on, Beth and her husband protected Drew from everything he was allergic to – a complete learning process. To Beth, it seemed no one at that time had kids with food allergies, and she felt alone.

At 16 months of age, Drew tested positive to many things. Every time Beth fed him something, they’d wait for a reaction. One evening, she shared her green beans and peas with him. Drew started wheezing, throwing up, and had hives around his mouth. An antihistamine didn’t stop the reaction, so Beth and her husband took him to the emergency room, where they weren't really sure what he was allergic to, but provided a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector without a thorough explanation of how to use it.

About two weeks later, Beth gave Drew lunch. Her husband was outside talking to a neighbor when he heard her yelling for him from the kitchen window. The eggs she had fed her son were causing a bad reaction. The hives around his mouth started right away, then he was throwing up, and had watery eyes, runny nose, diarrhea, and he was wheezing. Beth called Drew’s doctor and was told to give him antihistamine, which they did as soon as the reaction started. The doctor also suggested an oatmeal bath to calm his skin, but it made it more red and swollen. They decided to take him to the ER, not sure why they had waited so long. As Beth was putting him in his car seat, she looked at her son’s face. Drew's face turned white, his lips turned blue, and he was starting to fall asleep. She yelled for my husband to call 911.

The ambulance staff was wonderful. Beth thanked them when she saw them in her neighborhood about a week after the incident. The doctor told the family he didn't believe it was a food allergy and that it was a viral infection, even though Beth assured him the family had just been at the hospital a couple weeks before with a reaction like this one and had been given a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector. They monitored him for a very short time.

She contacted an allergist and Drew was tested for food allergies. He tested positive to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, peas, green beans, turkey, chicken, and cod – an overwhelming result. During this time, she found a new allergist, the third one they had consulted. Every year, Drew is tested for his food allergies, and every year, Beth is heartbroken to learn that he has yet to outgrow anything, except for the turkey, cod, and chicken, which he outgrew the next year. To this day, he doesn't care to eat any of those things.

Drew has now started elementary school, where his school is wonderful with his food allergies. But there is always that fear that something will happen. But, Beth says, she trusts Drew with his food allergies; he knows what is "Drew safe" and what is not and he doesn’t eat something without asking her or his teacher.

“My son is very smart and I think that is for a reason, for a very good reason!” Beth writes.