Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Duh Moment

My oldest suffers from seasonal allergies. Or, at least I think he does. He gets colds that don't go away and don't appear to be contagious. I've tried all of the over-the-counter allergy medicines and nothing seems to make any difference. When I asked one doctor about whether or not he has allergies she said, "give him allergy medication and if it goes away, it's allergies". So I continue to try different brands. I'll freely admit: I'm not a fan of taking medication every day. So, I'll give him something for a number of days, it doesn't make a difference, so I stop and there's probably a possibility I'm not giving it to him long enough. Said child also wears glasses. At his last eye doctor appointment, the eye doctor said something along the lines of "I see you have seasonal allergies". At least now I have confirmation that the relentless colds are truly allergies. He gave me some eye drops for allergies. In my mind, these won't have side effects so I'm pretty happy with this 'treat the allergies with eye drops' idea. Enter the 6-year-old whose only experience with eye drops was for pink eye and they stung. Fail!

Sometime in March his allergies kicked in again and this Spring has been the worst so far. All the crap gets stuck in his throat/sinuses. And, it is GROSS! He is constantly making this clear the throat/snotty/mucusy/coughy sound and I'm about to lose my mind! Now I'm yelling at him to blow his nose constantly. I'm harassing him for not blowing the junk out. I can't help it. It's like nails on the chalkboard. He already doesn't feel great and now I'm yelling at him. Splendid. Then, due to the stuck junk, he gets a double ear infection. In addition to the antibiotics, the doctor tells me to keep up with the Allegra indefinitely (which was the thing I was currently trying...again) and give him Mucinex for 2 days to clear the junk. I followed orders. Ear infection is gone, but other than that there is no change, not after 2 days, not after 2 weeks, not after a month. I took him off the Allegra and there is no difference. He's still hacking with the best of them...on it or off.

In life we sometimes have "a-ha" moments. You know, those moments when something profound hits you and in some cases, alters your thinking or changes your life. I feel like I had a "duh" moment in this instance.  During a playdate a good friend was talking about a new book she's reading and how all illness stems from the gut. I've written before about said child's food allergies when he was an infant. The biggest issue for him was milk, aka all dairy products. I began to make connections between the "allergies" and milk products. For instance, the allergies started around the same time his school started allowing string cheese as a school snack. He's eating 3-4 cheese sticks a day! He also eats a turkey and cheese sandwich most lunches and has a glass of milk at dinner. This poor kid has already displayed a propensity for a milk sensitivity and he's eating it like there's no tomorrow! DUH!

Reality check: I don't want to be too inconvenienced by taking him off milk. We have an upcoming vacation and this will force us to be very conscientious of where and how we eat. Also, school is almost out and it will be much easier to do this over the summer. So my plan was to wait a few weeks before diving in. It takes 2 weeks to get things out of your system, but I can limit things and then really go full-force when its more convenient. However, he woke up the next morning with that cough that sounds like a seal bark and immediately I found myself buying almond milk in the grocery store at 6 AM! It has been 5 days since I have eliminated milk (this includes cheese, whey and butter) from his diet. He is not clearing his throat as often and it doesn't sound as nasty as it did. My husband, who is somewhat skeptical, even commented on it last night. But time will tell for certain. So far as I can tell, pollen and other causes of seasonal allergies are still rampant so if he is truly clear after the 2 weeks, we will know.

I'm also giving up the dairy. In support of him, so that he's not the only one in the house not allowed to eat certain things, and also because I have this oh-so-lovely muffin top that I cannot seem to get rid of no matter how hard I work out. When said child was an infant and I had to cut all the allergens out of my diet, I was skinnier than I've ever been. I want to figure out if milk is the big contributing factor to my weight issue for my particular body type. I will keep you posted!