Several years ago - like, March of 2006 - Hannah had some kind of allergic reaction which caused her neck to swell up, alarmingly, as if she had a goiter. Swallowing was painful, and her mouth itched. We didn't realize it was an allergic reaction for some time (in hindsight - DUH).
We took her to the ER, where they X-rayed her in case she had swallowed something - she was five at the time, and perfectly capable of telling us if she had, but they ignored her denial. They eventually discharged us, and referred us to our pediatrician, saying that they had no idea what it could be. By that time, we'd pieced together the facts that she'd had a strawberry paleta, a strawberry smoothie, and fresh strawberries that morning, all before noon, and the last strawberry right before she began to complain of a painful mouth.
We went straight to the pharmacy, got some benadryl for her, and she was fine within an hour.
Our pediatrician didn't really seem interested by the story (yes, we have a different doctor now), so we just avoided strawberries as much as we could. When I mentioned it to our new pediatrician, he immediately referred us to a local allergist, who in turn looked very grave and sent Hannah for a RAST test, and prescribed EpiPens for her.
Because we are horrible parents, we delayed getting the bloodwork done for the RAST test for several months. She'd had to have bloodwork done a few times last year for a kidney scare, and she hates the lab, and then it was the holidays, and then the new year...you know how it is. Finally, the weekend before I got the flu, it occured to me that he labs were probably open on Saturdays, which meant that Jesse could take her in. Suddenly, I was motivated to get it over with, since I didn't have to be the evil mom escorting her to the needle once again.
As I think I blogged about at the time, she did great for the test, and we finally got the results back a couple of days ago.
And she does not have a strawberry allergy.
The nurse did say that the test can test false-negative 20% of the time, and to reintroduce the food slowly, so we're cautiously excited - but excited nonetheless. Especially since today is the day that Jesse's classroom makes and sells Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and a good many always seem to find there way home with him. So, tonight, we got out the Zyrtec and the EpiPens and she ate a strawberry. And nothing happened. Woo hoo!!
She did agree with us that she shouldn't eat them if she's not with us, just until we have more history under our belts. This is more to avoid the dread EpiPen that anything else, but that's fine with me.
So now, I wonder - was it the strawberries that day? Was it just the high amounts that did it - more of an intolerance thing than an allergy? Was there some other food at the brunch we were attending that she reacted to? At least we have the EpiPens now, and more awareness of food allergies and how to react to them.
Happy Valentne's Day - I hope that all of your loved ones are safe and sound.