Real quick update:
Sharon was talking to Laura (her sister, Hallie's aunt) yesterday about cousin Adam, who has a horrible case of the sniffles. They're keeping Adam away from Hallie in the meantime, just in case it's a cold, but in passing, Aunt Laura mentioned that Adam's issues were probably related to the recent onset of Ragweed season.
And that brings us to the following intriguing possibility: what food (among others) cross-reacts with Ragweed? Banana.
Fascinating. (I get a lot of this info from the fabulous boards over at POFAK---see link on the left if you have a food-allergic kid and are reading this and are not yet a member. The 25 dollar membership fee is TOTALLY worthwhile). Anyway, after doing a bit of research last night, I emailed our allergist at CHOP, who said that this would not surprise her in the least. Periactin, while a good appetitie stimulant (but one we're not sure is working) is not the best antihistamine out there. She'll email me back (I hope) with recommendations for a different drug or drugs (talk of some kind of nasal inhaler) and the appropriate dosage(s).
Before bed last night and upon waking, I began to think again about our past experiences with Hallie. We were pretty certain back in April/May of 2007 (when Hallie was still shy of one year old) that she was experiencing seasonal allergies, raised this with our pediatrician, and was told by him that this was not possible since she had never lived through an allergy season. Although I retorted that people---including us---probably brought pollen into the NICU on our clothing, this got me nowhere. Life was miserable from April/May until September/October (14 week cold, a couple of brief hospitalizations, a triple scope, failed attempts at antibiotics, three ear infections, then ear tubes). Things got much better when we pulled milk in November, and even better in December and January (when the kid lost weight but went two whole weeks without vomiting). Things remained fairly good unless Hallie was failing foods back in the winter and spring of this year, but there was a rough patch in January when there was unseasonably warm weather and hellishness again when things started growing in earnest in May. June was a bit better, with some rough patches related to her being out of doors and playing in fields (see our post about her vomiting in Olivia's grove, for example). And we were generally pretty okay in July but things got rough again in August, pretty much at the moment Ragweed season got underway here.
OK---so this is my sense of what's going on. The kid has food allergies to some significant things (positive on skin tests for egg, wheat, barley; unquestionable food reactions to cow milk, soy, buckwheat, and rice). She may or may not be allergic to peaches and blueberries (I'd guess not if I were a betting gal, and with Hallie as the subject, there's frankly too much risk involved!). Beef...who knows? But seasonal allergies...yeah, I think we've got those. So the question is what to do about them. Let's hope the allergist (who did after all email me at 7am on a Sunday morning) gets back to us soon. I suspect that we're going to put her on something stronger and my bet is that we end up with another allergy appointment (after allergy season ends, I hope!) that will involve us pulling Hallie off of antihistamines for a little bit and doing a few skin tests for seasonal stuff. I'm all for that. If we can figure out what's going on there, maybe we can figure out the food stuff. And down the road there are always allergy shots for the seasonal stuff should it become unbearable to her...
Alright, that's all for now. But I am relieved to once more be thinking that there are at least times of the year when our banana-loving kiddo can eat (bite small amounts off of) her beloved 'nanas'.