Monday, February 25, 2008

The Tell-Tale Runny Nose

Do you have a child that has a constant runny nose , ear infections, eczema or coughs? Most of the time, if not all of the time, this is an indications of allergies. Ask yourselves these questions: Did the symptoms start shortly after the introduction of solid foods or formula? Does your child crave a certain food? Does your child have irregular stools, colic or gas? Does your child have a hard time sleeping at night? These are just a few of the signs of allergies that may be wreaking havoc on your little ones bodies, and bigger ones too. Allergies don't just affect the nose and eyes, they affect the brain and how we act. They affect our temperament and our attention span. To find out what foods are triggering the problems, you must start an elimination diet. This isn't so easy but can be done and the benefits are tremendous. If allergies are left untreated, new allergies can form. I found this out the hard way with my little guy. By the time we had him tested, he was allergic to so many small things that feeding him seemed impossible. After removing the offending items for 6 weeks, we were allowed to slowly introduce foods back, one by one to test for a reaction. With allergies, the body becomes inflamed and starts to create new allergies. If you remove the problems, the body heals and the food may not be an allergen any more. There are certain foods that are high allergen triggers. What you need to do is start with this list. Completely remove these items from their diet for at least a week . This means not even a trace so you need to check labels and brown bag it to school. This is definitely harder with the older ones. At least start with the first two allergens and see if that helps. If at all possible , eliminate the whole list. If you can, do so for six weeks, especially on a younger child. Add one item back at a time. Feed that food to them all day, see if the nose starts to get runny and if they are irritable. If not, chances are that this is not the problem. Start a new food the next day. Make sure to keep the foods on separate days so you can chart what is causing the problem. There are definitely environmental allergies also and those can be tested by allergist pretty easily but food is more apt to cause the constant runny noses. Here is the top offending list:

Dairy product, everything from butter, yogurt, formula, etc
Wheat, even in gravies, crackers, soy product, read the labels!
Soy, 25% of children with milk allergies develop soy allergies

This elimination process can be done, it is so worth it but must be done very strictly. You can save them from so many future problems if you nip the problem in the bud now.


julie said...

Oh my gosh. I am holding my breath. You just described my children. I haven't slept in six years. My kids are horrible sleepers, and the two youngest always have a runny nose and cough. My baby slept through the night until I gave him solids. My two year old has horrible constipation and allergies to peanuts and beans. I am scared!

Margo said...

Hi Shari... I came across your blog today. I have been wanting to do an elimination test for awhile. I tried once when my 18 month old was an infant and suffering from reflux but gave up because I didn't know what to feed our family! Do you have a resource for recipes that do not contain this list, and food ideas?