Wow. Happy day. I just returned from the allergist with my 2 year old who tested negative for EVERYTHING!
Here’s the thing — in her 2 years of life she has NEVER eaten the following foods: eggs, nuts, peanuts, dairy, soy, shellfish, gluten or avocado. Why? Because I have celiac disease (hence, no gluten) and her older sister is allergic or intolerant to the rest. Daughter #2 eats just like her sister and so hasn’t eaten any of the top allergens. Plus, when I was pregnant and breastfeeding the second time around I did not consume any nuts and cut out dairy and corn while breastfeeding due to difficulties she was having.
Now back up to Daughter #1. No one told me not to eat nuts when I was pregnant. When I started breastfeeding my pediatrician told me not to eat peanuts, so instead I ate cashews. Lots of cashews, handfuls of cashews. Guess what nut Daughter #1 is allergic to… cashews. I also ate a lot of avocado and eggs — I mean, I really ate more than a normal person would. I ate a half of an avocado and a hard boiled egg almost every day. She’s allergic to eggs and was or is allergic to avocado (still testing that one to see if she has outgrown it). I really think, and our allergist agrees, that if someone has the genetics predisposing them to a food allergy, then an overdose (that’s what I am calling it) of that particular food could trigger the food allergy. Nothing has been proven to this end, but I just don’t think it is a coincidence that she is allergic to the very things I ate so much of.
I don’t blame myself — how could I have known? But I wish that I was more aware at that time. I definitely would not have eaten any nuts at all and would have limited my egg consumption, given that these are very common allergens. What I learned from Daughter #1 has benefited Daughter #2. The allergist believes that food avoidance in her early life — not eating or being exposed to the allergenic foods — has paid off. We’ll never know if she is just genetically lucky, unlike her sister, or if controlling her diet is what made the difference.
It’s not like she is going to start eating nuts and eggs and all the rest. We can’t risk that exposure to our other daughter. But when it’s time for her to start school, when she is out of my sight, I don’t have to worry. I have enough to worry about already.
Anyone else out there have one food-allergic child and one not? Do you think it is genetics or environment or both?