Common Misconceptions about Allergy Children

I don’t know about other allergy parents, but we have had to deal with a lot of misconceptions with regards to allergies over the last 4 years from people who really don’t know what they are talking about where allergies are concerned.  Some of those were even health professionals!

When she was a newborn I was told by the health visitor that my daughter’s infected eczema was cradle cap, and if I moisturised it like she kept telling me it would go away.  I worked on it every day and it didn’t improve until we got a dairy allergy diagnosis at the age of 5 months.

After Anya was diagnosed with a dairy allergy the same Health Visitor told me that I shouldn’t give up dairy as there was no evidence that the milk protein passed from mother to baby in breastmilk.  I thought about alcohol passing through to babies in breastmilk, read up a little and decided to ignore her advice.  Three days later the terrible yellow and green cradle cap was much improved and by the time she was 6 months old her skin was loads better.  This one still seems to be doing the rounds and it really isn’t true, there are lots of mothers who have said what a noticeable improvement there was after an elimination diet.

When we weaned I gradually introduced foods and found that a few caused bad bowel movements or sickness: tomatoes, melon, mango, swede.  I thought they were just intolerances and reintroduced most of them later, but was often told by family or friends that you can’t be allergic to fruit and vegetables or asked “is it normal for children to be allergic to so many things?”  Yes it is normal, the cross reactivity study currently in progress from CAN Research has shown that children can pretty much be allergic to anything and that very few of them (at a young age anyway) reacted to one allergen only.

Now I am a member of the Children’s Allergy Network (CAN) Facebook Group the two I read most often and are the most annoying is that that lactose intolerance and cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) are one and the same thing.  They are not, lactose is a sugar, lactose intolerance is usually caused by the body’s inability to break the sugar down as it lacks enough of the enzyme lactase.  CMPA differs as it is an immune response to protein in cows milk, causing an increase in histamine in the body.

Finally, the big one that a lot of people complain about is the refusal of many health professionals to acknowledge non-IgE allergies as anything more than intolerances.  I have covered this before, but to summarise, food intolerance is a general term used to describe a large group of reactions including toxic, metabolic, pharmacologic or other undefined allergic reactions.  Non-IgE mediated allergies refer to immunological reactions only, they generally occur over a longer period after ingestion and most often (though not always) affect the gastro-intestinal system.

I am sure many of you have heard other things said about your children’s allergies, I would love to hear them, please feel free to comment and share.

If you think you would benefit from support from equally frustrated allergy parents you can join the closed group (somewhere safe to rant about your family and friends where they can’t read it) –

This entry was posted in Atopic Disease, CAN - Children's Allergy Network, Eczema, Food Allergy, Milk Allergy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Common Misconceptions about Allergy Children

  1. Oh gosh such a lot of rubbish spouted out there about allergy. More than anything I just wish someone had put two and two together before our baby had his first allergic reaction. All the warning signs were there: bad eczema from two months old, awful scarlet red rash all over, nether of which would go with treatment, a Dad with an EpiPen so atopy definitely in the family… we were told by one health visitor to use almond oil (!) – thank god we didn’t follow her advice – by another to ‘find some black soap, apparently it works’ (che?) and not once did anyone ask us about family history of allergy. If we’d known, we wouldn’t have sat holding him chomping on egg sandwiches and peanut butter on toast. Grrr. On another bizarre note a health visitor actually shouted at me for eating honey while breastfeeding as it was “dangerous”.

    • Auntie Jems says:

      I started a post on this in a Facebook group and the response was massive, if I wrote about our combined experiences this post could have been 10 times the length!

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