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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Allergic Reaction?!?

10:30 am: Willy tells me he itches. I take a look and see some mosquito bites on his arms and legs. A bit excessive, but it has been rainy and this is Wisconsin. Granted, I hadn't seen any mosquitoes yet, but... I kiss him on the forehead, and tell him to cover up and try not to scratch. Granted, not the greatest advice, but they're mosquito bites, right?
11:30 am: Alex's therapist tells me Willy is scratching. I take a look and the mosquito bites have gotten bigger. A lot bigger. Mosquito bites, for those who may be unaware, look like small, puffy bumps on the skin with a little prick in the center...and they itch. I hadn't checked for the little prick. But, now I do and do not see any little pricks. Just big puffy patches...that itch. After looking in our cupboards, I find we have no anti-itch supplies. So, I head off to the pharmacy, find that 90% of the available anti-itch products contain either zinc products or lydocaine...both of which Willy is allergic to. So, I choose three of the remaining products and try the first kind, which relieves some of Willy's itchiness.
12:30 pm: Willy's therapist comes over and tries to engage Willy in some play therapy. Willy isn't having any of it, so I try to help. Willy says he hates his therapist, which we all know he doesn't. After about a half an hour of dragging a pillow and blanket around, we decide Willy can rest. Luckily the therapist also works with Alex, who was scheduled next. By now Willy's rash is getting visibly larger within five-minute intervals and I'm definitely concerned.
1:10 pm: Willy wants to talk to Noni (grandma) so I call her. I talk to her as well; she says if it gets any worse to take him to the doctor. I'm thinking, "Duh." I talk to Willy about the doctor, whom he continues to fear due to the whole ear-wrestling thing. He cries; I wait.
1:20 pm: Willy screams! "I burn!" He says it over and over again. Now the rash is spreading visibly...no time delay. I pick him as he is and head for the door.
1:30 pm: We make it to the emergency room where Willy tells the nurse, whom he names Nurse Nellie, that he wants his shot now. We wait about twenty minutes before we see a doctor, which is a family record for speedy emergency room visits.
2:15 pm: Willy gets him shot. Within minutes he's feeling better. What does the doctor tell us? "It's an allergic reaction?" "Yes, but to what?" "Well, it's hard to say. But it's allergic reaction, not poison ivy or anything like that."

Willy is now doing fine. Along with the shot we got a bottle of Bendadryl type stuff, and it cleared up more and more with each dose. So, he's better. But, it begs some questions:

How is poison ivy not an allergic reaction? What is the good of knowing it was an allergic reaction if you have no idea what it was a reaction to? Wouldn't you think knowing what it was an allergic reaction to would be important considering the severity of the reaction? It took three hours for it to go from small bumps to an all-over-the body screaming painful nastiness. I want to know what it was!!! Does that seem so unreasonable?


At 6/17/2006 3:39 PM, Anonymous And Another Thing said...


Our 14-year-old climbed into some poison ivy a while back...it drove him nuts as it usually does, but I read up on it as I was curious.

The oil on the leaves is what causes the reaction. Although nasty/itchy, it is topical. I think that may be why the Dr. said it wasn't poison ivy because what you describe Willy going through was some sort of systemic reaction.

He either breathed or ate something that ticked off his immune system. My daughter had excema and it was a nightmare. If she drank milk you could see her skin turn red like a thermometer.

I'm not a doctor but went through enough parenting nightmares to know that you have to be your own detective sometimes, and you don't always get the answers you need.

But, if the rash was all over, I would try to determine what, if anything, Willy ate or drank that he hasn't before.

Sorry I can't be any help on this. Let me know if you find out anything definitive.

At 6/17/2006 5:23 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you. That was very helpful, actually. One of the big changes, was my very own Lazy Mormon mowwed the lawn, that had been three feet high. We kind of figured it was something back there that ticked him off, but he hadn't seemed to be playing with the grass and weed clippings. Knowing that he can just breathe it in and have a reaction definitely helps. Now, should the doctor have mentioned that? Yep, probably, but then again quality care is not what it used to be.

At 6/17/2006 9:06 PM, Blogger Lisa Renee said...

My oldest son went thru the same experience. Turned out he is allergic to red dye #5. He had eaten two containers of peaches at school that had the added coloring in them to make them more attractive. Though at the time we had no idea what caused the hives. The next breakout happened over gatorade so I did some detective work and purposely gave him a small amount of more gatorade. Hives...

There could have been several allergens that cutting the grass could have released, I'd wait a few days and see if there are any unusual weeds/plants in the yard. Since cutting grass especially if there are weeds in it releases oils it could have been oils from a weed that caused the reaction.

Or...you may never know what caused the reaction, especially if it never happens again.


At 6/17/2006 11:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

"Or...you may never know what caused the reaction, especially if it never happens again."

Here's to hoping!

Willy's allergic to red dye #40, too, but that just makes him hyper and gives him headaches. Though, now he's throwing up, but not hives, so maybe he's not quite over it all yet, either. Or maybe he's got a new sick to make him miserable.

At 6/19/2006 9:12 AM, Blogger historymike said...

Poison ivy IS an allergic reaction. Perhaps your physician assumes that, since most people exhibit the telltale symptomology, it's not a "real" allergy.

I, for one, am a person who is highly allergic to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Most of the world gets a nasty rash that clears up rather quickly, but I get the most grotesque-looking skin eruptions that linger for weeks.

I can catch it if someone is burning the ivy a half-mile away.

The last time I had a serious case, my eyes swelled shut. I had apparently chopped some ivy with my weed eater, and got a few particles on my hands. I then wiped some sweat from my face, thus spreading some oil on my eyelids.

I had to go to the ER and get a corticosteroid injection just to open my eyes.

Glad that your son is better. When they are that young it is hard to get them to follow the "don't scratch" advice.

At 6/19/2006 11:30 AM, Blogger David Schantz said...

Internet Goblins just ate a very long comment, so I'll just say I'm glad to hear Willy is doing better.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

At 6/21/2006 7:14 PM, Blogger Do I have to??? said...

Hey beautiful. thanks for the help love ya. Im glad willies doing better. and about the male therapist is that the one that I met before? or a different one?

At 6/23/2006 1:24 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...


And maybe that's the distinction he was making... If he was reacting to poison ivy he was reacting in a more total manner (like you do -- OUCH!) then is typical. I don't know.


"Internet Goblins just ate a very long comment..."

I hate it when that happens. Ick. If I could hunt those nasty goblins down I would, but, hey, I can barely use HTML at this point!

Thank you for all your well-wishes.

At 6/23/2006 1:24 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Do I have to..?

It's a different one. He's new, and he's engaged!

Welcome to the blogosphere, beautiful!


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