Please note that this information is based on personal experience with baby’s food allergies and should not take the place of the advice of a medical professional. If you suspect your child is having an allergic reaction please seek immediate medical attention.
Our First Experience with Baby’s Food Allergies
I wasn’t exactly sure why, but when my daughter Elise hit six months-old and it was time for her to start eating solids, I was extremely nervous to introduce allergens. I put it off month after month until my doctor reminded me that introducing allergens before your child’s first birthday reduces their chances of developing lifelong allergies. I discussed my concerns and she told me that we wouldn’t know unless we tried. Our families didn’t have a history of food allergies, so there was no reason to continue putting it off.
The next day I decided to take our doctor’s advice to start introducing allergens to Elise’s diet. I knew that peanut butter when served on its own was a choking hazard, so I mixed a teaspoon of peanut butter with two teaspoons of her favourite fruit and veggie puree to thin it out. I plopped her in her highchair and decided to go for it. I placed a spoonful of the mixture into her mouth. She made a happy sound and opened her mouth for more. I gave her another spoonful and waited a few minutes. She seemed fine. I was starting to feel like we were out of the woods. She asked for more and as I was filling another spoon with food something in her eyes changed. I examined her face and saw that her cheeks and underneath her chin were more red than usual. Seconds later, hives began forming and spread across her face.
We had just moved into a new home a few months prior, and proximity to a hospital hadn’t been at the top of my “must haves” list. Whether the home was move in ready, had the correct number of bedrooms and more than one bathroom had been my main concerns. At the time, being twenty minutes away from the closest hospital did not seem unreasonable. Sitting there watching the hives and redness spread like a wave over her face I fell deep into mom guilt. Why the hell hadn’t being around the corner from a hospital been at the top of my list? I have children and emergencies can happen at any time. Shouldn’t a hospital have been more important than an extra bathroom?
And why did I decide to give her a top allergen at home? If I had been smarter I would have driven to a hospital and given her the peanut butter there, that way if she reacted I could’ve just run inside and she would have received immediate attention. Stupid! You stupid, horrible mother!
I grabbed my phone with shaking hands and called 911. I had never had to dial for an ambulance or the police before, I had never been in an emergency. The small red hives were now down her neck and continuing underneath her clothes. Elise was screeching and clawing at the itchy bumps all over her body. Her ears were red and swollen now. What was happening? Were the hives in her throat? Was her throat going to close? Was my baby going to die? I could feel the tears running down my face, but I had to keep it together. She was the one dealing with a medical emergency. I needed to do everything I could to get her through it. She was still screaming, but screaming was good. Screaming meant she could still breathe.
The emergency operator picked up the phone, “Hello 911. What’s your emergency?”
“Hi, I gave my daughter peanuts for the first time and she is having a major allergic reaction. I need paramedics.”
The operator told me the fire department and ambulance was on its way. She asked me to describe what was happening and provide our personal information. I held my baby and began packing up in case we were going to the hospital. She told me to remain calm and asked for updates. She stayed on the line until they arrived. The fire department arrived first, with the ambulance five minutes behind them. The paramedics looked my daughter over and hooked her up to a machine to check her oxygen levels. While they were helping her the allergic reaction began to go down. After an hour had passed since her initial reaction they thought that she was stable and went to head out to their next emergency. Before they left they gave Elise a moose stuffed animal that was wearing a paramedics t-shirt and told me that I did the right thing by calling.
I took Elise upstairs, nursed her, and held her close. I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths. I would call the doctor in the morning and find out if she needed an EpiPen and also ask for a referral to an allergist. While I was just beginning to relax, Elise started squirming aggressively in my arms and making unhappy sounds. I looked down and a fresh batch of hives were making their way around the back of her neck. They were moving fast and soon were on her cheeks and even on one of her eyelids. The angry hives stopped looking like small bumps and started to look more like water blisters. The blister-like hives were getting bigger and bigger and began to merge into super-hives.
My daughter didn’t even look like herself anymore. A blister expanded and took over her eye, it was now swollen shut. She unlatched her swollen lips and began screeching again. NO, NO, NO! Please, not again! I was so confused. Could there have been left over peanut residue in her mouth that was rinsed down while she was nursing? Why was a new reaction happening?
I called 911 again. The paramedics were on their way back. When the same paramedics walked through the door they looked surprised at how much bigger Elise’s second reaction was. They examined her again and told me to grab our bags and put her in her car seat, we were going to the hospital. They strapped the car seat to the stretcher and off we went. Elise was
mesmerized by all of the lights and beeping equipment in the ambulance. She pointed at different items and looked over to make sure I was paying close attention to everything that she was showing me. I nodded and gave her the words for as many items as I could. I told her that she was brave and that I loved her. I told her the hospital was going to make her all better and we’d be able to go back home soon. She seemed very uncomfortable, still itching and unable to see out of one eye.
We got to the hospital and checked in. We were given a room in the ER and then it was a revolving door of nurses and the doctor coming in and out to look at Elise and monitor her. They administered an EpiPen and it worked like magic. Immediately the hives began to disappear, the swelling went down and Elise looked at me in wonder.
I could tell she was starting to feel better too because she started to babble more and was no longer scratching at her skin. They gave her oral steroids and other medication. They told us we would have to stay until it had been six hours from her initial reaction because multiple waves of allergic reactions were possible.
I learned that because Eli had eczema, she was more likely to have food allergies. Apparently food allergies, eczema, and asthma often go hand-in-hand. The first allergic reaction tends to be the most mild, and Elise would require an EpiPen to be with her at all times moving forward. The doctor prescribed one EpiPen for daycare and two for home. The doctor sent the referral to an allergist and advised me to keep her away from products containing peanuts.
We would now have to be diligent about checking food labels moving forward. My head swam with all of this information and all I kept thinking was, “food could kill my baby.” I felt helpless. I may be able to protect her at home, but what about all of the places she could be exposed to peanuts outside of the house: restaurants, school, camp, planes, friend’s and family’s homes. I opened my phone and sent a quick email to the daycare letting them know of her diagnosis.
It’s now been six months since Elise’s first allergic reaction. Our allergist works with us to navigate Elise’s allergy and I’ve had time to come to terms with her diagnosis. We’ve had to feed her other allergens to rule them out. She’s also had allergy appointments, blood tests, skin prick tests, as well as her first oral food challenge. We are currently considering oral immunotherapy, a treatment where the patient is given increasing amounts of the food they are allergic to in order to build up tolerance to it. We are hopeful that this treatment could help keep her safer in life moving forward.
I still feel that her allergy is out of our control, but we are careful to avoid peanuts and I am thankful that modern day medicine and treatments exist. Elise and her peanut allergy are a package deal. We love her the way she is and so we will manage her food allergy and continue to protect her.
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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