My youngest has had itchy skin for a long time. It took us a while before we realized what we were dealing with. As it turns out it’s often difficult to diagnose kids with food allergies.
The itchy skin cropped up around the same time as our relocation from Calgary to Toronto so we kept blaming the move. Next came the change in weather – Toronto is by a lake with higher humidity, and Calgary, where my little one was born, is dry. Close to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is famous for its dry, cold winters. But even during the coldest of winters, there’s reprieve. Every 6 weeks or so the Chinook winds come in to warm the air as much as 10 degrees C, all in a matter of a few hours. Snow melts, the sun shines and people pull out their summer clothes…..in the dead of winter.Calgary is unique in many ways. So when we moved from Calgary to Toronto the change was drastic, especially on our kids.
New house, new school and living out of suitcases for months, none of that was easy. So when our little one who was two and a half at that time, went from sleeping peacefully through the night to waking every couple of hours, at first we ignored it.
The nights became weeks and months. In that time we tried a lot of solutions – sleep training, changing the bedtime routine, switching rooms, rewards for sleep. Everything we had learnt with our oldest in her toddler years simply didn’t work the second time around.
And every night my little one would cry, “Mom I’m itchy.”
Kids with Food Allergies
Over months after countless visits to the doctor, pediatricians and dermatologists, testing for allergies, and blood tests, we still had no clear results. At the same time, she was being prescribed tons of medicines to make her comfortable, and hydrocortisone creams to layer on. The final straw was when our doctor told us,
“She seems perfectly healthy to me. You’ll have to manage it yourself.”
As if we hadn’t so far…..it was enough to drive a woman to drink! Thankfully in my case, it was coffee!
Managing Itchy Skin
As it turns out kids with allergies are quite tough to diagnose especially if the “reaction isn’t respiratory in nature” (my doctor’s words – not mine).
Caveat: the advice in this article is based on my personal experience. I am not a doctor just a mom on a mission trying to help my family, my youngest, in particular, be more comfortable in her skin. My choices are based on my research and experience. What I am sharing with you today is what has worked for us.
My hubby and I have ascertained 4 reasons why our daughter gets itchy.
- Heat and environmental factors
- Food sensitivities/ or allergies
- Just plain old dry skin but heaps worse than what I have seen in anyone else.
- Anxiety and stress
Sometimes it’s one factor and other times all. Thankfully her allergies aren’t anaphylactic so I have more flexibility in testing remedies on her to gauge their effect. I can’t even imagine what parents go through if their child has life-threatening allergies. Kudos to you if you go through that every day.
There was one other factor I had to keep in mind as we changed our house routine – my daughter’s reaction sets in hours or sometimes a day later. This delayed reaction means I can’t always pinpoint the cause or be sure the remedy has worked. We rely on a whole lot of trial and error to diagnose the cause of the itchy skin.
Before tackling food allergies I started a checklist in my head – I wish I had written it down that time – it would have made our life a whole lot easier.
- Make the home as dust-free as possible using natural agents. I use products that have transparent ingredients, and that work.
- Use as little fragrances around the home as possible. I cook almost every day, twice a day and so to prevent everything from smelling of food I use natural ways to deodorize the air in our home
- We switched to natural, chemical-free laundry detergent especially for my little one’s clothes, and all our bed linen. She was sleeping in our bed after all.
- Throw the box of dryer sheets out. If you live in a dry climate and static electricity is a problem in your home get a humidifier. You can also try turning the dryer off a few minutes before the clothes are done and open the hatch so that they can air-dry. You will have to find the right balance between wet, smelly clothes and static-free but it can work. Hang dry if you can.
- Keep your child cool and dry. That’s my mantra for every season. My daughter’s skin breaks out and gets itchy and so I take a lot of precautions. In summers, I keep her bedroom dark and cool and bring in a de-humidifier if needed. In the winter same rules except that we have a humidifier for her room.
- Try different products, what works for one may not (quite likely will not) work on another. Allergies and sensitivities are very personal and vary even within the same family.
Food Allergies and Itchy Skin
Food plays a big part in causing itchy skin, and it has also been the biggest challenge for us. As I started to look closely at our food, the ingredients, and in particular what my youngest liked the most, there’s a lot I’ve learnt.
It’s possible that the food we love the most may be playing havoc with our system. If you crave it, cut it out.
Could food allergies be the culprit behind poor sleep and crankiness your’s and your child’s?
In our case, it’s a definite yes.