Chapter One (2016 – March 2017)

For fifteen yeas of his life, Joshua did not have food allergies. He was diagnosed with asthma at age three, and has been on asthma medication ever since. He has a constantly runny nose, too.

In January 2016, Joshua developed hives. With hives, it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause: is it environmental? food-related? detergent or soap? clothing? animal dander?

It was the day before a forensics tournament, so I gave him some Benadryl that night and hoped for the best. The next day, we were out of town, in a hotel, and it was the first night before the tournament. He woke up at midnight with hives. He used Benadryl cream to help the itchiness and eventually they went away.

I did call in the next morning to ask for the major stuff, because we were out of town, I didn’t know how bad this could get or how persistent, and we were at a tournament. So he started a dose of prednisone.

After that, he developed hives off and on for months. Whenever he exercised, the hives would return. Certain clothes would elicit hives. It was a mystery.

Finally, after some deduction, we started to suspect dairy. He took dairy out of his diet for a couple of weeks, and then reintroduced it. Sure enough, the hives most definitely returned. By the time it was summer, we knew it was likely dairy. He took dairy out of his diet, and eventually his hives got better. He turned 15 last February, and up until then, he had enjoyed ice cream, pizza, cheese, yogurt, all kinds of dairy and no other food restrictions. Now, all of a sudden, he was allergic.

But, he’d snitch here and there, thinking he could eat a little and it would be ok. Do you know where we are now, a  year later in March 2017? No snitching. Even that tiny amount, which he was able to get away with earlier, is invoking a hives response.

Now, he has taken dairy completely out of his diet, but his hives returned a few weeks ago. We were on a hike over a week ago, and he developed hives all over his upper body, arms and neck. We had to stop and go back home. Benadryl cream (which he now has to carry everywhere he goes) helped. But that is just one instance: he has been having break-outs at all times, any time.

We have another mystery on our hands. Is it food-related? If so, we are suspecting, as of now, wheat, almonds, or eggs. Or is it environmental? One thing is the same: exercising brings out the hives, as well as certain types of shirts. Interestingly, the symptoms are the same as last time (hives, and what brings out the hives). But the hives also appear at odd times, as well.

Joshua is also now scheduled for an IgE blood allergy test soon (to test for food and nut allergies and some environmental allergies). We will see what shows up.

So, that is Joshua’s story. This is certainly not the direction we want things to be heading! I’m asking “why” all of a sudden is he developing food (or possibly other) allergies? There is, of course, much to learn.