Lulled into a false sense of security

2 Dec

I met a mum a few weeks ago who keenly told me her kid has allergies and eczema. I was happy to have found someone who would just instantly understand our world. She spoke with such certainty and with such enthusiasm about her girl’s allergies that I was lulled into a false sense of security, thinking she was knowledgable about allergies and I’d need to explain nothing at all to her.

Hmm. I met with her today and she offered Adam the same snack her girl was eating, which was really sweet and generous of her. Just that the snack turned out to be a fruit and nut flapjack. Her girl’s hands obviously had touched the flapjack and before I had realised what was going on her girl had already touched our pram and was touching Adam’s face and hands. It took me so long to react because I was in utter disbelief that a mother who had spent so long talking about her girls allergies like they were the most serious thing in the world had just offered my two year old nuts to eat.

Later on in the afternoon it turned out her girl didn’t actually have any allergies just a dairy intolerance she grew out of by the time she was 3 years old. Her only symptom had ever been eczema.

Looking back, the most irritating thing in retrospect was the way my friend said “he will be fine” about Adam once I finally got my butt into gear with wet wipes and antihistamines.  She had no clue what was going on and should have just stayed quiet.  One of the things I find most frustrating is dealing with people who profess knowledge on a topic and spout opinions on issues they know so little about.

In hindsight, it was of course not the wisest of ideas to give the antihistamine as Adam did end up putting his fingers in his mouth.  So if he was going to go into a severe reaction to the trace amount of nuts transferred from the other girls hand, the antihistamines would have masked that reaction initially.  (This is why our allergist advises against taking Adam to a party where there is lots of food around- to make him comfortable we’d have to give him antihistamine, but the risks of him actually getting something on his lips or in his mouth are too great, but we wouldn’t know about possible anaphylaxis as the antihist would be masking it until potentially it would be too late.)

I’m angry at myself for naively trusting someone who proclaimed great familiarity with allergies. I’ve since decided to just be explicit about Adam’s allergies (including his contact allergies) and really not worry about coming across as ‘over cautious’ or whatever else I was worried about!

Have you had been in situations where you’re left speechless or angry at yourself for naively trusting someone like this?  Have you had a phase where you were a bit reticent in explaining exactly what your child can and can’t touch or eat because you don’t want people to think you’re over-cautious?  I’d love to hear your experiences, particularly if you’ve been dealing with an allergic child for much longer than I have!




2 Responses to “Lulled into a false sense of security”

  1. Madison May 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Er.. my in laws! I could go on, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you one anecdote. Recently on holiday, my husband asked his mum to remember to wash her hands after she’d eaten her fruit cake. She went off on one. Her exact words were ” This isn’t a holiday, it’s TORTURE!” and stormed out the room. So basically she sees it as torturous having to wash her hands to keep her grandson alive.

    Enough said!

    Madison xxx

    • allergickids May 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your anecdote. Its very similar to what one close family member says when we visit her house. When I mention the things that need to be done to keep Adam safe and comfortable, she says I’m ‘terrorising’ her! She still does those things but keeps saying throughout our visit that she is being ‘terrorised’. Strangest thing in the world!

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