An allergy that almost killed #1

#1 has always been the most allergic child among the 6 of them. As a baby, she was allergic to eggs. Every time she ate some eggs, she would vomit or have diarrhoea. We didn’t even know that was an allergic reaction until one day at the supermarket, she reached for an egg and squeezed it. It broke and splashed onto her face. Immediately, her face and palm swelled and we rushed her to hospital. A bit of egg had somehow gotten into her mouth and she had difficulty breathing due to the swelling in her throat. The doctor gave her some injections and the swelling subsided.

Thereafter, she was referred to do a skin prick test to find out what else she was allergic to. As it turned out, she was also allergic to nuts, soy, prawns and wool. The doctor told us that she will probably grow out of her egg allergy at around 7 years of age. She’s now 15, and although she does not have any serious reaction to eggs, she still gets eczema around her inner elbows which becomes very itchy when she eats food containing eggs.

Skin prick test

We thought that her allergies were sort of under control, until one night.

We went out for dinner and the restaurant served escargots which the kids were keen to try. They loved it and wanted to order another plate. Luckily the hubs didn’t allow them to. After we walked out of the restaurant, #1 started developing flu like symptoms. She asked for tissue and kept blowing her nose. She finished 3 packets of tissues in about 5 minutes. I thought it must be her sinus flaring up. She told me she felt really uncomfortable so I told her to sit for a while and rest. Her nose was literally dripping by then, but I did not recognise the signs of an allergy. I told the hubs we had better head home so she could rest. We got into the car and she was very quiet on the journey back. It was only later that she told me her throat was getting so constricted that she couldn’t even talk! We reached home and she sat silently in the car, hardly moving.

Something told me to go to the computer and google it (this happened many years back and I think I was not accustomed to googling from my phone). I typed in escargot allergy and was shocked to find that it is highly allergenic! When I saw what the symptoms were, I froze. I shouted to the hubs that we had to take her to the nearest clinic immediately! We sped to the clinic right outside our street and told them she was having an allergic reaction. The doctor saw her immediately and it was quite a blur after that. I think he gave her a jab and hooked her to some machine to help her breathe. Shortly after, the peak was reached and her symptoms disappeared almost as fast as it appeared.

Ever since becoming a mum, that was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. To know that our child could have died right before our eyes. Who knows what would have happened if we had ordered another plate? Her guardian angel must have been watching over her.

Needless to say, I’m now very wary when she tries new foods. There’s such a fine balance between continuing to allow her to explore new foods and being afraid of a similar situation happening again. I have told her not to be too adventurous when it comes to shell seafood, and to always eat just 1 small bite of something new.

Awhile back, I read a Facebook post about a little girl in the States who ate a peanut snack and passed away due to an allergic reaction. What’s more, her dad is a doctor and he had an epi pen with him. Scary.

These are some symtoms to look out for to identify an allergic reaction:

  • Flushed face, rash, red and itchy skin
  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat, eyes
  • Diarrhoea, vomiting
  • Feeling dizzy or faint

Apparently, if you already have any type of allergies, it pre-disposes you to getting an allergic reaction. So parents with kids who have any allergies should be extra vigilant.

Every time I recall this incident, I am just so thankful that all our kids are healthy and well, and I no longer take good health for granted.

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Related post: How to take care of your child’s teeth to save a ton of money on dental treatment.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

7 Replies to “An allergy that almost killed #1”

  1. Thank you for sharing this Michelle.
    A lot of parents (me included) take food health for granted.

    And it is a sobering thought that life can sometimes be so fragile.

    regards, Andy

  2. Oh my, you must have been so scared! I totally can imagine your difficulty wrt trying new foods, since we also have one kid with some food allergies. His symptoms are similar, throwing up and eczema when it comes to eggs and he breaks out in hives when he eats prawns. One time the hubs gave him some cucumber from sushi and didn't rinse it, so I think there was a trace amount of mayo, and he started scratching and couldn't eat his lunch after that. Big hugs and I'm so glad that you guys identified the allergy and that she was ok after!

  3. Hi Mummy Wee, my daughter has food allergies too (namely Cow's milk, egg white and egg yolk). She is 4yo now. Your #1 is allergic to eggs, is she able to take cakes (eg. birthday cake). Do you know of any eggless cakes (and milk-free for my case) or eggless (and milk-free) confectionery?

  4. Yes, as she was growing up, she continued to avoid taking eggs on it's own, but when she ate food with eggs in the ingredients such as cakes, biscuits and pastries, she did not vomit or had swelling so we loosened up a bit, although it did cause her eczema to flare up. So every time her arms started to turn red and itch badly, she would be more careful to avoid foods with hidden eggs. Oh well, it's tough for them to avoid anything with eggs totally so that was her strategy!

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