What is it like to live a day in the life of someone who suffers with multiple allergies including those that are not believed or not common. Let me show you.
My son has allergies to peanut, dairy, egg, and corn. The first three show up positive on a scratch test. The last one does not. The first three are common enough that people do not question what is in something because the FDA requires that it be labeled. The last one is "rare", unlabeled, hidden, and subsidized (which means it is in almost everything).
When my son wakes up the first thing that greets us is how badly he scratched throughout the night.
Even with lotion and Benadryl it is guaranteed that he scratched and no matter how short his nails are, it probably bled too. Did I mention that the Benadryl has to be compounded because over-the-counter Benadryl has corn in it? Compounded Benadryl needs a prescription which means finding a doctor who will write it and understand or try, as well as a specific pharmacy that understands the needs and is willing to use just the diphenhydramine (active ingredient in Benadryl) and water.
We start the day with cleaning him up, bandaging and taking care of anything that opened during the night.
Then we try and figure out breakfast. When you have to specially source meats, fruits, vegetables, bakery items, oils, cleaning supplies, etc., it makes it interesting to for a picky little kid to decide what is for each meal when it is the same boring thing he had the day before and maybe even the meal before.
We have to find spray free produce, water washed meats, free range chicken eggs, and more. We grow most of our own fruits and vegetables when we can because they can be hard to find. Organic does not mean corn free, corn is organic. Organic means that it has not been sprayed with chemical insecticides and pesticides. Very few farms do truly spray free because it can be hard to have enough turn over to make a profit, so it can be hard to find.
After he has breakfast, my son goes to get dressed. His clothes have to be 100% cotton and even then can still cause his skin to have contact sensitivities, rashes, and eczema. He has a specific soap that he washes he hands with and specific water he drinks.
This may sound absolutely absurd to anyone who doesn't go through this on a daily basis and sometimes it sounds and feels absurd to be living it. But I will do whatever it takes to see my son happy. I will do whatever it takes to help his body heal. I will do whatever it takes to continue to watch him thrive. If that means trailing every food that he eats to ensure it is safe for him, calling farms to ask questions, researching the heck out of products that come into the house and communicating with manufacturers, I will do that every time and every day.
After he gets dressed we play with toys that are washed as they come in the house because of what they are coated with, packaged in, or even made of. Sometimes it is overwhelming, frustrating, or just ridiculous but it keeps him as healthy as we can.
Then we repeat what we did for breakfast for lunch.
After lunch we go outside or he has quiet time with his iPad. Like any kid, he would be on that thing all day long if he were allowed.
Throughout all of this, we are washing his hands with specific soap, putting on specific items of clothing if it is cold, specific lotion. Micromanaging what he touches or doesn't, what foods are eaten, putting up and away foods that he cannot have, washing our hands if we eat something that he cannot have. Depending on the day, explaining to others why he cant use their hand sanitizer or that he can't be offered any food, or preparing to use Benadryl because he played with something that would be harmless to other kids.
Dinner we repeat breakfast and lunch.
Then we get ready for bed with 100% cotton pjs, lotion, a bath depending on the day (though only if we have to because this dries out his skin and makes his eczema worse), and Benadryl if things have gotten worse throughout the day.
Some days are good, some bad, some worse, some better. But this is the life with a kiddo whose allergies run our lives a bit but is the sweetest, kindest, craziest, most lovable kiddo who only wants to be like everyone else.
This is why we started Allergy Conscious Clothing and are being very careful with our sourcing, transparent with our manufacturing and aware of what we are using and who it is for. Our son has issues that impact his quality of life and we want to do what we can to not only make his better but to make others' better too.
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