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Specific Food Allergies > Other foods/MFA/EE

Potential tomato allergy in toddler - What do I do?

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babytomatoallergy:
Hi. I apologize if this is the wrong place for this thread. I'm really not good with forums and haven't used one in a long time and I tried my best to figure out where this question should go.

I have peanut, tree nut, and egg allergies; I went through desensitizing to egg and several food challenges as a kid, but my peanut and tree nut allergies are both still very severe. (Not all tree nuts, but it's easier to just group them together.) My son is 2 and for the first two years of his life we thought that he didn't seem to have inherited any predisposition to allergies; mine became clear when I was 9 months old, but he's been exposed to some tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, etc. without any issue since he was about the same age. All top 8 I believe, except for peanut, because I cannot have it anywhere in the house. I may be wrong and my spouse has given it to him while I was away for a weekend though. I would have to ask and they are at work right now.

For the last 6 months or so he's been getting "mystery rashes" around his mouth-- they look exactly like hives. I did my best to figure out the pattern in what was giving him the hives/rashes and it seems to be tomato products. Similarly acidic foods with no tomato content never bother him, which I checked because I thought maybe it was just the acid bothering his skin, but every time he has anything with tomato as a primary ingredient it happens. Tomato juice gives him horrific diaper rash (sorry if that's TMI), marinara sauce gives him the hives, ketchup gives him the hives, pizza rolls give him the hives, those chef boyardee ravioli cups with the tomato-beef sauce give him the hives, etc.

First question: I'm obviously going to address this with his doctor, but he doesn't have an appointment for another month and a half and it doesn't exactly feel urgent enough to call and request we schedule another so early. Am I underreacting? Should I be calling in and insisting he come in? I feel like I might have a skewed sense of what's appropriate here given my own experience with allergies-- if he were experiencing anaphylaxis I would of course call, but as far as I can tell, he only has one symptom at a time and it's never terribly severe. The last time (the incident that clinched my opinion he may well have an allergy) he had chicken nuggets and ketchup and he was in obvious distress and seemed very uncomfortable. I gave him some kids' Benadryl and he seemed to feel better within about 30 minutes and then went to sleep. He's mostly nonverbal still, and I can't really ask him about other symptoms besides what's obviously presented, but I've listened to his breathing and that seems okay. We have a great rapport with his doctor and I don't want her to blow me off when I bring this up thinking I'm a panicked hypochondriac, yknow?

Second question, we've stopped giving him any food with tomatoes in it at all to the best of our ability. Barbecue sauce and other things with tomato as an ingredient but not a primary one don't seem to bother him, but I know that nut allergies can sometimes worsen if you keep pushing exposure even if it seems okay based on your threshold. Is it the same for allergies to other foods? Am I overreacting on this one, at least until we talk to his doctor? He absolutely loves barbecue sauce, so I don't want to deprive him unnecessarily.

Related third question, if anyone has advice for toddler-friendly, shelf stable foods for a kind of strict budget that don't have tomatoes, that would be great. I used to hide veggies in marinara sauce because he'll eat anything if it has tomato sauce or ketchup or barbecue sauce on it. We ate tomato products basically every day. Now I can't do that, obviously. We only have a mini-fridge in the apartment we're in right now and while I work from home, my job is stressful + I often don't have time or energy to cook and be a good parent to a toddler in every other respect. We really can't afford for me to buy fresh veggies and make our own tomato-free sauces and etc. every week. I'm already looking at teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, jarred cheese and alfredo sauce, etc. It's not exactly an emergency request or anything, but I thought that if anyone here has tomato allergies you might have some advice.

Thank you.

rebekahc:
Welcome! Iím glad you found us, but Iím sorry you needed to.

My kids are grown now, but they both had issues with tomato products and my youngest also got marks wherever ranch dressing and toothpaste touched her. Neither one was allergic to the foods that did it. We always chalked it up to sensitive skin. It didnít welp up or spread like hives do and didnít itch - more like flat red hive-like areas. They each said they werenít having any mouth or throat issues from those things. Since it was just the skin redness, we chose to keep those things in their diets. It sounds like your kiddo is having more distress from his symptoms, so until you are able to get in to the doctor, I would avoid anything with tomato ingredients. If he were more able to tell you milder and less obvious symptoms, I probably wouldnít avoid the things like bbq sauce that might be okay, but until he can express subtle symptoms Iíd avoid.  I donít think you need to get into the doctor right away, but it might be worth calling before the appointment in case they want to run bloodwork or something before the visit.

As far as what to feed him thatís inexpensive and shelf-stable, Iím afraid Iím not much help since itís been so long since my kids were that age. Can you transition him to ranch dressing for dipping anything heíd eat with ketchup or bbq sauce? My kids really liked the Gerber meat sticks (look kinds like Vienna sausages in a baby food jar). Those were easy and shelf stable. They were pretty good veggie eaters, but always ate them better when they could dip them in something. Maybe try cheese sauce/Alfredo/ranch for dipping carrots and cucumbers in? What about hummus or sun butter - would he eat those things? Will he eat veggies that have been cooked into soup or stew - they tend to pick up the other flavors and are easier to tolerate with a picky palate. I know many canned soups are high in sodium, but if you could find some without tomato it could be an option for now until he sees the doctor. You could always add extra veggies to those, too. Iíve also heard about hiding carrots/squash/sweet potato by cooking soft and then purťeing and adding to the sauce for mac & cheese or hiding cauliflower in mashed potatoes. Roasting vegetables makes them have a different flavor that some picky eaters prefer, too. Iíve even seen things like carrot ketchup. If you can find it maybe that would work, too.

Good luck and feel free to ask questions anywhere on the board. Weíre pretty laid back and wonít mind.  :)


babytomatoallergy:
That sounds a lot like what my son is experiencing as best I can tell-- it seems like they do itch, because he rubs at the areas irritably and tries to get me to use a baby wipe on them, but he's got some other sensory issues that complicate telling how much it's actually bothering him. I've seen this kid happily bash his forehead against a solid wall several times in a row before I got to him; things that would make most kids (at least from what I remember of my experience with childcare) cry or express distress often don't faze him whatsoever, and I have to check him pretty carefully for minor injuries sometimes when he's been playing outside. He used to have really awful eczema and rashes in the diaper area and he wouldn't show the slightest sign of pain unless I was actively treating it with peroxide. That combined with him not being very verbal yet means I'm not sure he'd actually tell us if he was feeling that unwell, especially if it is an allergy and is worse than we thought. I can distinctly remember laying on the couch in anaphylaxis and not alerting my parents to the fact that I was kind of dying in the living room because I simply didn't have the energy/motivation until after they'd given me my epi. I guess I probably should have put that fear in my initial post-- maybe it's just overactive parent worries.

Thank you for the advice re: the doctor. I'll be sure and give them a call and let them know in advance. Maybe they can do a skin test on him when we get in, too, and we won't have to come back all the way to the office for it another day. Are blood tests any more accurate than they used to be? I vaguely recall my parents saying that IgE and IgG (?) levels weren't truly good tests of how bad an allergy was, but I could also be misremembering. This was back in the 2000s and early 2010s.

Ranch dressing is a fantastic suggestion-- thank you!! It genuinely never occurred to me. We just don't keep it in the house because of my egg allergy, but my tolerance is nowhere near low enough to prevent us from feeding it to him by any means. He does like sun butter, but I don't give it to him most days because - y'know - toddlers. He has pretty long hair by his preference (we buzzed it once when he was about 18 months old and he was visibly unhappy about it, kept trying to reach up to stroke his hair and making displeased noises when he felt his head), and it gets absolutely all up in his bangs. Hummus is another good option; I haven't given him any since he was about a year old and he didn't like it then, but he might now. I didn't know carrot ketchup existed, either. I'll have to look for it. And he does like soup quite a lot. I'll try roasting some vegetables today for dinner (my spouse works graveyard, so we're all nocturnal currently). My parents had to learn to cook when I was a kid, but I've gotten very complacent since he's been such an easy kid for the most part-- he just doesn't like veggies unless they're covered in salt and tomato sauce. Hopefully cooking will be easier once we're out of this apartment, too. I guess I'm probably too worried about it, but he's already such a dense kid his doctor is constantly on me about how many fruits and veggies he's eating vs crackers and bread. He's our first and only and I'm really trying not to let him fall into some of the unhealthy eating patterns my spouse and I have. Thank you again for all of the advice. I really, really appreciate it. I don't know any adults in my offline life who know and deal with allergies besides my spouse, who only has a single fairly rare allergen they developed as an adult.

rebekahc:
Just checking in to see how itís going? :bye:

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